“The Hated,” written by David F. Walker, is a story set in a period of American history fraught with controversy: the 1860s. The nation was severely wounded and split in two, a cut that tore us geographically, politically, and spiritually. Free v. Slave States, Union v. Confederate States, and Liberators v. Raiders battled for the heart and soul of The (Not So) United States of America. “The Hated” not only centers its attention on this time period, but it also captures it magnificently.
The art by Hill and color by Struble both encapsulate the rawness and beauty of a country in turmoil with itself. The story follows a freed slave named Armanita Free, who’s every bit as charismatic as Tarantino and Foxx’s Django grows to be, and every bit as capable as any story’s protagonist should be. I was immediately taken in by the story’s commitment to realism and the obvious depth that props up each character. I wasn’t surprised when I reached the end and found out this story was initially conceived back in 1992 by Mr. Walker.
I could go on because I absolutely loved this Issue, but let me get on to the specifics:
As mentioned above, the artwork in “The Hated” feeds the overall feeling of the story. Raw. Beautiful. Gritty. Inspiring. Kudos to this art team; their work enhances this story and what it’s aiming to get across.
The cover art by Mack screams spaghetti western, and I loved every bit of it!
This story needs to be told. A story that pays homage to folks who fought to make America “a more perfect Union” during its ugliest era is what we need right now. I’m a firm believer that superhero stories have the power to unite us all. And although Armanita doesn’t technically have superpowers, a black woman who fought and killed to liberate slaves and protect freed blacks from kidnapping, is just that. The cast here, pro and antagonist alike, all had clear motives, felt grounded, and elicited immediate feelings from me as a reader.
Right from the opening pages, I was hooked!
What can I say here? Dialogue felt fresh. It felt right for this story. An ugly time calls for some ugly language. Walker doesn’t hold back… and “The Hated” benefits significantly from his near-perfect use of the “common tongue” of the time.
No mistakes here. If there were any, they obviously weren’t enough to pull me out of the story. “The Hated’s” well-executed dialogue was only bolstered by its editing.
There is some creative use of panels in this one; the artwork bleeds from panel to panel in a way that pulls you through effortlessly. I know I could’ve stuck this bit in the “Art” section of this review, but hear me out:
What Walker has done by setting this story in an era we all have some familiarity with comes with inherent risk. The consequences are clear, and the stakes are high, but each panel shift, every page turn, and exchange of dialogue is an opportunity for a reader to assume they know what’s coming next.
Walker and his team’s ability to keep your interest starts with the creative panel usage but doesn’t end there. The lettering is captivating; the ways in which Carey moves it across the pages is enticing. The subtle reveals of character backstory through the marriage of visuals and casual conversation between the characters is masterful. Even the small bits of realism infused into the story, in no small part by Guinan’s photo art, come together to make a fantastic experience.
If I could, I’d give this story an extra star for mechanics alone. But I can’t, so Walker and his team will just have to settle for 5 Stars instead. I am looking forward to the next installment!