Days of Hate is published by Image Comics. It is written by Ales Kot with art by Danijel Zezelj.
This debut issue of Days of Hate is told through experiences and dialogue from Amanda and her ex-wife, Huian. Before the issue started, they had already divorced and while Huian may not like the government, she is not remotely the radical that Amanda has become. Amanda, who at one minute we see in a car with her partner discussing a bombing location, then the next minute walking into a neo-nazi gathering in disguise. Yes, a neo-nazi gathering that the government doesn’t mind in the least. Allow me to explain…
The year is 2022 and following a second civil war, the United States has plunged into a dystopian society, now ruled by an alt-right, fascist government. This new government has reinstated work camps as a way to “round up elements of society which are rather hard to control and riot and steal and are here illegally and do not respect the rules and laws of this country”.
It not only supports, but allows neo-nazi terrorist groups to attack anyone who is not straight, white, or Christian. Backed into a corner and left with no other choice, the oppressed population resolves to fight back with their own forms of terrorism. This is the world Amanda and Huian live in. The worst part is not only is it just four years away, it doesn’t seem as far-fetched as one would hope.
Though there are other characters introduced, it’s clear the Amanda and Huian are the core of this story. Kot only gives a select few people names. Hell, even the man Amanda is working with doesn’t have a name yet and one of the only other people named is the clear antagonist, Peter Freeman, the head investigator of the Special National Police Unit for the Matters of Domestic Terrorism. He’s the guy who finds resistance members and makes them disappear. But, come on Mr. Kot, does he have to have the same last name as me? I know Ales Kot has no idea who I am. But still. As soon as I saw his name I was like, NOOOOOOOO….
Anyway, Kot has made a fictional story that feels incredibly real. It’s that sense of reality within the story he created that just envelops you. It’s scary in a way, but it also makes it powerful. Kot also does an amazing job with character development and dialogue. Even though Amanda and Huian don’t do as much talking as everyone else, you can feel the attitude behind their words. You can hear the anger, the exhaustion, the determination behind every line. Even the way others talk to them gives you a feel for what kind of person they are.
What Kot can’t portray with words, Danijel Zezelj nails with artwork. I wasn’t sure about the heavy lines when I saw the first page, but its those deep lines that give an unmistakable expression. There was never a time where I thought to myself, “I’m not sure I know what this character is thinking” or “I’m not sure what kind of person they are”, Zezelj tells you everything you need to know with his art. You can easily tell the under-educated, misinformed neo-nazis and as soon as Peter Freeman enters the room, you know he’s a douchebag. He reminds me of Christoph Waltz’s character Hans Landa from Inglorious Bastards. On top of that, the scenery is just beautiful. Zezelji has some amazing art, but coupled with Jordie Bellaire’s colors, it’s basically perfect.
OVERALL SCORE: 10 / 10