Days of Hate #3 / Writer: Ales Kot / Artist: Danijel Zezelj / Letterer : Aditya Bidika / Colorist: Jordie Bellaire / Designer: Tom Muller / Publisher: Image Comics / March 28, 2018
The slow burn continues in Days of Hate #3. Kot spent the last two issues focused on world building, showing us a possible near future of the world we live in. This issue, however, brings things back down and explores the central cast members who were once together, and are now torn apart.
Amanda is still on road with her companion, whose dialogue begins the issue. He discusses his family, how despite loving when they were all together it left him feeling there simply wasn’t enough time. There was not enough time for work, or to eat in peace; and how it is only after they are gone you realize how much time there really was.
For Amanda, though, time is a different beast entirely. She recounts a story from when she and Xing were still together. She tells her companion about bringing Xing tea, and Xing being so engrossed in her work that when Amanda returned to her the following morning the tea was untouched. For Amanda, this is a treasured memory. The feelings she recalls are of not being alone anymore in a world that was constantly telling her not to lose herself in work. Now she is alone again. Time destroys everything.
This is turned on its head when Kot takes us to Freeman’s interrogation of Xing. She speaks of Amanda as being a victim, if only in her own mind. She refers to her as an abuser and reveals her jarringly different memory of the story that Amanda tells, wherein Amanda is enraged she hasn’t touched the tea and breaks the cup on the wall.
The character work here is heavy but balanced well. Kot weaves this story with two threads, Amanda’s point of view and Xing’s, with neither side feeling uneven. That’s what makes this issue work as well as it does. Kot has said in interviews that this book is about the characters, but for me this is the first issue where he really nails that aspect.
Freeman is also fleshed out well, a right bastard who is good at his job. He’s willing to use any means necessary to meet his ends, including threatening Xing’s family. He’s also the voice through which Kot gives his bleakest commentary on the state of our world. There’s a real pessimism that comes across in this writing that hits me on a deeper level. Freeman represents people I vehemently oppose ideologically, yet at times have to concede points to; and it sickens me.
After an ominous encounter with some strangers Amanda and her companion continue their journey to their next target, while Freeman is pointed by Xing in the wrong direction. What will happen in Kansas? I suppose we’ll have to wait another month to find out, but Kot has me on the edge of my seat with anticipation.
I should talk more about the art for this issue; but I honestly have little to say about it. This is not a strike against it in any way, but rather an effect of how well it does the job. Zezelj’s work draws you in to a point where you no longer focus on it, but rather are absorbed into it. It’s the perfect companion to the writing and everything that a comic should be in that aspect.
There’s something very special about this book, something that leaves me feeling unsettled. Perhaps it’s how close to home it hits, how possible it is that this world will become our reality. As I said in a previous review, this book is a slow burn; but it has me sitting here like a dog with a cup of coffee eagerly awaiting to be consumed by the flames.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5. There’s no joke in this verdict, it’s just the best issue of the series so far.
Dexter Buschetelli thinks he is really clever, but you know better; don’t you? Do you? I dunno, I’m not your mom. Dexter can be found here on DYECB writing reviews and opinion pieces as well as on the website for his podcast, Let’s Get Drunk and Talk Comics.