Rest assured, this isn’t quite the “Occupy Comics” book expected by many. Rather, “The Movement” #1 is a grim, scatterbrained debut that manages to carve a unique niche in the New 52.
Written by Gail Simone
Illustrated by Freddie E Williams II
We are faceless. We are limitless. We see all. And we do not forgive.
Who defends the powerless against the GREEDY and the CORRUPT? Who protects the homeless and poverty-stricken from those who would PREY upon them in the DARK OF NIGHT?
When those who are sworn to protect us abuse their power, when toxic government calls down super-human lackeys to force order upon the populace…finally, there is a force, a citizen’s army, to push order BACK.
Let those who abuse the system know this as well: We have our OWN super humans now. They are not afraid of your badges or Leagues. And they will not be SILENCED.
We are your neighbors. We are your co-workers. And we are your children.
Well. That’s one dramatic solicit. However, it a way it perfectly captures the angst you would expect from a group of teenagers staring down a world they feel is out to get them. This is the heart of the titular “Movement,” a citizen’s army led by super powered teens.
Coral City, the fictional city in which our story takes place, is portrayed as a smaller scale Gotham. However, while that city is plagued by corruption at every level of its infrastructure, both super powered and not, the worst we see in Coral are a couple of skeevy police officers. While there are hints of deeper conspiracies, Simone does a lackluster job of selling the necessity of the Movement as a group, one of several problems with this opening issue.
The plot of this issue is, quite simply, all over the place. Simone jumps from dirty cops, to serial killers, to demon possessed children, to “V for Vendetta” style masked crowds, to metahuman teens, to torrid love affairs, (deep breath, exhale) and all the way back around again. That’s a lot of ground to cover for a twenty page comic. The result is a lot of engaging ideas, none of which are given time to gain traction. The area hit the hardest by this scattershot approach are the teenage leaders of the Movement.
Among the teens leading the Movement are a mix of new faces and characters from Gail Simone’s previous works. Of the former, there’s Virtue, a sort of empath that can follow the emotions of individuals, and Mouse, the “King of Rats.” More familiar are Katharsis, a winged anti-heroine from the pages of “Batgirl,” and Tremor, last seen in “Secret Six,” making her New 52 debut. It’s an intriguing mix of characters, to say the least. The premise of the Movement seems to indicate the possible introduction of new characters and/or a rotating cast. Unfortunately, outside of their power sets and general state of mind, we learn next to nothing about these characters. One thing is for certain, the Teen Titans they aren’t.
On the other side of the story is the nameless police captain of Coral City, one of the last good cops. The captain functions as our window into the world of “The Movement,” and as such is closest we get to a fully realized character. Though the captain appears to be on the side of the angels, he has an oddly antagonistic run in with the Movement. This dynamic casts the entire issue in shades of grey, making it hard to decide who to trust and root for in this sordid tale. Here’s hoping the captain continues to play an important role in stories to come, as we learn more of the character and his relationship with the Movement.
Freddie Williams II style is cartoonish and exaggerated, fitting for the primarily juvenile cast. That isn’t to say that it lacks quality, in fact this is a very good looking book. Williams packs an incredible amount of detail into these new characters, especially their intricate costumes. He also does a fantastic job of making Coral City a living, breathing place, a city that many can relate to real world experiences.
In a way, “The Movement” reads like one extended preview for a series, rather than a debut issue. While Simone throws out a lot of ideas, only some of them stick, and there’s hardly enough space to contain those that do. This and a few other misteps, such as the cliched dirty cops and the Movement’s questionable motives, keep “The Movement” from achieving “must read” status out of the gate. However, the intriguing new heroes,the strong first impression of Coral City, and William’s dynamic and engaging art, make this a book that stands out among the New 52’s standard brand of doom and gloom. If you’re going to do a book about how grim the world is, this is a fine way to start.
Final Verdict: 6.6 – Browse, while Simone doesn’t sell the concept, the potential is definitely there.