Neil Gaiman, , illus. by P. Craig Russell. . Dark Horse, $13.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-1-56971-634-2

Celebrated comics creators Gaiman (Sandman) and Russell (The Ring of the Nibelung) have teamed up to produce a story of deception and vengeance involving the first betrayal, the first heartbreak and the first crime in God's own city of angels. Raguel is a lost angel, a ragged drifter on the streets of Los Angeles, who tells this story to the narrator, a young Brit stranded on his way back to England. In Raguel's former world, the one in which he had wings, he served as the agent of the Lord's vengeance. When an angel was found murdered, Raguel was assigned to find the killer and his motives. Like an unearthly detective, Raguel questioned his fellow angels until he discovered the murderer and then delivered the Lord's terrible punishment. But upon wreaking God's vengeance, Raguel began to realize it was God himself who set up this murder. Using sharp, crystalline drawings of the eternal city and ribbons of color that suggest creation's simultaneous plasticity and solidity, Russell conveys a bright, illuminated world of purity and divine experimentation. His crisp and vividly rendered drawings capture the haunting sense of loss and isolation Gaiman expresses in this mythic tale of love and jealousy. (Oct.)