By Ben Snyder
Days of Hate is not a pretty comic. It is ugly, and it is grimy. It is vicious, and it is pessimistic. But hot damn is it not accurate and forewarning. Writer Ales Kot and Artist Danijel Žeželj team up again for their post-political dystopian series and deliver an exceptionally strong outing with chapter #3. This is a very quiet character-driven story that works on multiple aspects, and while it can be a bit preachy at times, it is still smart and heavy hitting.
Days of Hate #3 picks up with Amanda and her partner on the road towards Texas. Amanda’s partner begins reminiscing of his former home life, which reminds her of her days with Huan. The story Amanda tells at first is a loving recollection of her former partner and her individual quirks. It is cute, and it solidifies the belief that Huan is in the wrong by working against her.
Then we get Huan’s interpretation of the same story that Amanda told and holy hell are they different. This is the first time that we have even glimpsed that Amanda might not be all she’s cracked up to be. Before, it seemed as though Huan was simply being spiteful to her but now the cracks are beginning to show. But this twist isn’t done simply for the sake of it. It actually works in the story and does an amazing job of exemplifying how we shape our memories. Granted now we feel we can’t take Huan’s interpretation on face value. All of this back and forth highlights the distrust and uncertainty and paranoia in this comic while also showing how no one is the “good guy”.
Danijel Žeželj’s art also emphasizes the feeling of paranoia that pervades throughout the series. There isn’t much in this issue, but what is there goes miles. A lot of it focuses on faces and to good effect. Źeželj’s line work is muddied and unclear to the point where you can’t decipher if someone is grinning or angry or just not feeling at all.
One particular scene that stands out is when a family on a trip encounter Amanda and her partner while they take a break. Žeželj is constantly obstructing the father’s face with his panel layout and his wife is consistently semi-cloaked in shadow. It feels like a stand off between the two parties. The scene is question is suspenseful and is a true standout. Ending it with a large panel depicting the family immersed in shadows is nightmarish. This effect accentuates the “Us Vs. Them” mentality that jumps off throughout this issue further alienating the family as “The other”. And it draws into question of how the family saw Amanda and her accomplice. A skiing family is wandering through the wilderness only to encounter a fairly ominous looking woman and man. It’s a hard but fair question to ask, especially as we now after Huan’s story.
Days of Hate #3 might be the best chapter of the series yet. It encapsulates everything that has made the series work so far, while also emphasizing the overwhelming paranoia and distrust in truly unique and brilliant ways. Although Days of Hate #3 is a fairly quiet issue, Ales Kot and Danijel Žeželj are able to speak volumes.
Days of Hate #3