My issues and concerns with DC’s decision to reboot their entire continuity are significant enough that I literally boycotted the entire comic line. The scrapping of fan favorites, the rebrandings and redesigns, the fact that Amanda “The Wall” Waller -a rare strong female comic character who wasn’t meant to be overtly sexy, just intimidating- now looked like typical eye candy and Barbara Gordon was Oracle no more; I was neither pleased nor impressed with any of this. So much so that I didn’t even subscribe to Batwoman in spite of the fact that Elegy was one of the better comics of the last decade. Such was my wrath.
In my article of favorite under-the-radar superteams, I mentioned writer Gail Simone more than once. This is because she is one of the best in the business. When she was suddenly fired from Batgirl, the internet comic community exploded with such fury that DC was forced to rehire her for the job within days. After that display of fan passion, not only did Simone get to keep her current job, but she got a rare opportunity to create an entirely new property within the DC Universe, and make a statement about the power of the masses while doing it. That new property is The Movement, the first issue just hit stands this summer, and it’s the very first comic from the New 52 I have purchased.
Simone calls The Movement “a book about power — who owns it, who uses it, who suffers from its abuse.” It’s an entirely new aspect of the DCU that combines elements of V for Vendetta and Runaways with a little Sin City thrown in for good measure and draws inspiration from real world events like the Occupy Movement and the operations of hacktivist groups like Anonymous. At this point you’re likely either shouting “hell yeah!” or you’re raging at the audacity of these spoiled punk kids who dare suggest our corporate government is bleeding us dry for anything but our own good.
The story begins with a pair of crooked cops harassing some teens in an alley in the bad part of Coral City known as “The Tweens”, based on the street numbers. As one policeman offers an indecent proposition to the young girl in their power, he hears his own words echoing back. Then again. Then again. A single masked figure steps out of the shadows with a smartphone, replaying the audio of the illegal proposition with the letters “I.C.U.” displayed on the screen as a barely veiled threat. As one officer advances on the lone witness, the other stops him. When he turns around, he sees the alley now full of people, all wearing the same mask, call carrying smart devices with I.C.U. displayed and the same audio playing. Power to the people it is, then.
A hacker collective known as “Channel M” sends the footage viral, but the police union forbids disciplinary action against the officers. Meanwhile, homeless people are being found murdered in the streets with their eyes cut out, and the police believe they are closing in on the killer. A group of young metahumans then descend on the police, utilizing a variety of powers to disable the officers before informing them that after so many years of negligence, they are no longer welcome in the Tweens. The people will take care of themselves and each other from here on out.
The cyberhobos have made their move!
While I have high hopes for this series, the debut issue is maybe a little more blunt than what I’d expect from a writer of Simone’s talents. Then again, with a title this experimental on the biggest brand in the medium, it’s probably necessary to grab as much attention as possible right off the bat. Not to mention that this is merely the very beginning of a story likely to tread a lot of moral and political grey areas with plenty of blame for all parties to go around. The interesting question isn’t necessarily how people get the power, after all; it’s what they do once they have it.
The art is solid, the characters appear to be an interesting mix (although we barely have time to meet them in this issue), there is at least one unique superpower that I’ve never seen before that could prove a great narrative device, and the story looks to have its finger on the pulse of the rising resentment towards governmental authority that continues to take more and more from the common people while giving them less and less in return. Something will eventually give as it always does, and in the modern age people have the technology to spread awareness and organize like never before. Seeing something that reflects the current and likely future climate in America like this play out in the DC Universe is going to be very interesting indeed.
If you managed to get through this review without rolling your eyes and going back to watching FOX News, now’s your chance to get in on the ground floor of The Movement. It’s a concept strong enough to get me back into the DC brand after they murdered almost everything I loved that they could, and a rare chance for a hotshot female comic writer to create something all her own (for now) in an industry that has far too few influential women outside of its pages. I’m expecting big things. Don’t screw this up DC.
Charmed, I’m sure.