Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Homeland Directive

Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Mike Huddleston

This is the second time I've been impressed by Robert Venditti.  The first was with his Surrogates graphic novel, which later became a movie that I've never bothered to watch, because as a movie, the story doesn't interest me at all.

Actually, as I was preparing to write about this book, I started to think about how it would have worked with a more conventional artist, and I think I've stumbled on the secret of what makes Venditti's books work so well.  In a lot of ways, his stories are kind of standard fare, but he's always been paired with a more experimental artist, who has helped elevate the material to a more sophisticated level (Brett Weldele drew The Surrogates).

The Homeland Directive is about a plot at Homeland Security to help increase their powers of surveillance and access to the lives of all American citizens.  Their plan is complicated, but it involves a bio-weapon, the end of paper money, and the death of a scientist at the Center for Disease Control.

The only problem is that the scientist, Dr. Laura Regan, is rescued by a trio of government agents (who only met because of the new era of post-9/11 inter-governmental cooperation) who have gone rogue, and are attempting to put a stop to the plot.  What follows is a pretty interesting twist on the standard thriller movie, as the three agents have to keep a step or two ahead of their agencies, and try to figure out just what is going on.

As I said above, what really makes this book work is the fantastic art of Mike Huddleston, who has also been wowing me on Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker.  Instead of playing this like a straight thriller, Huddleston mucks around with the art a great deal, incorporating collage and a variety of drawing and colouring styles.  Just about every page looks different from the one before, as he adjusts his style to the setting and content of each new scene.  I found this level of inventiveness really heightened my enjoyment of the story, which has some pretty interesting things to say about the level of 'protection' the American government offers its citizens.

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