Days of Hate #1
Writers: Aleš Kot
Artist: Danijel Žeželj
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Cover Artists: Danijel Zezelj & Tom Muller
Publisher: Image Comics
Review by Nico Sprezzatura
In a world where Neo-Nazis are rebranding themselves as the “alt-right” and bigotry has become acceptable again, it’s unsurprising that a generation of creators would choose to reflect on such issues. This week’s Days of Hate #1 is a pretty good encapsulation of this phenomena, and it’ll either attract or alienate readers. From where I’m sitting, it falls more into the former category.
Days of Hate is precisely the kind of transgressive fiction I’ve come to expect from writer Aleš Kot, previously of Marvel’s Secret Avengers, DC’s Suicide Squad, and a slew of other creator-owned titles published by Image. Kot’s work is defined by his cynical, weary worldview, and it’s definitely not for everyone. As seen in this first issue, everybody’s miserable and hates one another, society’s gone to shit, and there’s an inescapable sense of dread permeating through each page. In short, Days of Hate is 2018 in comic book form.
It’s hard to tell where the story will proceed from here, but Kot establishes a revenge plot (of sorts) with a queer woman of color at its core, and that’s more than enough to pique my interest. The world Kot’s building here is also quite interesting — set in the near future, it’s an uncanny depiction of present-day, for better or worse.
Like I said, it’s not for everyone. I don’t begrudge people for preferring more escapist fare with the current state of our world —coming from someone also reviewing an issue of Avengers this week— but for those willing to wade through the muck of humanity, Days of Hate will probably satisfy that nihilist itch within us.
That’s not to say it’s a miserable read, which it’s absolutely not. As always, Kot’s knack for black humor shines through his otherwise bleak proceedings, from a lecherous suitor getting blown off —figuratively and then somewhat literally— in a filthy dive bar bathroom, to “ironic” racism from a gleeful edgelord wearing a Hitler Youth-tastic undercut, Days of Hate avoids being so rancid that it’s just repulsive. It gives you just a light taste of piss, not a generous, leaking mouthful of it.
Danijel Žeželj’s grimy art —complemented by Jordie Bellaire’s beautifully dingy coloring— is perfect for Kot’s story. The synergy between Kot and Žeželj actually reminds me a bit of the creative pairing between Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos on Alias and Jessica Jones. Žeželj’s style is very much in the vein of Gaydos’ own aesthetic, and they both give their respective writers the grit their stories require. This visual aspect even carries over to Aditya Bidikar’s lettering, which has a tiny, squished quality that somehow works perfectly in tandem with Žeželj’s art.
Buy it. It’s not for everyone, but Days of Hate #1 provides a cathartic perspective on our world’s scary, divisive times.