I talked to a critique partner not too long ago about an angel in my book. I said, he was a subversive character, in the way that he wasn't 100 % pure and good, like angels in theory are supposed to be. This angel was a cynical, harsh, capable of evil for the greater good character. He is also narrative-wise one of many antagonist, though in my opinion, he is not a villain.
My critique partner responded with that it was "wrong", in the sense that by subverting the very essence of angelhood, I couldn't call it an angel anymore. But in my idea, subversion is all about keeping the superficial and changing the essence, or keeping the essence and changing the superficial.
Here's what I mean.
My character has wings. He is tall, and strong. He is made by one of the Gods inside the world to protect the mortal plain. Wings, strength, created by good, wielding the blade of righteousness, all that jazz. But his character speaks a whole different tale, him trying to kill a child at one time, to save the world (exactly how and why is irrelevant).
Or then you have the other type. Think "wolf in sheep clothing". I can't really think of a concrete example, but you know what I mean. At surface level, nothing could give of the underlying truth. The essence.
So, is the practice of subverting the very essence of a fictional creation fallacious (for the lack of a better world), in that altering the essence makes it not the fictional creation it portrays? Or does the fact that this creation is religious bring further implications, which is what makes it unacceptable in this case? Is it rather a matter of offense than definition in my case, where it is a religious creation?