The Movement's second Issue takes off like a rocket, its story throwing out mysteries, clues and questions with joy.
The Movement in its first issue sort of followed the police, specifically a pair of horribly abusive cops, in a town terrified by a serial killer. We get our first notice of The Movement protagonists there as they get to know the bad cops. We then follow police again, this time officers and detectives, that are hunting for the serial killer. The police swing into action when they believe they have the killer cornered. We meet The Movement again.
It kicks off when the police enter a church where they believe a serial killer is about to strike. What they find are the members of this new team up to something, what that is we are not sure. When the police attempt to assert themselves and arrest their suspect, the team members engage the police and we get a quick tour of what The Movement can bring to a fight.
So as we enter the first issue, we have a few basics. We know that Coral City is a pit. It is policed by corrupt abusive cops, at least in part, and that one city section of downtrodden slum dwellers have been adopted by a super hero army that wants the government out so they can be left alone in peace.
So now that we are past the typical intro first issue, we get to know the team members much more. We no longer have to follow the police to the team but get to hang out with them and see what is up. But this is an interesting question in the story; what is it that The Movement wants? We are not sure, not because Simone is vague and inarticulate, but Simone gets her trademark team interactions going and those interactions are between strong people who are suspicious of each other and who want to bring change but don’t agree on how. Specifically, two leaders don’t get along with how this is done and one of those two is paranoid of a mole. The other is more positive and believing in the strength and power of a group working together.
The Movement Leaders that are at odds are Virtue and Katharsis. Virtue, as her name implies, wants to bring change by helping others and using her strength to keep her people safe and protected, away from the corrupt city. Katharssis has more of a direct approach. We see her want to wade into battle and take control, asserting herself. They are vaguely reminiscent of Snowball and Napoleon from Animal Farm. So the next questions is, do they even agree on what change is needed?
While the police are on the tail of the Movement, the Movement wishes to find the serial killer…we think. Simone loves to carefully plot out her moves, and here she does it again. What is Virtue doing with Katharsis when their big argument comes to a head? I have to believe Virtue is on to something. But after the blow up, Katharsis goes her way to take the direct route, and Virtue takes the team to try to learn about the killer and a suspect. This gives us a parallel set of impacts as both Katharsis and Virtue go into battle and we get two nice action sequences showing the reader what The Movement can dish out.
But we also get a big reveal. Of course, just what the reveal means is itself is not clear. What is Katharsis up to? If she is telling the truth, why is she doing what she is doing? Then there is Virtue. What has Gail told us there? So the second issue ends with a bang and with a satisfying feeling of knowing more but knowing that even more interesting possibilities opened up. Not being satisfied with all that, Gail has thrown in a new character. Musing on the possibilities here is as fun as the book…almost.
The characters themselves are still a bit of a mystery. The Movement team has some strange powers, from ordering Rats like Willard, Katharsis’s strength, Tremor’s ability to send shock waves into matter that are devastating, and the new kid who, for reasons that are not clear, either coexists with a demon or thinks he does. Altogether this is an odd group. Oh, of course one of Virtue’s abilities is to “ride emotions and read them.” Hmm. You know that is going to come up again shortly. But in their actions and dialogues, Simone is showing you their conflicts in real time. And the conflicts, as stated above, are getting spread out before us at a pretty good clip. In two issues, Simone decided to start the book like it was a dragster.
The first book was interesting, full of Simone touches and setting up a set of conflicts that are mysterious on several levels. In the second book, Simone hits a home run. If you are a fan of her tricky plotting, fleshed out characters that demand to be heard and understood, her mastery of the team dynamics, and her nuanced approach to the superhero world, then you are in for a ride.