Hey guys! Welcome to my series called “Before the Trade” where we break down whether a comic is worth it right before a week or so of its trade release. This means there will be no spoilers. A lot of comics are structured to tell a continuous story arc rather than self-contained issues so trades are the best way to read a story. Today we are starting off with an interesting one called Days of Hate. We should first get more familiar with the creators behind as they themselves can be as interesting as their work and will give us insight on what to expect going in.
[ Writer – ALES KOT ]
“Ales Kot is a writer, director, and producer with a primary focus on film, comics, television and video games. He’s responsible for Image titles such as ZERO, WOLF, MATERIAL, CHANGE, THE SURFACE and WILD CHILDREN, comics which have received many accolades from media such as Wired, The Guardian, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, and many others. He lives, unsurprisingly, mostly in Los Angeles.”
- Bucky Barnes: Winter Solider
- Iron Patriot
- Secret Avengers
- Suicide Squad (2013) #20-22
- Wild Children
> Personal Opinion <
I’ve read some of this man’s work before, but the name never stuck around, maybe for a good reason, maybe not. I’ve read an issue of Winter Soldier and was not impressed by it. Iron Patriot seemed like a bland comic while I remember reading some Secret Avengers which was truly forgettable. I haven’t read any of his indie stuff. While doing some research I found out a lot of it is politically charged. As any reader of mine will know, I do not like politics when they’re jarringly hyperbolized. In fact, my first impressions of this guy are that he thinks of himself as one of those “morally better than everyone else” guys. In one of his quotes he said,
“My honesty gets me in trouble, but my take is that if they can’t handle me at my most real, they don’t deserve to have me anyway. Which maybe sounds privileged, but it’s not – I turned down plenty of gigs when I had nothing in my bank account and was very sick, without a home, staying at my friend’s studio, not knowing what to do, or where I would be in a month, or if I would even be alive. Turning down work that does not feel right continues to be crucial for my attainment of the kind of career and life that I want.”
As you can see he is very humble. I mean so am I. Just yesterday I took up two seats on the bus so the one wouldn’t feel useless and unwanted. This moral intellectual continues on his path of showing the world the right way. He refuses to write main characters of color. Because it would be sinful if a white guy writes about a black guy.
“I did it once, and now I’m doing it with some of my own comics, but when it comes to big companies, I thank them, tell them no, and politely recommend creators of color who I believe can do a great job. I would like to see more professionals in all fields that can get into a similar situation do the same, but it always starts with leading by example.”
Isn’t he inspiring? Wait…..wasn’t Iron Patriot black at that time? *breaks down* I’m not sure I can support him anymore. TRAITOR!
Ehem. Now something about the artist.
[ Artist – DANIJEL ZEZELJ ]
“Danijel Zezelj’s comics and illustrations have appeared in magazines and anthologies in Croatia, Slovenia, England, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, South Africa and the USA. Danijel’s work has been published by DC Comics/Vertigo, Image, Marvel Comics, The New York Times Book Review, Harper’s Magazine, San Francisco Guardian & Washington Chronicle.”
- Superman: Metropolis
- Chaperon Rouge
> Personal Opinion <
This man does not possess a Twitter so here’s his website.
I haven’t run into this guy. At least not in any way that I would remember him. There isn’t much on him on social media.
[ GOING IN ]
Expectations: Very Low
I’m excited about the art, however, the writing is what everything will depend on. I wasn’t fond of Kot’s work at Marvel. It didn’t sit well with me, but maybe he articulates better when given a chance to do integrate politics? Who am I kidding, I’m expecting a lot of political talking down, overblown extremism of Trump’s America. I ran into a comment saying this will be about the current political upstir in USofA and how Trump is Hitler. For that, I created a checklist for what things we’ll run into.
Alright! We have reached a no-way-back point. Everything above was written before reading the comic. Let’s keep up with my experience while reading each issue.
- Issue 1: -<sigh>-hmmm…interesting-
- Issue 2: -mostly talking, at least it serves a purpose-
- Issue 3: -oooh-seriously?-*optimistically rubs hands*-
- Issue 4: -definitely a slower issue-hmmm-
- Issue 5: -aww c’mon-
- Issue 6: -wow-seriously?-
Now for my afterthoughts.
[ REVIEW ]
> You Wow Dumb! < (1 of 4)
How do I describe this? I actually liked it…..until I didn’t. So where do I begin? For one, I did not like the idea of this book at all. The abundant allegories to the 2016 election were hitting you over the head. Kot did the dumbest thing anyone could do to the opponent: oversimplify and dumb down their arguments. One or two jokes are fine, but the entire first issue was just meant to take shots at the right. It screamed of butthurt to put it in the slightest. There is an actual scene in the comic where a kid is seen touting two firearm weapons with a smile as if it were a toy!!! In front of adults.
At the start of each chapter, there are real-life quotes from famous people. The one that stood out to me the most was the Kathryn Bigelow one because it ironically refers to the author as well. You yourself are contributing to forms of offense that doesn’t differ from your “opponents”. So basically the story has flaws and it conveys them through a weak conception of reality. But I liked it. What can I say? I need to remain real. As a comic, it worked pretty well.
> Advice < (2 of 4)
Looking at it purely from an artistic perspective, this was a step up for Kot. If you were to overlook the painful political opinion, you read on about engaging characters. Weirdly enough they all happen to belong to a group of a minority but they’re not token. It’s clear the writer was only able to reach this level by caring about the subject matter. Which brings me to my advice for his future.
Continue to write your stories. Finish them. Then change out the misplaced politics out for something more creatively interesting. You can tackle the same things but at least do it more subtly. Chances of that are slim since you’d want the credit for being socially relevant. The worst parts of the comic unravel when you try to relate to the real world. The best is when you focus in on the narrative.
> Proved Wrong? < (3 of 4)
One of the issues consists of mostly dialogue. You’ll occasionally find yourself reading through long texts nonetheless, the execution of that makes you forget about it (when not breaking your immersion with politics of course). I honestly believe the text bubbles contain only the important details while the staging of the art and its choice of camera shots work on a significant level.
Despite your expected white guy villain, he works because of his devilish nature and influence. Seeing his more personal life let you a side to him that only makes him scarier. I was hoping they’d keep his way as it is, but they obviously had to mettle with what works and instead went on to add a new layer to show how more evil he is just because. And sadly this can be then applied to the remaining of the Act One distorting the artistic value.
> The Downfall < (4 of 4)
When you can get on board a guy who is sure he’ll dislike, you already did something right. But then you had to go out of your way and done pooped it all. We fall into an excessive amount of clichés. You get glimpses of it when the main character has a speech about trusting language. Seriously? “Do you trust language?”. It’s ostentatious and lazily tries to get through an equally painful conversation. It was brief so I expected it wouldn’t continue.
Then it falls through in what seems as a new stereotype. It seems every story today is trying to subvert your expectations. “You think a certain thing is going to happen? Hah! Gotcha!” This got old quick and there is no shortage of it here. The arc keeps telling you things are gonna go one way and then it does the opposite. It’s disappointing as things were heading into an interesting place and now the confrontation I was waiting for is no longer there. And for some reason, the monologue text boxes were implemented into an issue changing up the stylistic storytelling choice that already worked.
The monologue text boxes meant to represent what a character is thinking/reflecting is seen in most of superhero comics. It’s gotten to a lazy point. It’s just meant to fill the page to keep the reading time longer for the sake of it. This comic does the same, only it doesn’t try to cover it up. There is an entire page with nothing but colors in places of panels under the monologue text boxes. Seriously?
This reeks of laziness and giving up. The penciler contributed a lot to the flow of the narrative, but I realized there’s an abundant amount of tracing. The real artist integrity should go to our colorist Jordie Bellaire(she worked on Vision!). I didn’t recognize it was her work at all. It just shows how she can adapt to the needs of the overall vision. Give have an Eisner already.
It really seemed like Ales Kot was onto something here. He managed to get my attention to then fluster it. I would recommend this book up to the halfway point, but since you’re buying the whole thing I’d only consider it if you’re somebody who had strongly something to say against the 2016 American presidential election. At least it was a step in the right direction.
FINAL GRADE: 6.5/10
So that’s it! Dear readers! I hope you enjoyed this installment. It was a hair from getting recommended. As you can see the score isn’t completely bad. One of the issues truly messed with the style, while the some bring down the narrative and even the characters. Let’s check back on the Libby Board.
Not as bad as I thought. 32% isn’t too high a score. Anyway, tell me if you’ll be picking this one up any time soon. Are you looking forward to it?
Days of Hate: Act One comes out this upcoming Wednesday, July 18th.