Author: Robert Venditti
Illustrator: Mike Huddleston
Published by: Top Shelf Productions
Date Published: 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
As head of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Laura Regan is one of the world’s foremost authorities on viral and bacteriological study. Having dedicated her career to halting the spread of infectious disease, she has always considered herself one of the good guys. But when her research partner is murdered and Laura is blamed for the crime, she finds herself at the heart of a vast and deadly conspiracy. Aided by three rogue federal agents who believe the government is behind the frame-up, Laura must evade law enforcement, mercenaries, and a team of cyber-detectives who know more about her life than she does – all while trying to expose a sinister plot that will impact the lives of every American. Set in the Orwellian present, The Homeland Directive is a modern-day political/medical thriller from Robert Venditti (creator & writer of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel The Surrogates).
What I liked:
I’m not one for politics, and I can’t fully wrap my head around American politics in particular, but the political crime thriller, The Homeland Directive is stunning both in art, sequence, and story. The most alluring thing about this graphic novel is the absolutely stunning artwork and illustrations scrawled elegantly across the pages. From page one, this graphic novel had my attention wholly. What’s absolutely fantastic about this one is that each location—geography, characters, setting—is defined not only by a different style of artwork that encompasses the feel and tone and character of each location, but is further enhanced by the colours that drew out the essence of each city: charcoal for the White House, rainbows for the clubs of New York, black and white on grid paper for an office, and so on. It is so intricate and contemplated and it’s beautiful.
The story, too, is fast-paced and thrilling and sweeps you up in the action and the threat of an imminent and deadly epidemic. As the action intensifies, the illustrations become more artful, capturing fast an erratic movement, bloody conflict, and ubiquitous death. The climax of the story was exhilaratingly tense. I couldn’t put it down.
And I’ll say one last thing about the artwork, and more specifically, the cover art. The image above depicts the threatening tones of this book perfectly. The government and death are united into one seemly image, capturing the heart of the story: you cannot trust the very presence that is instilled in society to keep society safe.
What I didn’t like:
Because the story is so fast, I sometimes felt as though I’d missed an important aspect. There was one poignant moment very close to the end where the action was abruptly halted and I couldn’t figure out the reasons behind the sudden shift in tone and action.
Overall, this was such an engaging read. I bought it at TCAF (thanks to the guy who sold it to me and gave me a deal!) and am I ever glad I did. It’s an incredibly complex story that definitely requires a second read. The creators have woven a web of a story that is intertwined and well-connected from beginning to end.