One Of The Best Issues To Date
This review was originally posted on my blog here.
Since my review of The Movement #9, it has come to my attention that the series is getting cancelled after issue #12, which will be in May. This is something that makes me really sad. Because it has been a series that dared to step out of the norms of superhero comics and do something radically different. It is an experiment that worked for a while, but unfortunately, due to various reasons, the series is now on the chopping block. With the new issue, the current 2-part arc comes to a close and after that we have two more issues to go. All we can hope for is that the series ends on a high-note.
In the previous issue Batgirl came to Coral City, hunting for a super-powered criminal. She ran afoul of The Movement though, and things ended up pretty bad though. And in the meantime, her target ran amok in the streets. This was the kind of the story that I really wanted to see on this title since its conception and Gail Simone delivered on it quite fantastically. It was a personal story, and that felt right at home for both Batgirl and the members of The Movement. And the art, headlined by penciller Freddie Williams II, was pretty decent as well.
One of the most interesting aspects of The Movement was the inclusion of Katharsis, a villain from the Batgirl-verse. Specifically, she was an enforcer for a recurring villain that Gail introduced in Batgirl: Knightfall. Since then Katharsis made her way to Coral City and joined the vigilantes of The Movement, also as an enforcer-type, doing the rough, hands-on work that the others can’t quite do. Consequently, she definitely has a history with Batgirl and Gail played that up in the previous issue to the max. It was quite fun to watch these two duke it out once again, and now in the new issue Gail brings that particular subplot to a close, in a very dramatic fashion that highlighted the personalities of the two women, their attitudes and their approach to villains.
But of course, the meat of the story is all about how Batgirl’s approach differs from that of The Movement’s. It is also about establishing new friendships and new connections, finding allies in the unlikeliest of places. And along the way, we see how Gail uses Batgirl’s past history, especially one of her most defining and life-changing moments as a hero, to show how she is still suffering, and how she still gets set on an edge. She has done it again and again on Batgirl and she does that here too.
Gail uses these personal connections to explore who all these characters are. And we also get to see some kind of a resolution to Mouse’s infatuation and love for Hurricane. It is here where Gail wins another point for diversity inclusivity in comics. Because, as it turns out that Roshana, aka Hurricane, is asexual. When was the last time that you got to see an asexual female character in superhero comics? I am not as up to date on superhero comics history as I’d like to be, but I’d still claim that this is quite a first isn’t it?
My only regret is that with the series ending so soon, with only two more issues to go, we won’t get to see this developed further. I can only hope that at some point The Movement ends up featuring in Batgirl and that thus Gail gets to do more with them. Of course, the best case scenario would be that the trade sales for The Movement are so much better than expected that DC ends up relaunching the series (but with #13 of course, and not with a #1 like Marvel does in this cases).
On the art, as the series draws to a close, Freddie does some great work once more. In a few panels, his characters had a bit of a weird case with their body dimensions, but on the whole, I liked the art. He maintains consistency with all the work that he has done before on the series and he makes Batgirl and the others all stand out, which is what I wanted, and expected. And kudos to Chris Sotomayor for delivering on the colours once again.
All I can say is that if you have been missing out on this series, then you’ve been missing out on something great and unexpected. Its too late to save the series from cancellation, but I hope that you all pick up the trades and support it that way.