The Movement #1
Gail Simone, Freddie E. Williams II
Gail Simone is a really talented, progressive writer, with very strong, well thought out opinions and view points on politics and social issues. When DC announced she’d be writing a comic based on ‘The 99%’ and the ‘Occupy’ movement I was very excited! This was going to be something bold, new and different, even to the point of being controversial!
This first issue wasn’t quite that!
Don’t get me wrong – I still think the series is going to be interesting. The premise of it: street kids with powers who have had enough of being faceless and voiceless; who want to see a change and are sick of waiting for politicians to do it, is fantastic and something that anybody whoever joined a local town council can relate to, but this isn’t Simone’s best work!
That being said, this first issue does what a first issue is supposed to: It sets up the idea of the book, gives you a quick introduction to the main players in the story and has a cliff-hanger ending that keeps you interested enough to want to read the second issue. It has, for all intents and purposes, done it’s job so it took me a little while to figure out why I wasn’t 100% happy with it?
There’s a finite amount of real estate in a 20-page comic and that seems to be Simone’s biggest problem, she has two main plots that she wants to get the reader hooked on in this issue but, they seem to suffer a little because she is playing with little sub-plots, that I really hope pay off later, and then wants to flesh out her team but seems to tell a little bit of their story but leaves you questioning why? Why couldn’t this character have waited until the next issue? Why did character B do that? What was the point of that scene, other than set-up for way down the line. It feels like Simone should have had a 40-page book, instead of a 32 page. This issue could have benefited from those extra few story pages to let the characters breathe – which I was surprised at because Simone didn’t seem to have the same issues in her Birds of Prey runs – I really enjoyed those.
That’s not saying that this is a bad first issue, it’s good – and, as I said, it sets up the series and achieves the fundamentals of what a first issue should do, I’m totally looking forward to the second issue, despite these observations.
The bigger reason why I’m looking forward to issue 2 though is Freddie E. Williams II’s art! It is GORGEOUS!!
I’ve been following Williams work since he was drawing Robin and his evolution has been sublime-compare his clean crisp clear work on Robin to this and it is nearly hard to believe it’s the same artist – then look at his recent run on Captain Atom and you’re starting to realise you’ve a top tier artist in the making!
I love his use of angled panels and rough lines to pull the eye across the page, yet still he keeps a clear idea of action and body language! He has one particular fight scene involving the ‘scrappy kid character’ of this series (think Hit-Girl with wings) that is a joy to look at! I turned the page onto it and audibly shouted with delight just looking at it! His use of lighting too is wonderful, he keeps the mood dark and tonally heightens the mood that Simone wants to reflect in this story.
As I said, story wise this is a solid first issue, but not Simone’s best, although I would definitely still recommend trying it out and I await issue #2 eagerly. I really hope that the pacing issue was just a slight hiccup on Simone’s part as she shifts back into writing a team book after writing a solo character (Batgirl) for so long.
The art more than makes up for where the issue lacked and I really hope Williams is on an ongoing in my stack for a really long time!