Hope within a twisted theme

By Jorie Schwab

Jorie Schwab is a senior and the editor and founder of the online Creative Arts Magazine. This is her fourth year writing for The Talon. Jorie is also a staff writer and section editor for online news source The Prospect, and enjoys working on fiction novels and short stories in her time off from journalism. She is also a high school athlete and avid reader. Her favorite book of all time is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas.

Posted: September 26, 2012

Author Robert Venditti tells the dark story of a woman’s fight for rights in a corrupt future

Rarely do books strike so close to home that you can feel chills. But that’s exactly what The Homeland Directive did to me.

The Homeland Directive, written by Robert Venditti and illustrated by Mike Huddleston, is a graphic novel published by Top Shelf Productions only a year ago, but by the story you can tell that the author was deeply affected by events happening ten years prior to this publication date, the day that changed the world, 9/11.

The not so distant future

The setting of the story is a dystopian future-but that future isn’t hundreds of years away, instead it is tomorrow. In this fictionalized United States, it’s hard to figure out who is good and who is bad.

The thing that’s worse though, is that it’s hard to understand WHAT is good and what is bad. Venditti did an excellent job of creating a world where nothing is black and white, and everything is in shades of grey.

The “bad guys” so-to-say of the story were government agents-specifically CIA. But like I mentioned before, their actions, which included murder and substantial privacy invasions of US citizens, were some-what good intentioned.

The man in charge, the director of the CIA, was trying, using the methods he knew, to eradicate terrorism, no matter the cost.

The story unfolds

The plot of the story lies in the hero of the tale, a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) researcher, Dr. Laura Regan, she had been targeted along with her partner, Dr. Ari Musa, by the government because of their knowledge of a particular disease that was critical to the directors’ plans.

After a government killer, characterized by a red nose in the comic, kills Musa, Regan is helped to escape from the same fate by a ragtag group of rogue government agents from different sectors, one is FBI, one is Secret Service, and the third is in the fictionalized Bureau of Consumer Advocacy, whose job is to basically spy on everyone.

This unique group of men explain to Regan that she is being hunted down by her own country.

The idea is at first hard for Regan to understand then she watches the news on TV. On the news a reporter, under the government’s control, tells the world that Regan was behind the murder of her partner, Musa. Later in the book the government even goes even farther, making up crimes that Regan had “allegedly” committed and broadcasting them to the world on national television.

While this subject seems so dark and twisted, Venditti manages to leave some hope for humanity in this tale.

The President in fact, whose face is never shown, is not part of the conspiracy. In fact, when he and his right hand man hear about what the director had been up to, the President uses the same methods that he is fighting against to clean up the problem.

A style of his own

Venditti paints a world in his words, and Huddleston with his pictures, that while terrifying, should be seen by everyone. Not that the story was the best thing I’ve ever read. The ending seemed a tad bit rushed and did not flow as well as the rest of the book. However, its message is something we all need to hear.

The central idea is illustrated beautifully on the first page of the book, which is blank, except for a quote from Ben Franklin, which reads, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Throughout this graphic novel the government does things such as: manipulating the news, digging up private information about innocent citizens, and killing people in their blind search for justice and peace. Effectively trampling their citizens “essential liberty”.

Now, our government may not actually do things such as this, but the idea that they could, the idea that they could possibly ever manipulate the news enough so that an innocent doctor could be portrayed as a murderer should inflame us. It should make us wary, and it should make us conscious.

Not for children

Venditti did an amazing job presenting this in a format that is easy and fun to read for a wide span of ages. There is some violence in The Homeland Directive but not any more, maybe less, than your average PG-13 action movie.

In other words, while I probably wouldn’t let my nine year old brother read this book because he might not grasp the point, I would definitely have my 12 year old brother read it, because it teaches something that he should know. I also have already recommended this book to about 15 or so of my close in age, and somewhat older friends. My parents also loved this novel, and recommended it with heaps of praise to their friends.

This book, all 148 pages of beautiful illustrations and fast paced storytelling, illuminate his ideas clearly and with beautiful language. It gives adults the opportunity to read about an important topic in the form of a comic book with a message that spans over every generation .

That message, that our rights should be watched over, is something that everyone should know and think about.

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