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An Angel on Our Shoulder–The Tragic Ups and Downs of Warren Worthington

If anything can put a damper on being blond, gorgeous, buff, and rich, I would venture it would be giant feathered wings spontaneously sprouting from your back, am I right?

I mean, adolescence is tough enough without having to worry about molting.

Luckily, Warren Worthington III was able to make the best of a bad situation and become a superhero, adopting the name of the Avenging Angel and terrorizing the criminal element of Long Island, New York.

You have to wonder how he survived long enough to be recruited by Professor Xavier into the X-Men given the costume alone.

Batman made the chest emblem a bright color to entice bad guys to shoot at the bulletproof plating of his armor; the Avenging Angel wore dark red…with a pair of bright yellow underwear on the outside.

Yeah, good thinking. Draw attention to your junk, Warren.

Let’s face it, bro, you’ve had better ideas…

Being in the X-Men gave Worthington a sense of belonging and soon he went by just Angel, fighting evil mutants and saving the world, while continuing to hide out from anti-mutant groups and the dreaded Fashion Police who no doubt issued an A.P.B. when Angel allowed Jean Grey to dress him.

C’mon, Warren—it is bad enough you still have a codename two zillion teenage girls use as an online handle. Did you really have to add red suspenders to that getup?

You let some chick dress you and you’re not even getting any from her?!

Despite having wings, and a horrible fashion sense, Warren’s riches and pretty boy looks allowed him to live the playboy lifestyle and with teammate Bobby Drake, the Iceman, he split from the X-Men to form the short lived Champions.

Never having the popularity of the newer wave of X-Men like Wolverine and Storm, or the old school appeal of the likes of Cyclops and Jean Grey, Angel seemed destined to fade into the background.

And then came the Mutant Massacre.

Yup, nothing like a good old fashioned massacre to shake things up.

I’m Mr. Sinister, and I endorse this Massacre…

While defending the mutant Morlocks beneath the streets of Manhattan from Mr. Sinister’s Marauders, Angel was ambushed and gravely injured, his wings all but destroyed.

During recovery, Cameron Hodge, unbeknownst to Warren to be an anti-mutant activist, acts upon his hatred and has his wings amputated.

Depressed and directionless, Warren is then assumed to have committed suicide, according to Hodge’s plans, when his private plane explodes, but is saved by his enemy, Apocalypse.

And that is when things get really interesting for him.

Remade into Apocalypse’s Horseman of Death with razor sharp metal wings and blue skin, and finally given a costume with some balls, Warren is unleashed upon his former X-Men and X-Factor teammates during the Fall of the Mutants.

OK, noooow we’re talking!

As any good hero does, Warren eventually breaks free of his programming and takes on the new name of Archangel.

Apparently, heroes with the codename “Death” tend not to put the public at ease.

Who knew?

In a lot of ways, Archangel was the opposite number of Angel.

No longer carefree and open, Warren’s mood darkened to match his outward appearance and he became obsessed with vengeance over what had happened to him.

With his wings seeming to have a mind of their own, he became reluctant to get too close to anyone lest they get hurt and despite his return to active duty with X-Factor, he still kept himself apart, even staying with the costume Apocalypse gave him for many years before switching to one similar to his original outfit, and resigning himself to his new wings.

But as fate would have it, his feathered wings would eventually return not long after his metal ones suffered massive damage by Sabretooth and a series of secondary mutations (thanks for that inanity, Grant Morrison and Chuck Austen) led him to lose the blue skin and develop healing blood.

No, you read that right.

Healing. Blood.

But at least he still looks cool, right?

During the new and improved bad ass version of X-Force, Angel again had his wings torn from him by a brainwashed Wolfsbane and his metal wings and Death persona found their way back, enabling him to now switch between Angel and Archangel at will.

Warren is now in a struggle within himself as the Death part of him that Apocalypse created seems to be angling for control, permanently.

So what comes next for Warren Worthington III?

Can you say Dark Angel Saga?

Yeah, I thought you could.

It seems that his inner demons will be the focus of an upcoming arc of Uncanny X-Force, sadly without Jessica Alba.

Where this leaves old Warren remains to be seen…

Dark ANYthing Sagas usually don’t turn out so well.
Just ask Phoenix…

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