THE ACTIVITY #6
What did the
Art by Marc Laming
Cover by Mitch Gerads
Size: 0 pages
As someone who served in the Army and studies international relations for a living, I LOVE this book. The characters feel real, the stories are well plotted, and the action is amazing without resorting to caricature.
This particular issue explores the newest team member’s back story, Fiddler. She’s a Civil Affairs soldier on assignment in the Democratic Republic of Congo working with locals to gain support against local warlords. Right off the bat this book feels like its taking place in Africa. Batwing did an okay job with this locale but Edmundson really nails the feel of Africa. The art and layouts scream foreign, the locals are not just dark Americans but real actors with motivations and characteristics that make them distinct. Too often comics set overseas depict foreign individuals as “Americans with accents”, but the Activity has been assiduous in its portrayal of foreigners as foreign. This isn’t to say that humanity doesn’t have some universal attributes but anyone that studies international relations knows that every society sees the world differently. While its a very different genre, a title like Green Lantern regularly shows a universe of societies but they’re all pretty much the same. Aliens are just different colored people with different appendages.
This issue also portrays soldiers in a proper light. Too often soldiers are either portrayed as valiant exemplars beyond reproach or as sociopathic killers. The truth, like most things, is that neither is true. Soldiers are people and products of their societies. The Activity shows the sergeant in charge as capable but not a superhero. Even Fiddler is very capable, both intelligent and brave during the requisite firefights but she doesn’t do anything beyond the realm of possibility. For some that read this that may make this issue seem boring but there wasn’t a more tense scene in the comics I read this week than when Fiddler has talking to a villager quietly while inspecting a cow. If that’s not a ringing endorsement of a book, I don’t know what is.
Art: 5 - Excellent