God’s legion is famous for its seven archangels, but there is another one that very little is known about. His code is quite different from those fighting on the side of Heaven. Welcome to Archangel 8, the new series for AWA’s Upshot imprint. Written by Michael Moreci and illustrated by CP Smith, the book features colors by Snakebite Cortez and letters by Sal Cipriano.

With the new comic’s debut set to release next month, Moreci and Smith chatted with The Beat about their take on the battle between Heaven and Hell.

Deanna Destito: How did you come up with this version of Heaven and Hell and the archangels?

Michael Moreci: It was really a collaborative effort with Axel Alonso and I. We both love Hellblazer and Punisher, and we share a very similar aesthetic, and through this shared passion we came up with this character, Archangel 8, and this world that really tells the kind of story we’d love to read.

CP Smith: Visually it’s everything I love about the bad motherfucker genre with a twist.

Destito: How does this story fit into the greater universe of Upshot?

Moreci: As of right now, this exists in its own pocket of the universe. There’s always possibilities for crossovers, of course, but right now Archangel 8 stands on its own.

Destito: You’ve said that even God has plausible deniability, suggesting God turns away from 8’s questionable actions. Can you elaborate more on this aspect of the story?

Moreci: A big part of the story centers on this war on Earth between Heaven and Hell, and as the case with all wars, this one has been escalating for some time. And in that escalation, when the enemy fights dirty–and an enemy like Hell sure knows how to fight dirty–sometimes you have to be just as dirty to fight back. That’s where 8 comes in. He does the stuff God can’t, and shouldn’t, know about. It keeps His hands and mind clean, and keeps the right side on the winning end of this battle.

Smith: God doesn’t want any visible connections. It’s mysterious black work.

Destito: How has it been working with the creative team?

Moreci: Fantastic. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by a great team–CP’s art and Snakebite’s colors are nothing short of breathtaking, and their storytelling is so cinematic and engaging that you can’t help but lose yourself in every page. And working with Axel on the editorial side has been a dream. I’ve admired him for so long, and I’ve learned so much from him, and I think we’ve crafted something really special here.

Smith: [It’s] great. I’m hoping we can all catch up soon. Have a toast. Love my team.

Destito: What can you tease about upcoming issues?

Moreci: This story is really going to turn some heads. We took a no-holds-barred approach, like the kind of story you’d get from late ’90s/early ’00s Vertigo. We’re going deep and dirty and dark, but the story is also salient and, hopefully, smart. There’s some real shocking twists and turns and, in my opinion, one heck of an ending to this first arc. You won’t want to miss it!

Smith: The Prophet Mohammed, Enoch, and an apple.

Archangel 8 #1 hits comic shops on March 18.

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