The United States of America, 2022. The loss that ripped them apart drove one into the arms of the police state and the other towards a guerrilla war against the white supremacy. Now they meet again. This is a story of a war.
There is no denying that, politically, we are living in strange times and that is often reflected in the media we consume. Or, rather, it’s reflected in the media created too. Days of Hate, as the title would suggest, is a 12 issue series from writer Ales Kot and artist Danijel Zezelj that deals with the rise of The Right in America and imagines a world in that not too distant future – 2022 in fact – where society is riddled with institutionalised prejudice and hate. Hell, the comic starts with quoting both Slippery Steve Bannon on the right (quite literally) with lyrics on the left from A Silver Mt. Zion, an orchestral band from Canada who cite Black Flag amongst others, as influences upon their lyrics, if not their musical sound.
Still, it’s a clear statement of intent from the creative team. America in 2022 is broken and bruised and we view this America through two female protagonists. One seems to work for the police, Amanda, or some government sanctioned agency, while the other seems to be more of a free spirited, underground activist who takes no prisoners in her attempts to, possibly, right wrongs done to her and her people in the past. This latter character, Huian Xing, is Chinese American and clearly has been hurt, as many a minority person has been today, tomorrow and the day after. And not just in America. Here in the UK, the rise of The Right is on the march too, and so what is being explored in this book is relatable beyond America. You are not alone.
Connecting the dots, it becomes clear that Amanda and Xiang were once married but now aren’t. Whether it’s because of their different views on how to deal with the social issues of the day or not, only time will tell. This is the first issue after all, and there needs to be more than one mystery to this story for it to keep the readers interested. Otherwise, it becomes another liberal comic book writer speaking to converted. What is clear, though, is that whoever Xiang is now hanging around with (Black Ops?) want to know more about her ex. Why? Well, that’s a story for another day.
Anyway, Amanda we meet scouring a crime scene and commenting on how people have become ‘catatonic’ and impassive to the state of the nation in 2022. She’s clearly speaking to us, the readers, and passing comment on the here and now. We’ll happily ‘like’ a left-wing leaning post in out liberal social media bibles (and I’m including myself here) but will we actually get out of our comfy chairs and hit the streets, and proactively try and change the world?
The artwork by Zezelj, with its dark, bold swathes of black ink, reminiscent of Alex Maleev, gives a deserving broodiness and menace to the whole affair and paints a future of desolated cityscapes and KKK-like meet ups, where all the family are welcome!? This is a dark, dark series, both artistically and thematically, and with it’s strong political slant, worth telling at a time when we are still tackling the issues within the industry of whether or not there is any room for politics in comics.
From the evidence here, its a “Yes” from Kot and Zezelj and it’s a “Yes” from me, too. Art, and anyone in a privileged position of being able to communicate with the masses, should comment on events of the day, as it always has done. It should scream and shout on behalf of those less fortunate, to paraphrase the aggi-punk band Propagandhi.
A brooding, menacing Amerikkka that could still yet happen. This is your warning call people!
Days of Hate #1 is out Wednesday, the 17th of January, 2018 from Image Comics.