As far as build ups go, The Resistance #1 by Oscar-winner, J. Michael Straczynski and Mike Deodato, certainly does a damn good job of world-building in just one issue, when a very aggressive and fatal globetrotting pandemic threatens to wipe out 95% of the world’s population. As a result there’s an awful lot of talking heads and exposition, especially in this first issue’s opening pages, but that only adds to sense of frantic panic and windswept fear as we are almost drowned out by competing voices giving their own conspiratorial theories on the rise of this deadly virus. Is it man-made? Is it an ancient virus thawed out due to the current climate crisis? Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong. And, often in this wonderful world of comics – where anything is possible – you’d correct to assume the worse.
In our own real, world where we are ourselves currently facing up to the threat of a coronavirus pandemic a series like this couldn’t be more relevant.
With the pandemic raging out of control we get a whistle stop tour of other countries and their own solutions. Often, as in the case of the Houses of Parliament – seen heavily depleted of politicians due to the pandemic’s merciless mortality rate – final solutions only agreed upon out of desperation.
All the while Deodato, with his mix of realism and photo-references, delivers a believable, chaotic world. A world on the brink and staring hopelessly into the abyss like in The Watchmen, but with even more contemporary resonance with readers as we take onboard themes that seem all too real. Global-warming, germ-warfare and the conditions in which the rise of fascism can breed as effectively as any deadly virus. Of note is the newly elected President of America, who looks suspiciously like he actor Ed Harris* and uses the current climate to set his own fascistic agenda, even when the true origin of this virus is heavily hinted at. What, did the government know all along?
As you’ll be able to tell if you pick up this gripping new 6 part series, the parallels with contemporary political fears held by many are not too far removed from what we’re seeing here. A comic series that provokes the readers thoughts is always a welcome edition to the sheets of comic book stores.
Add to this the revelation that those who survived have been mutated – with some being more lucky that others – and you soon come to the waking realisation that the virus was simply a convenient narrative device to kick-start a promising new series that looks to mix espionage and black opps with super heroism and more.
I loved what Straczynski did with his previous superhero universes, Rising Stars (Image Comics) so I look forward to seeing this new world order coming into being too. One part V for Vendetta, one part conspiracy theory blockbuster and another part good old fashion super heroics fighting for truth, justice and freedom; are you ready for The Resistance? Out March 18th from AWA Studios.
*As a side note, the POTUS is not the only character who has a real-world likeness in this comic. If they ever make a film or TV show out of this, then it’s already cast. Hey, it worked for Samuel L Jackson after The Ultimates, right?