The fourth issue of Gail Simone’s wildly popular new comic The Movement hit stores last week, and I figured it was well past time we gave it a shoutout here. The Movement is one of the best comics I’ve picked up since I started my American comics journey about a year ago, and furthermore, it’s one of the most impressively diverse.
The Movement is set in the DC Universe in Coral City, a city rife with crime and corruption. Fed up with the problems that extend even into the police force, a group of young people who have all been, in some way, abandoned by society band together to take justice into their own hands. Using part hacking, part strategy, and part brute force, they begin to take a stand against the moral and social rot that pervades the city.
The Movement was in some sense inspired by the Occupy Movement, with early advertising calling out to the rhetoric of Occupy Wall Street with taglines like “Meet the 99%… They were the super-powered disenfranchised—now they’re the voice of the people!” And although the comic’s story is a far cry from the peaceful sit-ins of OWS, The Movement’s message eventually spreads like wildfire to other cities in DC’s America.
At only four issues, The Movement‘s plot itself is still unfolding, and it’s hard to guess exactly what will happen in issues to come. However, the story is very character-driven and I’d enjoy reading about the characters in question doing just about anything.
Which brings me to my main point: I love the cast of The Movement. There’s Virtue, the team’s firebrand leader, to Mouse, the awkward kid who talks to and controls rats, to Katharsis, an ex-Gotham cop with multicolored hair and mechanical wings. I think they’re all fascinating in their own ways. Unfortunately, as the cast is pretty big for a comic, and as most of the characters are original to the series, some of them don’t really have backstories yet. (For example, Vengeance Moth seems badass but I have no idea what her powers or backstory are yet.) I did say most are original, note: Simone has been making a concerted effort to unbench heroes who disappeared from DC’s pages after the New 52 reboot. One such example is Tremor, who previously appeared in Simone’s Secret Six run.
What I especially love about them, new or re-appearing, is that the cast is really and truly and intersectionally diverse, without it coming off as preachy or unbelievable. Virtue, Tremor, Katharsis, and others are characters of color; Vengeance Moth is physically disabled; Rainmaker, Virtue, and Tremor at the very least are all queer. (Tremor’s actually asexual, which is particularly exciting given the lack of ace representation in, well, everything. Her orientation hasn’t really come into play yet, but Simone has assured readers that it will be visible and important to her character.) In fact, I find that the story is more believable because they are a diverse group: realistically, people who are in some way marginalized are far more likely to be screwed over by the justice system, and as such, the comics industry standard team of several white, cisgendered, abled, straight males with maybe one PoC or woman for the ‘diversity quota’ would make literally no sense in this context.
Aside from that, the art really pops—it’s totally gorgeous, and the colors are equally tremendous.