Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Activity #3 Review

The Activity is one of publisher-extraordinaire Image Comics' younger titles. Written by Nathan Edmondson and drawn by Mitch Gerads, it's focused on a small special forces unit within the Intelligence Support Activity, or I.S.A. Designated Team Omaha, they consist of individuals with backgrounds in intelligence and the military. Assisting Edmondson and Gerads are color assistants Joseph Frazzeta and Jordan Gibson with letters by Jeff Powell.

This third issue opens with the team on mission in Gardez, Afghanistan. A mission that has gone severly wrong. From there most of the issue is set on their ride home. There is some tension between two characters as Master Sargeant Luke is arguing about a call Major Zoe made in the field. This clash stems from that call which may or may not have led to the death of one of the three "delta escorts" who were with them. Cooler heads prevail as the book goes on.

The highlight of this issue next to the character conflict is Gerads' work visually. Not as a whole, but specifically dealing with the facial expressions to show the mood. This is especially noticeable with the sunken heads and closed eyes as a result of what occurred in Gardez. You can feel the vibe amongst the group about how the mission went.

As far as the art in whole, it doesn't really stand out to me. But I feel it gets the job done. Darker tones and shadows set the mood. Not a lot of variance in color, mostly black, blue, brown, and green. But that's not a negative. This type of book wouldn't benefit from numerous and bright colors.

One aspect of the series I don't like is that it's hard to keep track of everyone name-wise. Real names as well as code-names are used together, when names are used at all. This probably isn't an issue if you have had them straight in your head since the first issue. But with the death in the book, the weight isn't truly felt because there's no frame of reference for the character. It would be different if she was a member of their unit.

For this specific book, we don't know why they were in Gardez. That may have been intentional to place focus on how the characters immediately dealt with the failure. Pesonally, I would have liked some intel on the mission. There were several flashbacks throughout the book where some pieces of information on the mission could have been relayed to readers.

I like special forces type books. I've read G.I. Joe books for years as well, so if you've read those, that will give you an idea of how this book works. I recommend this series and welcome any thoughts on it after you read up or you're already reading. Thanks for stopping by.