THE MOVEMENT #10
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Freddie Williams II
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: March 5, 2014
Katharsis takes center stage as the Movement aims to protect a fleeing metahuman the best way they know how — by beating on his supposed captor, Batgirl! It’s a battle of wills, strength and, more than anything, ethics, as Virtue’s crew has to decide what side of the fence they’re really on.
One of the things I’ve been really intrigued by, both in The Movement and in Batgirl, is the sense of an inequity of justice Gail Simone threads through each of her books. And not vigilante justice per se — although there’s plenty to ponder on both sides of that one too — but the idea of striking a difference between the traditional good vs. evil binary and a much greyer sense of reality. The Movement, in particular, embraces that reality wholeheartedly, and while I certainly hold Virtue and Katharsis (as defunct leaders, more or less) in high regard, it’s not without some serious questioning. And that’s the real pleasure of a book that may have capes and tights, but also doesn’t use that as a cure-all for self-doubt and reflection. We’re getting the best of both worlds with this title from Simone, and while I know the book is soon leaving us, I can’t help but continue to find great intellectual charm in its possibilities.
If last issue was Virtue’s to steal, this one has got to go to Katharsis, who is rendered in a much more vulnerable light than we’ve seen her to date in either Batgirl or this title. With the thrill of the hunt taking a quick turn for the sexy, we’re left to further wonder: what is the dividing line between hero and villain, friend and foe? And in a place like Coral City — billed now as WORSE than Gotham — could those distinctions ever even matter? What does matter is that these characters shine from within, partly because of Simone’s deft dialogue work and partly because we always want to root for the underdogs. And their camaraderie grows with every page turn, even charming Batgirl over to their cause in quick fashion. Everyone is set up for heartbreak in this issue, but that Batgirl’s admiration seems to break through even the harshest exteriors on the team, leaves the issue with a sense of hope despite all that.
Williams continues to deliver spot on renderings of kids, who are definitely not running a super-hero team out of a giant T-shaped building. From clothing details to the somewhat anti-technological construction of Katharsis’s wings, the artist gives us a range of detail that really sets this book apart from its glitzy contemporaries. To build into the very fabric of the page this sort of rough, unpolished rendering really reflects the cast and their place in the world in a profound way. To be fair, the cover by artist Stephane Roux actually handles the confrontation between Babs and Kulap with the complete opposite tactic: clean, beautiful rendering across a nearly magical skyline. That said, it’s easily my favorite cover of the month, and gives a remarkable glow to two characters I adore, one from way back when, and another a much more recent addition to my heart.
With only two issues left of The Movement, there’s a lot of sads to spread around about its demise for loyal fans, but it’s damn hard not to read this issue and have the appreciation outweigh the negativity. The cast is fresh, the stories are thoughtful, and the feelings within will stand the test of time. Here’s hoping for a long life in collected edition and other opportunities for these characters to grow into the DC Universe more fully in months to come. It needs this kind of influence to stay relevant, and I can’t imagine reading a teen team book again without comparing it to this group’s first run. That is, until another. Fingers crossed.
The Verdict: 9.0/10