There’s been a little gender-swap in Preacher this week, and quite ironically is exactly the same one we saw in Lucifer. In The Tombs, the Saint of Killers obtains the meeting with Satan he’s been asking for, but he’s greeted with a harsh punishment for his latest escape, as the Devil orders the Angel of Death to whip him good… and she does, by ripping away the flesh from his back until the spine is visible. Yes, “she”, as the Angel of Death is portrayed by Erinn Ruth, while in the comics she’s a very muscular and manly “he”. Strangely enough, she’s portrayed as some sort of secretary to the Devil, while there’s no reason for it: even in the comics, the two are just old pals, sharing an eternity of boredom. Let’s see together.
We often hear phrases like “My life was perfect, until…” Well, in the case of the Angel of Death, this is to be taken literally, as he indeed knew perfection in his life, until everything transformed into a neverending routine that he deeply loathed. At the beginning, he was one of millions angels part of the Angelic Host, and his life was as close as it could be to the very source of perfection, God. Then, God got bored of being worshiped and adored by angels only, and created humankind, with the purpose of making someone born with free will to love Him. Humans, however, were mortals, so death entered the universe… and the universe now needed someone taking care of it. With humans, the angels were given tasks and roles, and one of many angels suddenly became the Angel of Death, the one tasked with collecting the souls of mortals and to bring them either to Heaven or to Hell, depending on their behavior on Earth. This was an exhausting task per se, but it became unbearable, as not only humans were very good in dying of natural causes, but they became increasingly more and more creative in inventing new methods of killing each other: with the proceeding of centuries, the Angel of Death ran from battlefield to battlefield, from execution chamber to execution chamber, from bar to bar, collecting the souls of the fallen ones, and every day was worse than the previous one. During centuries, he became friends with the only other creature in the universe who shared his frustrated view on the task he’d been assigned with, the Devil, and he often went down to Hell to have a chat or play cards with “Nick“, as he called him. When the Angel of Death saw God’s plans for the XX Century and realized the amount of extra work he was about to be forced to, he lost all hopes, and started questioning even the sanity of his master and creator. Then, he found hope in the least probable place of all.
While he was in Hell, beating the Devil at poker as usual, something appeared to be amiss. At first believing that his adversary was just trying to avoid paying him what he had to, the Angel of Death had to agree that something was clearly wrong as he realized it was unnaturally cold, especially considering he was in Hell. The source of the temperature drop was a mortal soul, one he had recently brought to Hell, and who was still feeling all the hatred he felt when he was alive. The Devil tried to purge the hatred from him with torture, but everything was useless, and even Satan got depressed, believing his reputation and his kingdom to be ruined forever (with the ice blocking the doors, the souls couldn’t enter Hell anymore). The Angel of Death, however, had the perfect solution for all parties: the Devil wanted to reignite the fires, he wanted to leave his job to someone else, and the mortal only wanted to kill. The Angel of Death offered his position to the mortal, telling him that he would have been allowed to exact his vengeance on the people who had wronged him in the town of Ratwater, Texas, and then would have become the new collector of souls, answering directly to God. The mortal accepted. The Devil proceeded to mend his flesh, and the Angel of Death had his mystic sword melted into a pair of guns, to be better usable by their new master. Finally, the newly appointed Saint of Killers left Hell, that returned to its original status, and the Angel of Death was finally free from his burden… but then Satan had the bad idea to offend the Saint, who used his new guns to kill him on the spot. Terrified for his life for the first time in his immortal existence, the (former) Angel of Death started weeping and begging for his life… and he was spared, unexpectedly. Left alone in Hell, the angel now faced an unprecedented chaos, with the Devil dead and his realm without a leader for the first time in eons. Maybe, his idea wasn’t so brilliant after all…
The Angel of Death, real name unknown, is a deeply wise, intelligent and thoughtful creature… but also a deeply depressed one, crushed by an unbearable burden that will never end until the end of times itself. As all angels he’s immortal, and his wings allow him to fly and to cross dimensions, but he’s much stronger and more durable than any other angel, and his divine sword can kill anything and anyone, even angels, demons and, potentially, God Himself. One of the most powerful beings in existence, the Angel of Death is also one of the saddest ones, doomed for all eternity to babysit a species that has nothing better to do than to conceive new methods to kill itself. Quite a waste of time and resources.