The Movement #5: The Graveyard Faction Part One
(This review contains some spoilers for The Movement #5)
Taking a dramatic turn, several members of DC comics’ The Movement continue their crusade and protest for justice with a live-streamed trial for two criminal and corrupt Coral City Police Officers. Significant challenges are keeping this politically charged team busy however. A politician named James Cannon has plans to counter-attack The Movement by fighting super-heroes with super-villains – The Graveyard faction make their first appearance.
The Movement has a detailed art-style with heavy ink drawn over pencils. Character anatomy is strong, with dramatic and subtle body language contributing to the storytelling. Character expressions are detailed, and the flow from panel to panel is easy to follow thanks to the art’s expressive style.
Cinematic art choices make reading The Movement a bit like watching a DC comics movie. Two stories are woven together: Mouse protecting people on the street, and Vengeance Moth protecting herself from assault after a heated trial. The choices of where to cut from each strand of the story also contribute to the easy flow of the issue. Each characters have a brightly coloured costume, which brings the images to life. For example, Burden is dressed in bright red, and Tremor in bright yellow.
Seeing Mouse sprawled across a pile of garbage is not appealing image – with pale skin, and a coat of grime and dirt, Mouse resembles the perpetually dirt-coated character from The Peanuts, Pigpen.
Some of the best conversations are between Virtue and Captain Meers. As the man in charge of the Police Service of Coral City ( a new DC comics location), Meers is the main antagonist for The Movement.
In a moment of humour, Meers is shocked that Virtue isn’t wearing her domino mask. She replies “Oh, no, you might see the skin around my eyes!”
It’s a good comment about how a small mask does little to conceal identity. Trouble might be on the way for Virtue, however: Meers covertly photographed her face. Employing some deductive reasoning, Meers begins to home in on Virtue.
Themes, Ethics, Values.
The themes repeated throughout The Movement include equality, power, and abuse. The Police Service of Coral City are in a position of power over civilians. Abuse of that power, and the consequences, are what The Movement fight against. Technology is the key weapon they use to shame Police officers for their wrongdoings, which are substantial. Police Officers Joseph Whitt and Luis Pena committed sexual abuse of a minor – after planting illicit drugs on a teenage couple, they will only let the teens go without charge if the young woman removes her clothes. Now The Movement have Whit and Pena prisoner, and are broadcasting a trial across the internet.
Their goal resembles Restorative Justice (described by UNICEF). The police’s actions are weighed against their career; this charge of abuse is weighed against their bravery and service: civilians they have rescued from crime and disasters such as house fires for example. The young woman receives a voice in the trial since the survivors of crime confront the perpetrators in restorative justice.
Pena apologises for letting Whitt commit the offence. Whitt refuses to answer to the court. Vengeance Moth, one of The Movement, comments that they aren’t all bad. This is true. The comic is unafraid to depict humans who make mistakes – Whitt himself says this “We’re human, we make mistakes”. Vengeance Moth doesn’t know herself what’s to be done. Amnesty International provides guidance: they discuss and list violations against human rights alongside violence against women:
“Perpetrators of violence against women are rarely held accountable for their acts.” Amnesty International Violence Against Women Information.
Because The Movement broadcasted this restorative justice online, where Whitt and Pena are confronted, the officers are held accountable. Importantly, the woman has been given a voice in their internet broadcast. That’s the ethic here: violence against women could be confronted with restorative justice and a platform with a voice for crime survivors, where the criminal offense is made public.
A bit more on The Movement #5
The Movement is a comic charged with politics – Issue #5 opens with politicians seated around a boardroom table. What the comic also has is good story telling. Issues are not dumped on the reader – the trial of Whit and Pena vs. The Movement builds tension, and reaches a high point. Action isn’t neglected, as Mouse confronts a killer, and Katharsis gets into a scrap with Whitt. In The Movement, younger superheroes go up against powerful forces and make a difference.