The Movement is a series created by writer Gail Simone and artist Freddie Williams II, which debuted in May 2013. From what little I’d read of it beforehand it sounded interested, with promotional imagery invoking the Occupy Wall Street movement
Intriguing. But I avoided it because I just wasn’t interested in DC Comics as a whole at the time. The title was canceled after 12 issues, so I never did read it. Until last weekend when, on impulse, I bought the whole series on Comixology. And I loved it! So now I’m going to review the whole darn thing, because I can. I’ll try to hold back on big spoilers, but some may slip through, so be forewarned.
EATEN FROM THE INSIDE OUT
The story opens in Coral City, a new fictional DC city, closer in tone to Gotham than Metropolis. The primary setting in this town is an area known as The Tweens (the blocks from 10th street to 20th street). It’s a lower class area. The police are either ineffective or corrupt (or both). One night a couple of crooked cops, Pena and Whitt, stop a teenager couple and accuse the boy of selling drugs, but offer to let them go in exchange for the girl giving them “a little peek”. But before it can get any further, the cops find themselves surrounded by a crowd of teens, all wearing masks, and all filming the incident on their phones.
Channel M is the name of this collective, described as a “hacker group” of “anonymous activists”, who have set up base in The Tweens, and soon the video of the incident is broadcast across the news. We meet the beleaguered police captain (who is unnamed in this issue), who tries to fire the offending officers but is unable to do certain city rules. But Channel M isn’t just made up of regular teens with cellphones and laptops, there are also several superheroes in their midst, some whom we meet in this issue. The defacto leader is Virtue, she can “ride emotions” (which, in this issue, manifests as her turning into a ghost-like apparition and discovering that the captain’s wife is cheating on him). There is another girl, named Tremor, who has the power to cause a small Earthquake by touching the ground. A boy named Mouse seems to speak to and control a veritable army of mice/rats. And a girl named Katharsis, who seems to be an non-powered vigilante, with excellent fighting skills, who uses a mechanical winged harness to fly.
This group and the police intersect in an old church in the Tweens. For some time, a murderer has been on the loose in the city, killing homeless people and then carving out their eyes. He’s referred to as “The Cornea Killer.” The police, including the captain, respond to the latest victim, and then they get a call of a disturbance at the church where a boy simply calling himself Burden seeks out the help of the pastor, claiming to be possessed by the devil, an exhibiting powers that certainly look demonic. The police want to take him in (or kill), but the heroes believe that he is innocent and want to rescue him and help him control his powers. This, naturally, leads to a bit of a clash…
This is a strong first issue. Enough information about the setting and the major characters is revealed to get the audience up to speed, but still plenty of mystery is left open to keep us intrigued enough to want to keep reading. Gail Simone’s skill with characterization is evident here, in the way she writes the interaction between characters like Virtue and the police captain, as well as Katharsis and the Officer Whitt, the dialog flows naturally and is filled with dramatic tension. And Freddie Williams’ art provides a suitably dark tone.