The Movement 1

movement 1 Today, Shelby and Mikyzptlk are discussing The Movement 1, originally released May 1st, 2013.

Shelby: Not only do I work in downtown Chicago, my office happens to be located near the Board of Trade, the Federal Reserve Bank, and a number of other federal buildings. That means I see my fair share of protests; just today, a May Day protest made it’s way past my office to the federal plaza a block away. Being across from the Board of Trade, Reserve Bank, and having my office located in a building primarily filled with bankers means I saw my share of Occupy protesters when that movement was in its heyday. They were on my mind as I read the first issue of Gail Simone’s The Movement; if Occupy protesters were suddenly granted superpowers  and were truly able to turn vigilante, what sort of implications would that have?

Coral City seems like your standard, crappy comic book city. The cops are more crooked than straight, the captain is trying his best, and there’s a horrific murderer on the loose. They call him the Cornea Killer, on account of how he likes to remove his victims’ eyes. Enter Coral City’s new super-powered vigilante team, The Movement! We’ve got Virtue, the team leader, who can “ride people’s emotions.” Not totally sure what that means just yet, but it sounds intriguing. There’s Mouse, a Pied Piper sort of character with the ability to summon and control rats; Tremor, who’s equipped with pretty standard earthquake powers; an as yet unnamed hooded figure, and winged fighter Katharsis, whom you may remember from Knightfall’s team The Disgraced way back in the day in Batgirl. Also, there’s Burden, a mentally challenged boy who believes he’s possessed by the devil and unfortunately has the powers to seemingly back up that claim.

the movement

Virtue informs the captain that he’s on their turf; no one’s bothered to help them before, so now they were going to help themselves. He flees the neighborhood when the citizens he was trying to protect don the masks of The Movement and inform him he is no longer welcome. Leave it to Simone to introduce a new setting, story, and characters in a way that provides a ton of information without being merely expository. The crookedness of the cops is perfectly demonstrated by their trying to solicit sexual favors from a minor so she can avoid arrest. Oops, that’s the most terrible thing ever. Even our “good” captain isn’t so great; sure, he immediately suspends the crappy cops despite the union not giving him the authority, but his reaction to The Movement is to apply a bulldozer to the neighborhood. It’s the team itself that really has me thinking. They’re Anonymous and Occupy wrapped up into one neat, super-powered package. It’s easy enough to dismiss the vigilante aspect of superheroes. I get that what Batman does is illegal and dangerous, but it’s not something I think about when I’m reading a Batman title. Even when the GCPD starts to actively denounce the Bat’s actions, I always find myself siding with the god damn Batman; he’s the hero, and he’s in the right, and he won’t kill anyone, and things are better with him around than without, right? Simone cuts through that overly-forgiving fangirl attitude to remind us what vigilantism really means. These people are hard and dangerous, and they’ve been shoved aside and ignored for too long. They have the power to fight back, and they’re going to do so.

meet mouse

To continue the Batman universe comparison, Gotham City is gritty, but it’s comic book gritty. Batman fights shadowy secret societies and psychopaths in clown makeup; it gets pretty dark, but in such a fictional way. Simone makes The Movement and its members feel so much more real and so much more relevant. These people aren’t robbing banks or just being needlessly evil for the hell of it; they’re fighting for the right to not be sexually assaulted by police officers, to just be safe in their own neighborhood. It’s to both Simone and artist Freddie Williams II’s credit that these characters are already established enough that I didn’t even wonder about where their powers came from. The character design (both visual and otherwise) is smart and cleanly executed. I especially love their costumes, which seem to be composed of repurposed street clothes. Katharsis’ winged rig is pretty specialized, it’s true, but Virtue appears to be wearing jeans and a t-shirt over a long sleeve tee and a fancy belt. Williams’ style is especially suited for this book; his pencils walk the line between cartoony and realistic, which perfectly suits the comic book superheroes against the realistic gritty-city backdrop. I don’t think it’s outrageous to say this is one of the stronger first issues I’ve read in a while; Hawkeye springs to mind as the last issue one I’ve read that I knew was instantly very special. What do you think, Mike? Generally we wait to review a new title until three issues in, do you think there’s enough substance in this issue to warrant jumping right into the discussion?

Mikyzptlk: Well, it’s Gail! You’ve just gotta jump in right? There are a handful of creators out there that, regardless of premise or character, warrant giving them the benefit of the doubt. Gail Simone is definitely one of those creators and it’s obvious that we here at Retcon Punch are big fans of her work. Having said that, I wasn’t exactly 100% onboard with the premise of this series. When this, and its sister series The Green Team, were announced, my immediate reaction was…less than positive. However, the creative teams did strike me as something to keep an eye out for, and just as expected, Simone does not disappoint.

I was blown away by how effectively Ms. Simone set up the series in this one issue alone. In this day and age of writing for the trade and decompressed storytelling, some creators may have chosen to stretch out this introduction as far as they could take it. Thankfully, Ms. Simone jumps right in to deliver something fast paced and compelling. I’m not sure who these characters are or what they can do, but the one thing that is clearly established is what they want: to protect their city. More so, they want to replace the authorities who are established as corrupt and perhaps even useless.

Move over

Most of the established superheroes in the DCU are looking to protect their cities and the world from dangerous threats, but rarely do they ever want to actually replace established authority figures. One of the things that’s fascinated me most about this series already is that The Movement has actually deemed certain parts of Coral City as under their protection only. Even Batman, who endlessly claims Gotham as his city, continuously works with the GCPD and is best buds with the commish! Gail Simone has taken the concept of a super-team to a new, interesting, and dangerous level.

How far is The Movement going to take things? Do they have plans on expanding their territory? I can’t help but wonder what the Justice League, with direct ties to the government, would feel about a team of young, superpowered activists positioning themselves against Coral City’s police force. Whatever happens, Simone has definitely convinced me that this is a series worth talking about. Lastly, take a look at how diverse this team is! The team is evenly split between men and women and the leader is not only black, but a woman! How many other super-teams can say that? It makes me want to give Simone a high-five, fist-bump, and hug all at the same time! Although, I should probably do those one at a time. You know, for safety.

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page.  Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore.  If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there.  There’s no need to pirate, right?

31 comments on “The Movement 1

  1. Confession: I’ve never liked Gail Simone. I’ve read a handful of her Batgirl stuff, the Secret Six mini-series and the 1st arc of its ongoing and it never did anything for me. I was really on the fense as to whether I would pick this up and I’m so glad that I did.
    I agree with Mikyzptlk that this is one of the strongest Issue #1 in a while.

    • I feel the same way about Freddy Williams. In fact, this might be the first time that I’ve actually just straight-up liked his art. Drew and I read all of Captain Atom before it was cancelled, and the art was always kind of hurdle for me (not aided by a convoluted story). His splattery-ness and expressive characters really work well in this title though.

      • I’m not that familar with him. I know I read GA #0 which he did.

        If you could move any DC Artist or Writer to another DC Book who and where to?

        • I know this wasn’t directed at me, but I can’t help keeping my big, fat, disgusting mouth shut. I love DC’s teen characters, and IMO, they’ve mostly been shat upon in the N52. With that, I’d put Tony Bedard on Teen Titans because I loved his work on Red Robin series in the Pre-52, and his work in general is normally great. He just recently did the dialogue in TT, so I’m hoping this’ll mean a permanent assignment for him there.

          I’d also put China Mieville on Superboy. Mieville is a sci-fi guy and clones definitely fit that category. Mainly, I’d love seeing what Mieville could do with a more mainstream character such as Superboy.

        • Bedard would be a great fit for Teen Titans — he does good work with teen characters AND teams. I also think Azzarello could make me actually care about Aquaman, but I’ll accept that it would probably just be diminishing returns trying to recreate what I like about his Wonder Woman.

        • I’d put Scott Snyder on Suicide Squad but I’d sacrifice the team aspect to revamp it into a Harley Quinn solo book and work heavily towards reparation of that character – she desperately needs it post-reboot. I see that whole situation as DC having devalued one of their most profitable (particularly in merchandise) characters with no apparent end game. Rampant mishandling – Harley Quinn has a fanbase every bit as rabid as Deadpool and no one is giving them a desirable product of any kind IMO.

  2. I read 3 reviews of The Movement so far, and all of them praised miss Simone’s latest work. Definitely a good start.
    Also, Mikyzptlk is right when he says that decompressed storytelling is one of the biggest flaws of 10s comic books.
    I’m a trade waiter (the only comic books I’m reading month by month are Green Arrow and Katana), so I notice this flaw less easily than the other readers who read all their comics month by month, but sometimes I decide to buy a single issue at random, I read it and, when I finish it, I realize that hardly anything happened in it.
    I can’t figure why so many authors “write for the trade”, but I definitely would like them to stop.

    • “Writing for the Trade” seems especially bad at DC considering they have long since made their decision on titles before the trades are available. Unless you are one of their Big Gun writers (Snyder, Johns, Azzarello, etc..) this seems like a poor strategy.

        • I think that Hubris is the answer. Writers not wanting to adjust their style/vision to needs of their stakeholders. I mean, Mark Millar came out the other week saying that he never wants his comics to go day-and-date digital and that he wants a 3month lag for them…because…he’s an asshole?? You can see the same thing in every medium.
          All that said, I think this is more of a problem for DC than any of the other big publisher. It’s weird that DC has this “withholding” strategy for trades especially considering how out in front they have been when it comes to digital.

        • I always assumed that DC had determined the perfect amount of time between individual issue releases and the trades to maximize profit. There has to be something to incentivize the monthly-customers, right? But there also has to be enough time between the release of the issues and the collections to kind of trick them into buying it again – if I just finished reading the Night of the Owls, I don’t have any desire to pick up a collection and experience it again. But 8 months later? Yeah, maybe I can see the value in picking that up and revisiting that material in one shiny volume.

          It’s definitely a shitty deal for the trade-waiters, though.

        • Evan, you have NO IDEA how much we complained about that shit at my store. Marvel’s schedule is way better. Like, if a popular book is getting ready to start some new big arc, Marvel tries to have the first volumes of that series ready to go to so people can catch up. My store would constantly do some kind of deal to incentivise people into getting into the series. Like, “Buy vol. 1 of The Surprising Whatever and get the new issue FREE!”

          It was infinitely more difficult to do that with DC.

        • I’m with you, Mikyzptlk.
          For example, I would have liked to buy the 1st trade of Vibe (collecting issues # 1 – 6) and then to start reading it month by month from issue # 7.
          I googled “Justice League of America’s Vibe Vol. 1” to know the release date of that volume. It will be released in FEBRUARY 2014: Vibe # 7 comes out in July, so, as you wrote, it is impossible for me to catch up.
          Please Retcon Punch, tell DC via Twitter or something that we’re sick of their trades coming out so late.

        • Even as a digital guy who only buys Trades of stories I LOVE I wish they came out sooner. Mainly I want to buy trades so that I can lend them to other to get them into the story but hard to do with the waiting time. Its even harder if like me you prefer TP over HC and they are released first as HC. For example gave a friend Vol 1 of WW, she loved it but Vol 2 is still only out in HC.

        • All that said – from the Digital Side DC is kicking Marvel’s Ass. They go day-and-date at Midnight not 2pm, they have 10ish Digital first titles and they discount their all their books after 1 month so its cheaper to catch up.

        • Marvel does have their Marvel Unlimited service, which I know our writer Ethan uses. They’re also working to do more interesting things with digital: the AR stuff, infinite comics, and the gamma project are all really interesting initiatives. I mean, we’ll see how that all shakes out, but I like that they’re trying stuff.

        • I’m really interested to see how the gamma project works out. They can obviously do so much more with the digital format, but the question remains: should they? The more they do with comics (adding music, animation, whatever) the further away they get from what physical comics do and perhaps the very essence of what comics are. Mark Waid was talking about this recently although I forget where. I think it was a Thrillbent presentation.

        • From the way they were talking about it last weekend, it seems like the brass at Marvel are very interested in maintaining the feel of reading a comic. That’s why an Infinite Comic, isn’t the same as a motion comic – one feels like reading, the other feels like shitty animation.I didn’t get a chance to actually experience Gamma, but everyone I talked to said it was seamless and atmospheric and cool.

  3. It’s Katharsis on the team that makes me wonder how long they’ll be able to hold it together and stay chaotic good. Remember, in Batgirl she was on a team responsible for setting bear traps for car thieves, and she was originally kicked off the police force for castrating a man suspected of sexual assault. It’s dangerous having her on board.

  4. I did like this issue a lot, and I love the Amanda Conner cover most of all, but can we please discuss how much the title logo for this comic looks like ass? It’s seriously the worst looking comic logo I can remember EVER seeing. Please do not mar future Conner artwork with this nonsense 😛

  5. Pingback: Batgirl 20 | Retcon Punch

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