Saturday, July 2, 2016

Independence Weekend Revue #1: Handicape

When Was The Last Time 

You Really Looked

 At The World Around You?

Look Up And Pay Attention To

It's so easy to go along accepting what happens in your life. You do your job, you get your pay, you take your breaks when you can. It's so easy to accept what you're given.
But do you have to?
That's the question at the heart of the comic Handicape, the creation of Red Tempest Media
Bound to his wheelchair, Ethan Stone doesn’t know about a deep and ancient conspiracy with its epicenter in the very town he lives in. As he learns that he has rare powers, he’ll have to discover his potential to overcome the dark conspirators and save the world.

The Rating

Powerful messages, deftly delivered

The Raves

Handicape asks the hard questions that our culture so often ducks or papers over: What makes us valuable? 
What makes us right? 
What makes us wrong?
What if the people in power 
have betrayed the people they serve?
What will you do about it?

   In flow and emotional content, the story is a blend of House of Cards and Daredevil (er, in a good way.  Without the ridiculous ethnic stereotyping. Sorry Daredevil fans, Russians don't start singing old folk songs as they're dying and all Asians aren't inscrutable)
 The events are deftly understated and thoughtful, layered with undercurrents. On the surface, it's simply the story of disenfranchisement and disenchantment. It's classic rebels without a cause fighting 'the man', right?
Look again. Look deeper. Look at who's pulling the strings.

That's what Andrew is intent on doing. Andrew is good friends with Ethan Stone, the wheelchair bound kid he's been close to since high school. School wasn't much good for Andrew and Ethan. Andrew got expelled under mysterious circumstances and Ethan...well, Ethan got some career advice. The kind that should get a teacher fired.

Their lives and their systematic disenfranchisement by those who would use them as pawns are laid out in slow, graceful arcs of image-based poetry that, as a reading experience, is a little like the most exquisite Chinese water torture. The tension just keeps building all the time, and there's no end in sight. The difference is, you don't want this tension to end.
The art style supports the story perfectly, the colors both bleak and rich. Character design, body language and facial expressions all add depth and nuance to the storyline, underlined when, at important junctures, the scene is stripped down to a pure watercolor style sans background and you're forced to pour all your attention into the characters. In this story, it really is about them: what the world does to them and what they choose to do in response. And what's that?
They choose to fight. Not with big, showy gestures: bombs and guns. That kind of physical fight is attractive because it's fast and easy. But the characters in Handicape fight with blogs, with information, and with what they have: their hope, their minds and their determination. They are ground down by the world every day, but they won't give up. They won't surrender to disability, to authority, or to dismissal. That is true bravery.

The Razzes

I have one request for the creators: please double check before you upload, you've got a handful of typos and wrong updates that bring down an otherwise pristine work.

The Revue

Ditch the caped crusader movies. Here's a story about real heroes: the quiet people who work every day to stop injustice.

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