Heaven in my Monthlies and Peanut Gallery: The Angel of Death and Norbert

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I went to pick up my monthlies yesterday and walked out of the shop with three Lapham comics in my hand, Stray Bullets 39, Daredevil vs. Punisher 4 and Detective Comics 811. Stray Bullets is my favorite comic series, no surprise there and it makes me so goddamn happy to see David Lapham getting some mainstream work. His Detective story has been strong but the man works better as a complete package, Daredevil vs. Punisher has been so good so far. I think if Lapham was to do the Punisher monthly I would buy it for the first time. I really dig this Punisher pushed over the edge angle, going crazy and killing well…questionable people.

Also, I’ve been keeping up with Spider-Man: House of M only because Tom Peyer's writing it (with Mark Waid) and he entertains me everyday on his site. It’s the only House of M book I was getting and so far I’ve been enjoying the fuck out of it. So much so, in fact, that I grabbed John Layman's Fantastic Four: House of M 1-3 on a whim today – the cover looked quite inviting. It was a really fun book, sort of a guilty pleasure kind of thing where you can route for the bad guy and giggle about it. So, I’m not getting House of M but the mini-series have been kind of fun.

And finally, before story time, some comic book message board wisdom:


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(My biggest grammar fuck is angle/angel. I don’t know why – severe brain fart. Always had it. For that reason alone, this story was a bitch to write. Angle of Death, although funny, is not very threatening.)

Mohamed wasn’t the only psycho on our floor freshman year; there was also the Angel of Death and his roommate, Norbert.

Despite living with these guys for a year nobody really knew anything about them – it was all rumor and hearsay. They were these two Asian guys (I know, Norbert, right?) that supposedly only had a room on our floor to keep their scholarships. Everyone said they had an off campus apartment as well and only used the room when they needed to get up early or between classes.

These guys both acted like they were straight from the Japanese mafia – designer clothes, mean looking scowls, a general contempt for everything in existence. They were the kind of dudes that, if you see them pulling up on Ninjas, you get the fuck out of their way.

We saw Norbert every once and a while; he’d come to the floor more often than the Angel of Death. Never sparing a glance at any of us but walking straight to his room. He’d occasionally give a nod if you were right in his grill – like if he was exiting the bathroom while you were entering it – but for the most part he just reaffirmed his existence without paying you any mind.

The Angel of Death, on the hand, was the stuff of legend.

O-Dog started the legend, saying that he saw the Angel of Death in the bathroom once, coming out of the shower. His entire back was covered with the most righteous angel tattoo ever inked, more ominous than heavenly, wing stretched along the back of his arms. O-Dog told us that he turned around and left the bathroom, fearing that one look from the scary tattooed Asian man would cause his immediate demise. It was this story that dubbed the kid the Angel of Death.

Everyone jokingly spread the legend of the Angel of Death. How no-one can escape once he sets his eyes on you. We made up a story about a kid who found himself in his line of site only to be mowed over by a car shortly after. The Angel’s stare was a guaranteed death sentence, if not instantly by his own hands he marks you for the Grim Reaper to collect at a later time. It was all fun and games until we all saw that our rumor wasn’t far from the truth.

I’ve talked in the past about the pranks we played on our floor. One of our favorites was when we lined somebody’s doorframe with newspaper (they swung inwards) and stacking hundreds of cans behind the newspaper so that when the kid broke through cans flew all over the place.

The sophomores on our floor thought his would be a funny prank to play on Norbert and the Angel of Death. They claimed that they actually weren’t “that bad”, they’re just quite, and last year they hung around a lot more than they do this year. Despite our protests they decided to go through with the prank and whereas I took no part in the set-up I wanted to see the payoff.

We knew Norbert was home that night so they got to work and finished setting up at around one in the morning. They called the phone, someone answered, and they said that there was an emergency and he needed to evacuate the building.

We’re all standing in the hallway, in front of the door, camera at the ready. Door opens. We hear a groan and the door shuts. We sit in silence, wondering what’s going on. Maybe he didn’t want to deal with us assholes? Maybe he wouldn’t play along?

Five minutes later the door opens again and the biggest fucking knife I’ve ever seen comes punching through the newspaper, the Angel of Death’s beet-red, enraged fist clasped around the handle. His body punches through and he looks like he’s going to fucking kill all of us.

I’ve never seen a crowd of people scatter like that. We just ran, diving into people’s rooms and making bee-lines for the stairwell. All we heard was the Angel of Death’s screams coming from behind us, none of us looked back to see if he got anyone with that knife or if anyone needed help.

Wherever we ended up was where we spent the night. I slept on the sixth floor that night in a friend’s room. Although we realized he just wanted to scare the fuck out of us and had no intention of killing us, for the next week or so my floor mates and I were afraid to walk around on the fourth floor, expecting the Angel of Death to take his revenge at any moment. As time went on life returned to normal but none of us went near the Angel of Death’s room again and always checked to see if he was around before letting our guard down.

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