Thursday, May 2, 2013

Comic Book Review - The Movement #1

The Movement's pitch is a simple one; what would Anonymous look like in a world with Superheroes? And to be honest, it's a really effective pitch. The group has been around in one form or another for a decade now, and yet it really has very little representation in fiction. It's a little bit unfortunate then, that the series actually just focuses on another super team. Mild Spoilers to follow.

I've actually heard The Movement compared to the Occupy movement more than I have to Anonymous, but truthfully I don't see that at all. The titular movement, "Channel M," fight corruption among the ranks of those who are meant to protect the people. In this first issue that means cops, but I think from the book's description that it applies to super-powered individuals who abuse their powers as well. 

The book starts with two police officers offering to release a young couple (who were holding "scuzz," clearly the most dangerous of drugs) if the girl flashes them. Upon this utterance, a person in a solid silver mask (which clearly invokes the Guy Fawkes masks Anonymous uses) appears, and begins playing an audio recording of the cop's words. Soon a dozen or so others, all in the same featureless mask, appear and scare the cops off.

This is probably my favorite bit of the book. This is the part which sold me on the first issue. Random people with no powers coming together and helping each other out. Unfortunately, though understandably, this doesn't last.

It's hard to tell a story where the main character is a movement. I understand, and appreciate that. However, The Movement gets around this by focusing on a superteam who are a part of Channel M. The team consists of Katharsis, a girl with mechanical wings, Tremor, who can cause earthquakes, Mouse, who is "the prince of rats," and Virtue, whose powers are... Something psychic, I don't know, I'm a little unclear on that. I'm admittedly not familiar with any of these characters (I understand that at least some of them are returning characters) so I can't speak to characterization.

This first issue is pretty packed. It introduces us briefly to each character of the team, a young man who thinks he's possessed named Burden (his parents always called him that), two corrupt cop characters who get busted by the movement, Channel M themselves, the presence of a mysterious serial killer, and an unnamed police Captain who serves as our protagonist for the first half of the issue. This means that there really isn't much in the way of characterization for our team characters beyond perhaps a little bit from Virtue, and most of what characterization there is is given to Captain Captain.

The art is good throughout. Freddie Williams II's style relies more on caricatures than I would have expected from what seems to be a fairly serious series, exaggerating character features and expressions, but once you get used to the mild dissonance between the content and the style, it's quite good.

The dialog and writing is also good. I'm far less familiar with Gail Simone's work than I should be, but I have a feeling that those who like her work elsewhere will probably feel similarly about the work she does here.

Overall this was a solid first issue. It's a good introduction to the team and what they're fighting for, and the intro bit with the actual Movement was pretty great. I would have preferred focusing on Channel M from an outsiders perspective, such as the cop, seeing them fight corrupt cops and superheroes, and not providing us with the face that the super-team provides, but I can appreciate why they felt the need to do otherwise.

I do hope that in the future the series focuses heavily on the faceless masses that make up The Movement, and how those people fight corruption, because to me that's the most interesting idea within this first issue of The Movement. For a first issue though, it has some cool ideas, and could go some interesting places. I'll definitely be picking up the next issue.

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