The concluding issue of this first season continues to be engaging but also frustratingly inconclusive. A world has been build and populated in great detail. But we have only just scratched the surface of this new shared universes from J Michael Stracsynski. and Mike Deodato Jr. Real world politics comes crashing down on the superhero genre in a book that’s one part Stan Lee and another part John Le Carre.
The conversation continues on the origins of the recent pandemic in The Resistance #6. It’s been the dominant conversation throughout the whole series. Voice after voice from various characters come piling in with their views – some scientific, some pure speculation, and some based on prejudice – on the brave new world created in the aftermath of the outbreak. A global outbreak that has seen the world brought to its knees, but reborn as something spectacular or spooky, depending on your perspective.
The opening pages of this issue throws up an all encompassing montage of quick-fire scenes that brings the readers up to speed on how the world has come to terms – or rather, not – with these new super folk. Some embrace their efforts to take up a cause and become saviours. Others fear what this change may spell for humanity.
The survivors of the virus get the same crap the X-Men have had to go through for decades, but with more real world drama infused into this series, by writer and co-creator J Michael Stracsynski. The extremist suicide bomber who cannot die – and therefore enter Heaven as he’s been incorrectly promised – is mocked by his fellow zealots because of this? Just one great example of how Stracsynski incorporates real-world situations and real-world problems and the often uncomfortable solutions. There is no need for allegory here. The parallels are stark.
The Resistance #6 continues to include the kind of behind-closed-doors conversations real government would no doubt be having if such an event as ever going to come to pass. Pragmatic, albeit it prejudice, and deadly decisions made both logically and through a thin veil of fear. This is as much as series about politicians in power suits as it is kids in capes. Super heroes if John Le Carre has cared to write them.
Of course, the real world sensibility Mike Deodato Jr brings to bear only adds to the sense that this is an espionage political thriller rather than your straight forward introduction of a new super hero shared universe. Using real-life film stars’ likenesses like Harvey Keitel and Ed Harris, once again adds a further sheen of legitimacy to events. At times I can even hear Harris as the President! The same kind of threatening undertones he does to great effect in such films as A History of Violence. Deodato Jr’s use of darkness and shadow adds a further menacing mood to the whole affair. Black opps, dragged through the dirt. You can never sit back and relax when the governments of the world are breathing down your neck.
As for the Resistance? Well, they may very well have come up with a plan to save the world by stopping the virus in its tracks. Like a good superhero team would do. But, in a far more grounded, less bombastic way to most crises faced by the superhero community.
The Resistance #6 marks the end of this first season and a season, in hindsight, that was never designed to tell the complete story. Rather, it was all a set up for the introduction and establishment of a fertile new super hero universe, but with one foot very firmly planted in the gritty reality of our own corrupt world.
It’ll be interesting to see where he takes those who make up the Resistance and those who don’t in future series. Although, feeling more like an over-extended prologue isn’t where I thought this series would end up, which is frustrating as I feel after six heavily dialogued issues there would have been more of a pay off and less of a ‘to be continued’ vibe to it all. Although, the ending will have you wanting more.
I’ve enjoyed this whole series and while it does have some echoes of Stracsynski’s Rising Stars (Image Comics), it’s very much its own series and an all-new superhero universe that reflects and resonates with today’s geo-political world.
The Resistance #6 is out now from AWA Upshots.
You can read all our previous coverage, and review, of The Resistance here.