THIS REVIEW OF ‘DAYS OF HATE’ #7 CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS.
By Mickey Rivera. A loose barb-wire knot ties the three main characters of Days of Hate together. Activists Amanda and Huian, two women who were married before a right-wing coup and a personal tragedy tore them apart. Amanda joined the armed resistance. Huian went her own way, but is now playing a strange and dangerous game with Thompson, a slick government man who is hunting Amanda down after a terrorist attack kills a group of his men. It’s a partially blind love triangle balanced by the tip on a world where the worst aspects of right-wing ideology have taken complete control.
Despite being set in a world that’s ripe to say a million things about life in the 2010s, Days of Hate’s strongest angle is that it doesn’t go big. Each conversation feels carefully calibrated. The book strikes a taut balance between aesthetic desolation and conversational intimacy—not just the romantic sort, but the kind of intimacy between a tiger and their prey. This issue is especially fraught with dialogue which is frequently double-edged, filled with unspoken meanings which nearly always serve to protect the speaker.
It’s interesting that such a politically-minded book, by such a politically-minded author, is playing out as a tense interpersonal drama. The shadow of the story’s totalitarian setting never falls out of view; in fact it seems to be palpable in the words and actions of the characters. As a result, readers have to think about the relationship between a government and its subjects as a grotesque kind of intimacy in itself.
To that end, Days of Hate has been using expressive writing and artwork, as well as a very tight focus on these interpersonal moments, to let readers feel for themselves what it means when love must survive oppression. On the visual side of things, Danijel Žeželj could not have been a better choice for the project. He can push emotion out through heavy ink portraits, but it’s his desolate and dilapidated still lifes and architectures that give the words space to resonate. Jordie Bellaire swaps color pallets scene by scene, often choosing a narrow range of pale shades with which to soak the panels. Beneath Žeželj’s ragged brushes it’s a steady luminous hum, broken only by a scene which introduces us to Thompson’s family, his clueless little kid wearing a bright green dinosaur hoodie on a rainbow carpet. This brightly colored scene is used to underscore Thompson’s true scumbag nature, as he glares down at his child and wonders if his secrets are safe with them.
The news cycle is maddeningly disconnected from actual lived experience. It’s dependent on power plays and grand scandals and big reveals. It concerns individuals who seem never to have spent a single day leading an ordinary life. More than anything, the news never stops making noise. But for the vast majority of the populace life doesn’t play out in tantalizing headlines. It’s moment-by-moment, and each second of atrocity somewhere is accompanied by joy or boredom or silence somewhere else. Days of Hate considers these moments within a context where the atrocity is ever-present, unavoidable. It spreads these moments out and ties them together.
Written by Aleš Kot.
Art by Danijel Žeželj.
Colored by Jordie Bellaire.
Lettered by Aditya Bidikar.
Design by Tom Muller.
8.5 out of 10