One of the main feelings I got from reading INSURGENT
#1 was an overwhelming sense of paranoia. Writer F.J. DeSanto’s story in this issue revolves around what was a secret government program to combat any domestic threats that pop up, from terrorism on down. The idea, a very sound one at that, being that the events of September 11th and the prevalence of that kind of terrorism shifted the very landscape of warfare. Where we normally fought states in bygone conflicts like World War II, Korea, and even the first Gulf War, we now fight individuals or radicals that don’t necessarily have their allegiances tied to one nation or region.
This is largely a theme that is tapped into the nature of warfare as we now know it in the 21st century. As a result, INSURGENT #1 is a surprisingly reflexive comic that, if not for the cybernetic implants found in certain super-soldiers, resembles our world a little too closely than what is comfortable. I find this effect to be largely positive, considering that it’s connected to what the new realities we face in warfare are and it puts a bit of a science-fiction skew to them.
The only time things felt a little off for me in reading the book was when a few conveniences occurred, particularly as it relates to the family of the president. When a secret is revealed about one of the soldiers deeply embedded in society, it doesn’t quite have the shock value that it probably should, but these are relatively minor concerns. Since this is the first issue, there’s always a greater risk of over-exposition, especially when you’re introducing an entire world to your audience for the first time. I accept that and easily roll with it.
The artwork is very clear with facial expressions being one of the most striking things about the interiors. Federico Dallocchio’s renderings of human beings and cybernetic implants are a testament to why the two should probably never be mixed, since there’s a distinctively creepy vibe that comes from seeing soldiers with their humanity torn away. If I have any critique on the artwork it’s that I’d like to see some stronger lines, since some of the line work makes it difficult to see mouths or separations of depth. Some adept shading helps this, but a little more line emphasis would help a great deal. Overall, though, the artwork is very good, and fits in with the tone of the book.
INSURGENT #1 looks to be setting up five more issues of government intrigue on a larger, more fantastical scale. For a creator-owned book from DC it looks to be off to a good start, but we’ll definitely have to see if the next several issues can increase the already solid momentum of this first one, and show us exactly how deep the Insurgent Project goes, and exactly why we should be afraid of it. - Chris Clow