By Rachel Helie | Associate Editor Published: 05/07/2013 1:00 pm EST
Publish date: May 1, 2013 Publisher: Image Comics
So, as I was reading this newest installment of The Activity, I was struck by several things. One: I was lost. This world that writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Mitch Gerads have created is as foreign to me as it would be in real life. It resonates in the art, in the movement of the characters. In this issue, Gerads hands over the reins to artist Marc Laming and any discrepancy in style is pretty much imperceptible. The dialogue is sparse, but then this would be expected from an embedded Delta squadron in Fallujah, circa 2004. It’s hard to get your bearings arriving en medias res, but the effect works.
Two: It is as if this is precisely what The Activity #12 wants from someone who has picked up the comic for the first time. Confusion, a little fear, a lot of smoke and fire. After I put it down, I realized what it was that made me want to go back and read the entire series. It was the same instinct I had for WWII history. These are the stories of real men.
I have spoken with Edmondson on more than one occasion and there are certain things about him that stand out. One of those things is his obsessive attention to detail. He leaves no stone unturned. I have the impression that he is a rabid researcher. If that is his own modus operandi, as his reader and in respect of his subject matter, it is fitting to take the same approach. Real conversations with real servicemen and women have given birth to what I consider Edmondson’s finest work. It is a love letter to the sacrifice that these people make in their lives, sometimes paid in blood.
This issue focused on codename SWITCHFOOT, a member of the U.S. Army’s Intelligence Support Activity (Gray Fox). His unit: Team Omaha. They have been recruited by the military for their innate abilities and they execute those abilities with lethal flawlessness. Precision. Attention to detail. The same way Edmondson writes these characters.
The series began in 2010 and since Mike Mignola is only making two Sledgehammer 44 issues, I guess I’m going to pick up Edmondson’s entire The Activity series because it officially has my attention. If you love tactical military action or espionage intrigues, get this comic. Get all of them.
I love stories,science, gadgets and gizmos. If I had early ambition, I would have aimed myself at the stars but I chose to write about them instead. I’ve been making stories since I was a kid and, more importantly, I’ve been listening to other people’s stories. Best job ever.