I picked the first 2 issues of The Movement up last week along with Red Sonja in some sort of Gail Simone extravaganza. I hadn’t heard much about The Movement, and what I’d heard wasn’t great. However, by the first page, I’d decided that I loved it.
The scene: Coral City.
#1 opens with officers Pena and Whitt hassling some kids, a teenage boy and girl and searching them for drugs. They “find some” on one and offer to let them go, IF the girl gives them a “little peek.”
However, masked hacktivists record the incident and confront the officers sending them out.
The group, Channel M/the Movement, spreads the footage themselves and to the media. Police chief orders the officers out but bureaucracy has other plans (a scenario that reeks of Gotham City). Then they get a call about another victim of a serial killer they’ve been after that leads them to a church in “the ‘tweens”: the area between 10th and 20th street that the Movement, and vigilantes with interesting superpowers, have taken over.
A guy who can control rats, a girl who can ride emotions, a girl who can cause earthquakes, a girl with metal wings.
Inside the church a homeless boy is looking demonic, spouting warnings from hell and levitating. The cops have decided he is the serial killer (with no investigation, on the hunch that he’s crazy and in the general area). A masked vigilante sets him straight.
Captain: “There’s a killer in there.”
Virtue: “no, there isn’t. There’s a poor tortured kid with a mental illness who’s been told his whole life he’s possessed. And sadly, he had the superhuman powers to make it happen. We’ll look after them.”
OMG the social commentary: the disenfranchised fighting back, the stigma of mental illness, the corruption of those in perceived power, communities taking care of themselves and their own, creating your own news. I think I’m in love.
Where as some of the set up is very Gotham, the main characters only have themselves and their community for resources, no money, no infrastructure, no more gadgets than your average underemployed twentysomething. They have superpowers, of course, although some are more useful than others, after all, you can’t make earthquakes just anywhere and riding a wave of rats is pretty weird and gross.
I recommend it. It’s not traditional superhero fare by any means, take that however you like. And I like the whole “I see you…” gimmick. The group’s go-to isn’t violence. What they are out for isn’t about power or revenge, it’s truth, it’s transparency.