The Homeland Directive

Created by: Robart Venditti, Mike Huddleston

Published by: Top Shelf

ISBN: 160309024X (Amazon)

Pages: 148

Genre: Political, Thriller

Sample Pages

The Homeland Directive

Thrillers are fluff. There’s really no way around it. Even the best are designed not to engage the philosophical beast but to entice the reptile man. Thrillers appeal to our base instincts, our demand for survival. They stoke the fires or our adrenaline and even the smartest of them fail to thrill if they get too smart. At that point, they cease to be thrillers and become some kind of careful literature that makes knowing use of the thriller’s mode. Either that or they become bad thrillers.

The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti and Mike Huddleston

Fortunately, The Homeland Directive is neither of these (neither the inept thriller nor literary fiction capitalizing on the forms and tropes of the thriller). Instead, Venditti’s and Huddleston’s brisk work is pure thriller and succeeds in purpose mostly admirably.

The Homeland Directive is one of those mid-level-or-higher government conspiracy yarns, cut from the cloth of Harrison Ford’s Clear and Present Danger and Will Smith’s Enemy of the State (at least one of these was a novel, but in both cases I have only seen their cinematic expression). The good guys find themselves somehow at odds with special, secret, and murderous services without the U.S. bureaucratic behemoth and spend the story’s bulk speeding toward two goals: 1) exposing whatever fraud or injustice they’ve run across and 2) surviving long enough to expose whatever fraud or injustice they’ve run across. Just because it’s predictible doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.

The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti and Mike Huddleston

Venditti’s script is smart in that way that television sitcoms may be smart. Its observations are never particularly astute and its dialogue is all a touch wooden, but it prides itself on its snappy banter. It’s kind of like Brian Azarello’s scripting in 100 Bullets, only so deeply toned-down that you no longer want to kick its teeth in with a boot made of schoolbuses. Venditti moves the plot along at a good clip and the reader will never feel as if he’s simply treading water and padding his page count. For what it is, it’s hard to find any fault save for maybe that one might wish it were slightly less… thriller-y?

The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti and Mike Huddleston

The Homeland Directive's most evident strength sits in Huddleston’s interesting art choices. It’s all very explosive and fits well the bombastic tale of a government gone rogue. Huddleston’s drawing and figurework would probably only be considered adequate if it weren’t for the tremendous dynamism he infuses into the work through his palette. I couldn’t always be certain why he chose one set of colours for one page and another set for another, but the colours he employs almost always excite and contribute nicely to the thrill of reading.

The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti and Mike HuddlestonIt’s really not. Stop it.

At the end of the day, The Homeland Directive probably wouldn’t be considered anything particularly spectacular outside of the genre-niche into which it carves a home, but taken on its home-turf, the book is quite good and accomplishes its purpose well.

 

Good Ok Bad features reviews of comics, graphic novels, manga, et cetera using a rare and auspicious three-star rating system. Point systems are notoriously fiddly, so here it's been pared down to three simple possibilities:

3 Stars = Good
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I am Seth T. Hahne and these are my reviews.

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