by Patrick Ehlers
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
“All we do is sit in rooms and wait.”
Arvid, Days of Hate 9
The scariest thing about the rise of fascism in the United States is the immeasurable apathy it has been met with. While people on the left have donated and volunteered and campaigned and protested, there’s nothing that won’t send us back to our couches like a little tongue-clucking about civility. We still expect the old tools work, but leverage and hypocrisy and blackmail only work if your opponent lets it work. In Days of Hate 9, writer Ales Kōt and artist Danijel Žeželj show the futility of protest, blackmail, and scheming against the unstoppable juggernaut of cruelty that is Agent Freeman.
The issue is full of examples of Freeman steamrolling attempts to resist him by simply ignoring those attempts. For me, the most impactful is the protest-suicide of Agent Kozlowski. It’s the act that both starts and ends the issue, but the reader’s relationship to the moment is incredibly odd. Kōt does not offer any illuminative copy to explain the rationale of a man sitting in a puddle of gasoline and playing with a lighter. What little bit of monologue we do get is personal, almost prayer-like, as our self-immolator focuses more on his own loss of life than the statement he’s trying to make. It is an act of total and complete resistance, but perhaps he already knows how little effect it will have.
Cut to: that little effect. Freeman gets pulled out of his interrogation session with Huian to get the news about Kozlowski. Here’s his immediate reaction.
This is Freeman at his physically least intimidating. His posture is terrible, his hair is fucked up, and his hands are in his goddamn pockets. This is the one second of weakness he allows himself… before bouncing back with the strongest defense in the world: not giving a shit.
It’s the same defense he’ll use against Huian’s blackmail attempt. “You can’t hurt me if I don’t care.” He’s right. And that’s what makes him terrifying.
(But also: vote next week. Even when it feels hopeless, a feeling I often get reading Days of Hate, you still gotta try to make things better.)
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?