Pop Culture Gadabout
Saturday, August 06, 2011
      ( 8/06/2011 05:15:00 PM ) Bill S.  


“FREEDOM IS THE OBSTACLE THAT STANDS BETWEEN US AND THAT PERFECTION.” With a title like The Homeland Directive (Top Shelf Productions), you might immediately assume that this Robert (Surrogates) Venditti/Mike Huddleston graphic novel has its roots in post-911 angst. That it does, though the political thriller also looks back to earlier shadow government cautionaries like The Parallax View. Its opening epigram from Ben Franklin (“Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”) is familiar, if still pertinent, while its central act of terrorism is an all-too-plausible one.

Directive’s protagonist is a CDC researcher named Laura Regan, who has been targeted along with her colleague Ari Musa by the Secretary of Homeland Security Albert Keene. Doctors Regan and Musa obviously Know Something that the Machiavellian Keene wants covered, and the attentive reader quickly realizes that it must have something to do with bio-terrorism. Our heroine is nearly iced by a red-nosed assassin, but a group of government agents gone rogue (“We work for the them, not with them.”) rescues her. From then on, Laura and her saviors are on the lam -- as a series of Homeland Security news bulletins portray her first as her colleague’s killer, then as a child abductor. “We’ll know they’ve exhausted all their options when they mention the kids,” one of the savvy government rogues notes.

Venditti paces his story strongly for the most part (the finish seems a bit rushed) and even leaves room in his full-blown conspiracy for a few good men and women. The faceless president (are those Obama-esque ears?) is even left out of the shadow government work, and when he learns the truth of what Keene has been up to, takes matters into his own hands -- ironically employing the same red-nosed killer to tidy things. Our primary window into the Way Things Really Work is our idealistic young doctor, of course. Since one of the rogue agents is from the (fictional) Bureau of Consumer Advocacy, we’re treated to several glimpses at the ways our paperless society has made us all vulnerable.

Artist Mike Huddleston provides a variety of color and background schemes to differentiate this suspenser’s settings. His scenes in government buildings, for instance, are rendered in washed-out grays, while segments with Laura Regan are primarily done in earth tones. A series of one-page montages showing the cross-country victims of the bio-terrorism plot is brightly colored (as if to emphasize the diversity of the effected population), as the sequences set in BOCA get rendered on blue-lined graph paper. What could be distracting proves effective, largely through the artist’s tight control of his characters -- and the strength of Venditti’s crisp conspiracy yarn.

If you don’t finish this GN feeling just the slightest bit paranoid, you haven’t been paying attention.

(First published on Blogcritics.)

Labels:

# |



Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).



On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:



A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page







Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Attentiondeficitdisorderly
Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

BeaucoupKevin
Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Bookgasm
Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Comics.212
Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine

Egon

Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery

Estoreal
RAB

Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section
Hal

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures
Pata

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Journalista
Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett

Metrokitty
Kitty

Michael's Movie Palace
Michael

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag

Neilalien

News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

PeterDavid.net
Peter David

(postmodernbarney.com)
Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Rhinoplastique
Marc Bernardin

Scrubbles
Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren
Campaspe

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby

TangognaT

The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter



A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.




My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Alicublog
Roy Edroso

Eschaton
Atrios

Firedoglake
Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman

Modulator
Steve

Pandagon
Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
Skippy

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends



Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed



Powered by Blogger



Twittering:
    follow me on Twitter