Saturday, January 20, 2018

Days Of Hate #1 Review

Stonewalls and Steel bars

Written by Ales Kot
Drawn by Danijel Zezelj
Colored by Jordie Bellaire
Published by Image
Release Date: 17 January 2018
Reviewed by: Andrew McAvoy

So before I get into the review on this one, a quick warning. This is a very political book (it opens with a quote from Steve Bannon so it is no secret). So if you are sick, sore and tired of politics and see comics as a means of escape into the realms of superhero fantasy then this might not be the book for you. I'm not into politics either, but I do see how the comic book medium has a significant amount to offer in that arena. Let's see how this issue played out.

The setting of the book is America in 2022. The initial dialogue is used to great effect. Side note: I will flag at this point that other writers could learn from this book's use of a small piece of opening dialogue being used to draw out character and plot context rather than just acting as a comic book sound effect. The opening exchange states, "Remember when we all hated on 2016 online? Called it a "Trash Fire"? And then on 2017? 2018. The Elections? People don't even hate on 2022. We're catatonic." See what I mean? 1 character, 3 speech bubbles, scene and context set, alongside an insight into our character's mindset.

This establishes the tone of the book going forward. We see the story revolve around two female characters who were once in a relationship. Then they lost a child together, a loss that drove one into the arms of the police state and the other towards a guerrilla war against the white supremacy.This book shows how it plays out.

I may be reading too much into the imagery in this book, but a famous poem written in 1919 by WB Yeats called the Second Coming has had a massive resurgence over the last few years, with many commentators quoting its depiction of a world in which the old order is collapsing. One of the lines in the poem talks about the general state of uncertainty in the West since 2016 as a scenario where "The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold". Maybe no surprise then that pages 7 and 8 of this issue have a wonderful spread of a falcon coming in to land on a female falconer's arm - perhaps to match that symbolism, or to counter it. Which is an appropriate time to make reference to the wonderful art by Danijel Zezelj and in particular the colors of Jordie Bellaire.

Bits and Pieces

It's hard to explain the vibe of this book. The best way I have of describing it is to suggest that it is like a mix of Handmaid's Tale and season 1 of True Detective. Certainly, it's art style has many traits of the latter show, while the plot has similarities to the former. All in all a wonderful book and it shows that if comic books do enter into matters of politics and social commentary they can bring as much, if not more, to the table than a lot of other forms of entertainment. A high-end book, that may attain a cultural significance.


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