So elegant, so beautiful, so… angelic! Angels are a prominent part of both fiction and religious works. The two go hand-in-hand sometimes, when religion is blended seamlessly with fictional works. Other times, an angel is just a holy being, usually with some form of holy powers. Whatever your take on the word, there is no doubt that this week, we’re going to admire the divine with our Top 10 Angels list.
10) Angemon – Digimon
Our lowest spot had to be awarded to an angel that rarely does anything angelic, other than in name and image. Angemon is one of those Digimon that you probably remember pretty well if you were a fan of the anime, because let’s face it, they put Angemon on TV so many damn times. Not exactly a bad thing, either, as Angemon was a great Champion level Digimon with a lot of versatility.
It has holy energy beams it can fire from it’s hands, an “Angel Rod” and of course, the most angelic of all moves, an Angel Slam. Please, pro wrestlers of the world, create the Angel Slam, would you? Anyway, this Digimon was also pretty tall, muscular and had six large white wings… And had a strange helmet. Exactly the image you’d associate with an angel – A rod-holding, power-slamming angel.
9) Kosh – Babylon 5
Skipping any pretence with the religious and philosophical subtext present in most sci-fi, Babylon 5 opted to jump straight in with actual angels and demons. Granted the beings in question are photoforms more ancient than any other space faring species, but they do tend to meddle in the affairs of mortals in many subtle ways.
The Vorlons don’t look quite so angelic in their encounter suits – strange semi-biological things that maintain atmosphere and prevent horrible psychic feedback – but outside they are great winged beings of light, and to the eyes of all people they resemble the face of their own, personal gods. Kosh is the one we see most clearly, and he is guide and mentor to commanders Sheridan and Sinclaire, and speaking with Kosh can be something of a religious experience.
8) Serra – Magic: the Gathering
If you’ve ever played Magic: the Gathering, there’s no doubt you’ve probably at least seen the Serra card. Serra Angel is one of those iconic staple angel cards, which is a 4/4 white angel for 5 mana (2 white mana, 3 colourless). It has flying and vigilance – And that by itself is actually a fairly decent card. However, Serra Angel is only one of many cards of the Serra name.
In the next upcoming set, as of time of writing, will feature a brand new Serra Planeswalker. It’s baffling how it took this long, but here she is in all of her might. She costs 4 mana (2 white and 2 colourless) to play, comes in with 4 loyalty counters and her +2 ability alone is pretty powerful – All creatures you control with flying get +1/+1 until the end of turn. I’d run a block of birds and just make them the most powerful birds imaginable!
Anyway, Serra is cool, shush.
7) Adam – Neon Genesis Evangelion
Being the First Angel is a tricky business, especially when humanity fights back with Evangelions; beings of near godlike powers, with Adam being a genetic base for the monstrous creations. Originally, Adam was sent to Earth via the White Moon, to populate the planet with angels. Unfortunately, another angel called Lilith came crash landing on Earth via the Black Moon, destroying her own spear in the process.
With Lilith’s spear destroyed, Adam’s spear was the only active one left. As these two “seeds” were not supposed to be in the same place, Adam’s spear activated itself and imprisoned the angel. In all seriousness, we could have picked any angel from this series, but we may as well pick the First Angel himself, as we’d genuinely not have a series without him.
6) Tyrael – Diablo
Tyrael is one of the most prominent figures of the Diablo series. He sits up there with your Diablos, your Nephilims and of course your Deckard Cains. In a series that have brought us more tales of heaven and hell than many other video games, Tyrael, is a mortal angel who continuously defends Sanctuary against any and all demon attacks. Indeed, the things he has accomplished are the stuff of legends.
Perhaps then it’s surprising to learn that he’s actually mortal after all. Still, he shares a sort of bond with fellow angel Imperius, who we would have put on this list, but let’s be honest – We all know Tyrael better. Imperius may sometimes be portrayed as more powerful, but Tyrael is far more prominent in the stories. Indeed, Tyrael has been a stable of Diablo since Diablo II.
5) The Metatron – Dogma
Alan Rickman is the voice of god, and if we didn’t have a format to follow I’d call that enough said. Descended to earth to guide a chosen one along her fated path to halt the madness of Bartleby and Loki, two fallen angels with a plan to return to god by exploiting a loophole.
Rickman is an unexpected angel, mostly sarcastic and snarky, but when confronted with a heroine wracked with self doubt he becomes wonderfully soft-spoken and uplifting. He speaks the words to mortals that god herself cannot, for fear that he destroy or create everything by accident. I mean it’s basically just Alan Rickman with wings, but he makes for an oddly believable angel.
4) Aziraphale – Good Omens
So by the time you read this Good Omens will have been released on Amazon Prime yesterday, from where I’m sat it was only an hour or so ago and I haven’t gotten to it yet, but I am so excited to see Michael Sheen take the role of an angel trying to hold off the end of the world with his best friend, a demon played by David Tennant.
Pratchett and Gaiman wrote an epic that blended their unique styles, parodying and delving into the weirder side of religion as it collides with the real world. Aziraphale – certainly as portrayed by Sheen – is the very picture of angelic innocence, shifting eternally with guilt as he associated with an emissary of Hell, and quite literally for an eternity, as the two have been friends since Eden. But they both quite like humans, and so they are… in their way, inseparable friends.
3) Castiel – Supernatural
Fan favourite from the monster hunting series, Castiel was only supposed to be a short-term character, appearing for only a handful of episodes, and yet he proved so popular with the fans that he became a more permanent fixture, alternating between comedically failing to understand the day-to-day nature of humanity and horrifying soldier of the divine.
Misha Collins plays the mortal shell that the angel himself occupies, the angel that lifted Dean from hell. He has a particular talent for slaying his fellow angels on behalf of the Winchester family, for whom he has a particular attachment, he also delivers a rather excellent monologue, reminiscent of Columbo… along with the trench coat, just saying, and I know I’m not the first to say it!
2) Gabriel – Constantine
Perhaps (definitely) outshone by the shortlived TV series, the 2005 Keanu Reeves film had quite a bit going for it, mostly the depiction of hell, but also the androgenous, cryptic, and heartbreakingly majestic archangel Gabriel brought to life by Tilda Swinton. Determined to show that humans are not the festering rabble they are today, Gabriel sets about starting a reign of darkness and terror to bring out our nobility, and our strength, and to let us stand shoulder to shoulder with angels.
Tilda is faultless as ever, I don’t believe her capable of acting badly, even in an otherwise mediocre film. As an angel undertaking a horrifying plan for the… best?… of reasons, she is charismatic, softly spoken, and intimidating. I’d believe in angels too, I just wish they’d wear shoes.
1) Lucifer Morningstar – Lucifer
Well, we couldn’t talk about angels without talking about everybody’s favourite fallen angel, could we? You may think of this as a cop out, but he is indeed one of the younger angels. As such, considering the extreme popularity of the show, coupled with how well received the newest season has been, I think it was only fair to put Lucifer here. Arguably, this is the most well known on this list.
The hit series started life on Amazon, where the portrayal of Samael has been a roaring success. However, Amazon eventually decided to end the show, with a lot of story unfinished. This led to a massive online petition to try and #SaveLucifer – And it worked, didn’t it? They ended up getting the show over to Netflix and it continues now.
We figured that sometimes, the best portrayal of anything is to take liberties. Whilst you may think of a glowing holy aura, when we think angels, we figured that “Lucy” must surely be up there.
From the holy and divine to the not-so-holy now, as we’ve got two more picks for our Top 10 Angels list. I mean, sometimes, it’s not about actually being an Angel, per se… Sometimes, it’s about embracing the namesake. These two are huge in their respective franchises, adopting the name Angel in the process.
Angel – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Alright, so really he’s not an angel. In fact, he’s a vampire – Which makes it particularly hard for Buffy to deal with, as you know, she’s kind of into that whole vampire slaying. Angel himself isn’t really much of a problem, at least most of the time. It’s when he’s depicted without a soul that he begins to become a living nightmare – and that’s what makes his character so compelling.
He can be the hero of the villain whenever they want him to be. With puppy-like expressions, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was a poor sap of a man. At other times, he can be stoic and tough, a much needed backbone. No matter what, he’s always amusing to watch and listen to – Even if he’s not really an angel. No, he’s Buffy’s Angel.
Angel – X-Men
Another not-really-an-angel, although he does ride on behalf of Apocalypse, and that’s the kind of thing an angel really should do. Plus, he’s a ripped guy with glorious white feathery wings, and tends to fall into a lot of narratives and mutant team-ups with religious themes.
Warren Worthington III, Angel, Archangel, the angel of death, died, reborn, hero, villain, honestly he’s just a guy with wings. He has hollow bones to help make him lighter, and at his absolute coolest he has metal feathers that he can fling like throwing knives. But, as a member of the original X-Men back in the 60’s he has had every chance to be deeply involved in every moment of mutant history, from the Apocalypse crisis to the arrival of the Phoenix Force, and everything before, since, and between. Dude deserves a mention.
From the divine and the holy, we now seek penance for our actions. We’d prefer to not be smited by these light warriors, so hopefully our list order made sense to them. Indeed, the fallen angel himself had to top our list this week, but don’t worry, we will atone for our sins. We shall release another Top 10 list next week, which will be decided by the people – and so it shall be written.
With all these angels out of the way, there is now a clear path to the light. However, perhaps you didn’t think our holy list was so angelic after all? Did you agree with any results on this list, or did we forget an important angel? What do you all make of Lucifer Morningstar topping our list? As ever, share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.