By Ben Snyder
Media depends on and reflects or draws inspiration from whatever goes in the outside world around it. What is currently happening in America right now only adds to the power and sheer brilliance that is Days of Hate. Days ago news reports came that ICE and border control were separating children from their parents at the Mexican border and placing these children in crates. Some outlets compared them to internment camps. I only mention this because these real-world struggles are literally only small steps away from the hellhole that Aleš Kot, Danijel Žeželj, and Jordie Bellaire depict in their harrowing, bone-chilling saga that is Days of Hate. Days of Hate #6 ends the first half of the tale with a bang, placing all of our “heroes” in dire and dangerous territory.
Most importantly, it has finally been confirmed that Huan and Amanda are in fact working together. After the explosions of last chapter, it is a relief because it’s still very much apparent how much these characters care and love each other. Watching their true history play out through flashbacks of this chapter worked beautifully, and Kot’s pacing of the unraveling is expertly done. The placements of them really hurt, especially in relations to Huan and Amanda’s unborn baby. It is clear that these characters are damaged and clinging to any hope that lingers.
Freeman is also central to this chapter as he reels from his failure in Kansas City. Kot does a tremendous job still humanizing this monster. Here he is reeling a list of menial tasks for his assistant to schedule for him and the first one is to buy a gift for his son’s birthday. Granted, he does wind up sleeping with Huan by the end of this chapter, but it’s refreshing to learn he does in fact have a heart and is not in his hotel twirling his mustache. Speaking of which, Amanda and Huan’s plan is still unclear so was it actually part of it for Huan to sleep with Freeman?
Danijel Žeželj’s art in this chapter is simply Eisner-worthy. He’s been consistently stellar this entire series but in #6 he hits it out the park. His panel layouts are amazing, especially when he goes in the classic 3 by 3 grid, and his scenes depicting Amanda and Huan are breathtaking. Although Kot’s poetry-like prose is amazing in it’s own right, Žeželj’s art is breathtaking beyond that. His images in these grid scenes don’t need words, they’re stories unto themselves. Of course Jordie Bellaire’s colors play with this tremendously, imbuing the flashbacks with a hazy sepia, purple tinge that is warm and inviting and but also rusty and spoiled.
Days of Hate #6 is brilliant. It’s tragic and beautiful and politically discomforting considering the state of America right now. But that’s also what the series has been from it’s inception with each chapter raising the stakes. Kot’s dialogue is haunting because it’s so real and Žeželj’s apocalyptic imagery is equally unsettling. Please pick up this book.
Reviewer’s note: I can’t not mention how this chapter only gains potency with the recent news that our government is putting children in cages. Let me repeat that: Our government is putting children in cages. And many of us are saying exactly what Huan and Amanda said before; “We talked about leaving the country before it gets too bad”. It got bad. It is bad.
Days of Hate #6