By Ben Snyder
Although a mostly quiet chapter, Days of Hate #5 is a stellar addition to an amazing comic. It’s a quiet chapter simply because there are so few actual words spoken, but boy does it end with a literal bang. It all centers on Huang’s decision to reveal Amanda’s location to Freeman. And having it all focus on each of their actions spoke larger volumes about their character than any amount of dialogue could have. Aleš Kot and Danijel Žeželj continue to produce Eisner-worthy content at a steady rate with Days of Hate. Couple that with Jordie Bellaire’s harrowing colors and you have what is shaping to be a classic.
Huan is growing more and more complex by the chapter and Freeman is a walking sociopath (but he could also be a man doing what he needs to get by). Amanda seems to be the odd one out, but I am fine with this being Huan and Freeman’s story so far. Their dynamic and how they play off each other works beautifully as illustrated last issue. Huan seemingly instantly regrets her decision as she copes with ratting out her former lover. The progression of scenes resembles the stages of denial in a separated way. I guess her version of acceptance is reminding her estranged mother of a trip to a bookstore in which Huang asserted that she has a purpose in this world. I wonder if the following scene in which she is praying that Amanda is all right is her form of regret and acknowledgment that she is done helping Freeman.
As layered as Huang is, Freeman is her ultimate foil. I am torn; part of me feels that Kot is using him to depict the banality of evil (we know he has a family and that he feels remorse for his actions), but part of me also feels that Freeman is a walking sociopath. I felt as if he did get some sick enjoyment out of that interrogation scene in an earlier issue. Ultimately I feel as though this will be left up to the individual reader, but I love the ambiguity that Kot and Žeželj use for him. Amanda may be what brought these characters together, but this story is entirely Freeman and Huan’s.
Žeželj’s art is very sparing in this issue, but it is still very effective. He uses shadows expertly, always trying to hide characters faces, once again emphasizing the duplicitousness of each character involved. The panel layouts work extremely well in this chapter as well. Each sequence takes place in threes as Amanda’s actions are synced up with Freeman and Huan’s actions. Bellaire’s colors are exquisite in this sense as each character’s scenes are in a different color, which perfectly coalesces with each characters actions and core values.
Days of Hate is beyond the point of convincing new readers. It is firmly entrenched in the story it is set on telling, and it is a fantastic one at that. All of the characters are jaded and complex in ways that are few and far between in comics. Days of Hate #5 is another standout issue for a standout series. If any entry in this series is Eisner-worthy, it’s this one.
Days of Hate #5