COMIC REVIEW: Days Of Hate #1

Days Of Hate

You won’t find many comics that more outrageously defy the term than Days Of Hate. We’re as far from the funny pages as the medium will allow for. This isn’t a book for those who like their juxtaposed sequences of panels amusing, or whimsical, or really any fun at all.

That’s not a criticism by any means (though for sure it’s a warning). Days Of Hate knows what it wants to do, and it goes all in. This is an utterly merciless glance at the state of contemporary America, given an atom-thin veil by setting the tale in 2022. It’s a grim vision – made grimmer by the rough, angular pencils of Danijel Žeželj – of a country in which queer nightclubs are targeted for murder sprees and the racist calls are coming from inside the government building, but all anyone else can seem to do about it is argue over what constitutes real news. The furious anger drips off every page as ordinary people are forced to take exceptional stands against what their country has been allowed to become. The far-right and the far-left are at war, and everyone else is caught in the middle.

Which is not to say Kot has offered up a standard tale about how both sides are to blame. This issue is cleverer than that. It is utterly clear-eyed about who the villains are. At one point an “alt-right” man finds his date attempting to sneak away, and objects that she could have been honest with him, because he’s not a jerk. She responds by pointing out he is literally a Nazi (this is the closest the book comes to a joke). The enemy our protagonists are fighting are real, and they’re horrifying.

While the far-right in Days Of Hate murder those they hate, at least one on the far-left here has hurt those they love. The two sides are neither tactically nor morally equivalent, obviously. Still, we’re reminded that when the left doesn’t keep a tight rein on its anger, it can easily damage those who just wanted to be left alone, or even wanted to help. That’s bad enough in itself, obviously. Beyond the direct consequences, though, there’s the problem that when you make enemies of friends, some of them might make friends of your enemies.

The result of all this is a story which recognises both the obviousness of the problem and the muddiness of any actual solution. The wrongs done here are impossible to miss, but the correct responses are as murky and shadowed as the artwork itself. All of which feels totally, horribly right. As first issues go, this is heartbreaking, and enraging, and close to perfect. I can see pitfalls ahead the book might stumble into, but let’s (rather perversely) hope for the best. If this creative team can pay off what they’ve promised here, Days Of Hate might be remembered as one of the greatest comic books of 2018. Thoroughly recommended for anyone not looking for a pick-me-up.

Title: Days Of Hate

Publisher: Image Comics

Rating: 4.5/5

Reviewer: Ric Crossman

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