When I reviewed the previous installment of Gail Simone and Freddie William II’s new DC series The Movement, I knew it was going to be a series I was going to keep an eye on. The new issue, released today, proves that my thought is worthwhile. Steeped in both super-heroics, politics, and humor, The Movement continues to be one of the more entertaining books in the New 52 while asking several moral and philosophical questions. Is it better to protest peacefully or fight? Is a troubled child really a demon? Is The Movement 100% on the side of good, or is there danger lurking within their ranks?
As the story begins, the two cops who almost raped a young woman are brought to The Movement’s safehouse, The Sweatshop, or the 181 – the latter being a reference to the 181 immigrant workers murdered by corporate greed in an incident reminiscent of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Virtue, the team leader, locks them into a makeshift prison, but one of the cops point out the similarity to their locking up the cops to the victims of the fire, which unnerves Virtue, Tremor, and newly revealed member Vengeance Moth, whose confinement to a wheelchair might bring about Oracle parallels when we know her better. After dealing with a hilarious “crisis” involving Mouse, a meeting is called. While Virtue and Katharsis clash over methodology, new recruit Burden writes a mental letter to his mother saying that, like him, The Movement is “damned”. A final argument has Katharsis ”going rogue” and attacking the corrupt businessman who runs Coral City, which doesn’t go exactly as she planned. The main group instead decides to investigate the serial killer known as The Cornea Killer, and goes to see “the witch”, a woman called Rainmaker. But is she a good witch, or a bad witch (pun intended)?
As always, Simone brings her A game to her team. We learn more about Burden, aka Christopher, and his history with his powers and possible mental illness. However, the letter possibly implies, to the reader, that his hyper-religious parents mentally abused him, lowering his self-esteem. It’s also revealed he killed his father, though for what reason hasn’t been explained. The connection of the 181 and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire struck a chord with me, showing a symbolic chord connecting The Movement to the poor women who couldn’t escape death due to corporate greed. It is a greed personified by James Cannon, the Luthor-esque man controlling the city, who doesn’t care about helping the poor and the middle class, just money and power. The argument between Katharsis and Virtue is an interesting look into two different political points of view. It is reminiscent of Simone’s own rebuke to Frank Miller in regards to his horrific words about Occupy Wall Street; albeit in more detail. Katharsis obviously is a poor fit for the more open-minded rest of the group, accusing moderate viewed Tremor of being a police spy and sneeringly saying, “This is what I get for hanging out with liberals” when the rest of the group tells her to chill out.
Williams’ art remains a wonderful complement to Simone’s prose. His use of lighting is of particularly good work. His colors also seem to reflect the locations and characters – an angry red for an enraged Virtue, cold blue and grey for the 181, and a riotous color scheme for Cannon’s penthouse. His faces remain incredibly expressive, Mouse’s in particular this issue never failed to strike a chord in me. His depiction of Burden’s demonic form is incredibly creepy, though when you compare it to the first issue it didn’t seem that like he could do that.
However, I do wish we could see more of Burden other than his manically depressed religious human self and his demonic “hero” self. I really don’t get his powers for when he’s in demon form. Is it like Etrigan’s or something else entirely? Cannon comes off a bit too much of a two-dimensional caricature of a business tycoon than a real villain (though he is still very nasty). I would like to know more about the background stories for the heroes of the Movement, especially since we met a new member today and she didn’t really stand out.
In the end, however, it is an incredibly enjoyable issue full of action and ideas. Whether you’re political or not, The Movement has increasingly proven itself to be one of the best new titles from DC Comics.
-Vengeance Moth, despite the name, actually seems like a very sweet person.
-Mouse’s mood swing from grieving, to hungry, to the utterly hilarious is awesome.
-Katharsis, for a hyper-conservative psychopath, does make a few good points about The Movement needing to be more proactive. However, she needs to learn the concept of baby-steps.
-Burden could REALLY use Prozac and therapy…..
-So many Wizard of Oz references from Mouse!