In comics, there are certain things that you can expect with such certainty that they're almost constants. Your favorite series will eventually be rebooted. That dead character? Probably not dead forever. And Gail Simone writing a team book with characters we've never seen (or haven't seen much of) -- total sweet spot.
THE MOVEMENT just kicked off today, but the characters are already so present that it doesn't feel like a first issue. As with Simone's earlier SECRET SIX and BIRDS OF PREY, the team feels human -- even if some members have abilities that make them so much more. There's plenty to be learned about Simone's newest band of heroes (and the neighborhood they've tasked themselves with protecting), but it's clear from the start that these are people with stories and personalities and drama and voices.
Right away, we're immersed in a story that puts us unambiguously on the side of the vigilantes of Coral City. Corrupt cops who endanger the citizens they've sworn to protect make the choice to side with the disillusioned masses an easy one. But "us against them" on its own is boring, so things naturally get a bit muddied as we learn more about the team and their methods. Simone loves to challenge readers' perceptions, and we're introduced to a character called Burden who might be possessed, might just be in need of treatment, and definitely has a story to tell. The rest of our heroes aren't perfect, either; the psychic Virtue hurls some verbal barbs (and a painful revelation) at the one police officer who might truly care about his city, and Katharsis deals out a brutal beating rather than letting the justice system take care of a crooked cop. One thing is clear: this team didn't get the Justice League handbook.
Freddie Williams II brings bold character designs and a gritty style to the book. He also manages to make each character visually distinctive -- while Tremor and Virtue and Katharsis are all young women in the same age range, it's impossible to mistake one for another (not always an easy feat on a team book!).
There's some ambiguity with how the titular movement works. It's clear that there's a crowd-driven element and that not everyone in Coral City who wants to fight corruption has the superpowers that make such battles winnable, but where does that put our team of heroes? Are they seen as equals among the masses? Do they view themselves as equals? Or are they an elite of their own flavor? We're only in issue #1, so it's likely that this will be answered as the series unfolds.
Gail Simone + a ragtag team of supers + a message larger than the story on the page = power combo. The Occupy movement and the workings of Anonymous are clear inspirations for the book's context, but the stories in THE MOVEMENT are very much their own. Simone walks us through this issue while setting up all of the pieces of the next one, and it's clear that we're about to see some amazing character-driven storytelling.