See my posts on Angels in Art and Angel Wings.
This post will be talking about a truly unique representation of an angel in popular culture. The Archangel of Justice, Tyrael.
In the video game series 'Diablo', starting with Diablo 2, the Angel Tyrael, who is the Archangel of Justice, makes an appearance as the angel who is charged to help the human hero defeat Diablo.
Tyrael is introduced in the beginning of Diablo 2 as a supernatural being that has come to visit a man named Marius in prison. We find out later that's not exactly what happened, but you'll just have to play the game.
The first real introduction of Tyrael was in the cinematic of the game preceding Act III. In this cinematic, Tyrael comes to fulfill his duty. But he is distracted, fighting Satan himself who Tyrael misjudged as being the greatest threat to the release of Satan's brother, Baal.
And well... see for yourself.
"The Beast contained herein shall not be set free, not even by you!"
Those words have power. Especially for those familiar with Christianity. Tyrael is willing to fight to the end of time to keep this creature trapped. And he's so incredibly powerful. Yet, he still fails.
And even in failing, his ability in battle is only surpassed by his faith in humanity. He entrusts the person who released Baal to imprison him again. Charges the sinner with erasing his own sin while he attempts to contain the two prime evils in this tomb.
But on to what I want to talk about.
The first thing that is noticeable about Tyrael is his wings.
Since the Babylonian inspiration of wings that has so affected the Christian representation of angels, angels with wings have simply had those... wings. Angel wings have only been used to do what wings do... fly.
Now, compared to most representations of angels, Tyrael is a bit of an oddball. He has these tentacles of light that make up his wings. He doesn't fly by flapping them, he just levitates around. The wings are not to fly, but are just as much of a weapon as his sword. He uses them as whips and extra hands.
They also represent his illuminating holiness in the same way that an aura or halo does. Thus, Tyrael has no halo. His wings already do the job. They even get bigger in situations that require great faith.
Most angel representations use their wings as wings. Wings simply give them the ability to fly around. Tyrael is the only angel I'm aware of that uses wings as something else, especially as a weapon, and beyond that, doesn't use them to fly.
I would like to see more angels represented like this.
Tyrael, though fictional even from most Christians' point of view, remains my favorite angel.