Guest Author - Eugene Bradford
The Activity is one of publisher-extraordinaire Image Comics' younger titles. Written by Nathan Edmondson and drawn by Mitch Gerads, it's focused on a small special-forces unit within the Intelligence Support Activity, or I.S.A. Designated Team Omaha, the group consists of individuals with backgrounds in intelligence and the military. Assisting Edmondson and Gerads are color assistants Joseph Frazzeta and Jordan Gibson with letters by Jeff Powell.
This third issue opens with the team on mission in Gardez, Afghanistan. Something went severely wrong. From there the issue is split between multiple time periods. We get the aftermath on their trip home with a mix of flashbacks from that and from some of the members of Team Omaha’s past. There is some tension between two characters as Master Sergeant Luke is arguing about a call Major Zoe made in the field. This clash stems from that decision which may or may not have led to the death of one of the three "delta escorts" who were with them. Cooler heads prevail as the book goes on.
The highlights of this issue next to the character interaction are Gerads’ visuals. Not as a whole but specifically dealing with the facial expressions to show the mood. This is especially noticeable with the sunken heads and closed eyes as a result of what occurred in Gardez. You can feel the sorrow vibe amongst the group in dealing with what’s occurred.
As far as the art in whole, it doesn't really stand out to me. But I feel it gets the job done. Darker tones and shadows set the mood fitting the story well. There isn’t a lot of variance in color, mostly black, blue, brown, and green. But that's not a negative. This type of book wouldn't benefit from numerous and vibrant colors. It just wouldn’t make sense and would ruin the tone.
One aspect of the series I don't like is that it's hard to keep track of everyone name-wise. Real names as well as code-names are used together, when names are used at all. This probably isn't an issue if you have had them straight in your head since the first issue. But with the death in the book, the weight isn't truly felt because there's no frame of reference for the character. That would be different if she was a member of their unit. In this case, it may have been intentional, to keep focus on Team Omaha. That would depend on individual readers’ tastes.
For this specific book, we don't know why they were in Gardez. That may have been deliberate to place focus on how the characters immediately dealt with the failure. Pesonally, I would have liked some more information on the operation. There were several flashbacks throughout the book where pieces of information could have been relayed to readers.
I recommend picking this book up. I like books like these dealing with special-forces units or small teams seen in heist books. I've read G.I. Joe books for years as well, so if you've read those that will give you an idea of how this book works. You’re going to get a ton of action. A small cast can allow for better growth and familiarity with the characters. Thanks for looking and happy reading.
I purchased this book with my own funds.