Idol Chatter

angelwars-square.jpgImagine a group of extraordinary beings who battle evil forces for the good of mankind, providing help and justice to those in need, all the while handling high-tech gadgets and sporting colorful, protective gear. This isn’t X-Men, Justice League, or even Watchmen. These beings aren’t even human–instead, they’re “an elite team” of the “finest, battle-trained Powers-class angels,” known as the Guardian Force.

The Guardian Force, composed of six angels, is the evil-fighting group featured in a Christian cartoon series called “Angel Wars: The Messengers.” Each member is distinguished by the color of their uniforms (like the Power Rangers) and their individual weapons. The leader is Archangel Michael, a square-jawed angel in yellow who wields his signature sword. Along with Michael, the mature angels include Arianna (pink), Swift (orange), and Paladin (blue). The two young anawim (wingless angels-in-training) are Eli (yellow) and Kira (green).

Floating high above Earth, the Guardian Force live aboard a space ship called “The Seven.” (God’s perfect number?) and the anawim use “wingboards” to travel until they earn wings. Their mission is to battle (of course) ugly-looking demons, or fallen angels that once tried to overthrow God and now wreak havoc on Earth. These demons include Morg, Graven, and a host of winged gargoyle-like creatures with poisonous stings on their tails. Neither angels or demons are seen by human eyes; they are invisible as they fight and battle. God and Satan are also never seen, though angels are seen praying to their Maker.

angelwars-theseven.jpgCreated by Chris Waters and distributed by Twentieth Century Fox (part of Beliefnet’s parent company), “Angel Wars: The Messengers” is a mash-up of superhero and science fiction genres (there are shades of Star Wars, Star Trek, X-Men, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four), and you’ll see these influences in the animation and stories. Even the logo (a pair of steely, outspread wings) is reminiscent of Batman and Wonder Woman logos.

While the concept of the series is original, the animation doesn’t quite match the concept. While the heavenly skies (a beautiful cluster of clouds glowing peach and lavender) pops on screen, Earth seems strangely two dimensional–dark, gray, geometric, and flat. If this is a decision to depict Earth as amoral, the lack of life on Earth makes it difficult to imagine what the angels and demons are fighting for on a daily basis.

“Angel Wars” focuses on important Christian messages without being overwhelmingly Christian. Most episodes focus on Eli, whose brash behavior usually means he needs to learn moral and spiritual lessons on teamwork, sacrifice, humility, faith, trust, hope, and love.  These lessons often outweigh the awkward pace of some storylines.  Even though there are concerns about whether “Angel Wars” reflects Christianity well, the series and merchandise (action figures and board games) are aimed at a Christian audience. Whether too Christian or not, it probably won’t hurt to give your children a healthy dose of wholesomeness–with a superhero edge, of course.

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