At some point in our lives we realise the amount of chipping away at liberties and personal freedom in exchange for a ticket to the security theatre has gone too far. By then it's too late and a few bodies have dropped. Your name might be in red if you know too much.
And there goes the wiretapping, the snooping on your private life, the loss of individual agency. What matters the means to an end when the sign out front says things are all taken care of? The Homeland Directive, by Robert Vendetti and Mike Huddleston, takes that note and plays the fear, keeping the question of how much is too much to give away.
Playing right into any current timeline, a disease starts tracking and knocking people off. It's a trickle, then a wave. The patter builds and each page turns faster and faster both to chase the truth and to make the getaway.
There are plenty of talking heads about, but the underlying rhythm keeps things brisk. They're standing still sitting in a hideaway room yet the tension keeps rising as their stationary position puts them one more panel into danger. The sense of urgency mixes well with the state of paranoia and untrusting.
Pacing tears away at a fine clip, keeping you both ready and uncertain for what's to come. There around the corner you see the dust as the team make for their lives. A nice contrast to the panels where things take a beat, to slow down and ponder, go about the day. Manic tire squeals and blasts of gunfire cutting into the thickness of normal day life. Here then we feel that momentum and it breathes in Vendetti's dialogue and Huddleston's art direction.
The artwork does a little dance when it switches narratives. Starting off in the soft glow of the plush confines of the Oval Office we then cut into frenetic splashes of colour outside the lines. Then again to a scene over grid paper (because they're geeks at the keyboard, you see). This atmospheric change casts a noticeable shift between the worlds working against each other and once again the colouring adds another cue. It's polished when scenes play out in the Oval Office, and scattered in blotches when running for their lives.
It's a visual shorthand that turns vocal when you see one character walk through the plate and get their hands dirty. Dirtier.
In the end, who would you rather trust to handle your fear? Unknown and distant terrorists out to drop a building on you? Or faux-elected government officials, out to hamper any kind of free-flowing way of life, locked down by taking off your shoes and turning over your nail clippers in case one of you filthy animals downloading a car is a sleeper agent ready to ignite that bulky vest.
Either one is out to get you. Just a matter of time and political spin on who gets the points.
The Homeland Directive challenges the language and tenor of terrorism and leaves you hanging on, intrigued by the lies we tell ourselves in order to feel a scant sense of security before we head off to bed each night.
Reviewed on Sunday, 21 December 2014