Thursday, 9 May 2013

New Beginnings - The Movement #1

Very well known for her recent writing on Batgirl - and the firing and subsequent re-hiring too - Gail Simone is having a prolific year. Before she came to comic books she was the author behind a body of work which identified the sexist view on the portrayal of women in comics, usually as an object or motive for male-centred stories. She has now gone on to become a writer which I (rightly or wrongly) associate with female focussed stories which have a strong empowerment theme.

The Movement is set in Coral City in the heart of the DC Universe - more specifically they have staked their claim to the Tweens between 10th street and 20th street of the city. A band of dysfunctional young superheroes have taken it upon themselves to watch over the streets, be it from crooked police officers, general criminals, or (as I anticipate the story to unfold) more high profile case such as the murderer known as the Cornea Killer.

Although the team are unknown - with members in their roster such as Mouse or Burden - there have been promises of better known characters joining the stories at later dates too (or at least New 52 versions of such characters). But aside from that very little is known about all of them combined. The issue is very much a teaser and introduction. By the end of this issue there are still a couple of characters whose names you don't know, nor do you know the full extent of their powers. It's still very much an open book.

Power is also a very key theme to this story. It revolves around what happens when you have power, how you use it and the repercussions of whether that is right or wrong. This goes back to the very beginning, as the reader is witness to an abuse of power by two police officers who don’t expect to be seen, recorded and spread across the internet for their own crime.

This all culminates through the course of this issue, as the police are not only beaten and verbally driven out of the area, but the local community demonstrates their support of the new team and their local plans. The faceless masked masses expose that even the Police Chief is someone who can be pushed to the point of crossing the line.

This cannot end well though - the second issue is teased as being a city against them.

The artwork is by Freddie Williams from Green Arrow, and although it is easy and at times fun to follow, I found the bodies blown up and out of normal proportions in both overall shape and in some of the finer details. For example there is one page where Virtue is demonstrating her power, which felt ruined to me by an excessively large nose and overly flared nostrils.

As a first issue I’m mixed. On one hand you have a power struggle storyline influenced by the real life Occupy Movement (although I was more strongly reminded of a superpowered version of Project Mayhem in Fight Club), but on the other I also had an underwhelming feeling from this new team. The artwork certainly didn’t grab me either. However the calibre of Simone’s work and a strong fan base could really carry this through for a lot of people.

One to watch develop for sure.

Matt Puddy was sad to miss Free Comic Book Day.

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