The Earth has been invaded by a secret alien government determined to absorb the planet into their fold, assuming they don’t kill themselves first, your Major Spoilers review of Ministry of Compliance #1, awaits!
MINISTRY OF COMPLIANCE #1
Writer: John Ridley
Artist: Stefano Raffaele
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Editors: Mark Doyle and Dave Wielgosz
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: November 15th, 2023
Previously in the Ministry of Compliance: A race of aliens has secretly infiltrated Earth and has been manipulating the population, prepping it for assimilation. These efforts are headed up by 11 different ministries, the most dangerous being The Ministry of Compliance.
GETTING AHEAD OF THE GAME
Ministry of Compliance #1 opens with a man getting decapitated. It is then revealed that the beheader is Avigail, the head of the Ministry of Compliance, who had discovered that the beheaded, the head of the Ministry of Finance was behind a conspiracy to embezzle funds from The Homeworld. Later, Avigail speaks to the leader of The Homeworld and is informed that finally after 39 years, Earth is ready to be absorbed, which he will announce the next day. Avigail then encounters Kingsley an employee of the Ministry of Compliance as well as a biracial woman with a human parent and an alien parent. She is dismissed by Avigail for poor performance. The next day in a surprise move, the leader is removed from power. With no direction, the other ministers go into panic mode. Avigail decides that it’s up to her to get to the bottom of everything, but first, she needs to secure launch codes for the aliens’ ships in case they need to escape Earth. She heads out for London while recruiting Kingsley to help her. When they reach London, that’s when things start to go south.
Ministry of Compliance #1 is the type of reading experience that happens when a comic is trying to be too many things at one time. It’s one part sexy action story, one part political thriller, one part spy movie, one part alien invasion book, and one part social commentary. Typically, this wouldn’t be such a problem, especially for a double-sized issue, except even with all this space there isn’t a lot of focus given to any of these competing identities. Really, a lot of the problems with this issue can be attributed to poor pacing and page usage. A lot of characters are introduced throughout this comic, yet none are really given time to establish any real character traits or motivations, but we do get 2 pages of a very large infodump which comes off as one of the characters reading what could’ve been an introduction page. This isn’t to say that the writing in this issue is bad, or there isn’t some enjoyment to be had. In fact, I wouldn’t say that this fails to accomplish the many different things it wants to do. Fans of the various genres this book touches on will most likely find something to like here. There’s just a lack of eloquence in the ways things play out here.
INTERESTING DESIGN CHOICE, TO SAY THE LEAST
The comic book industry is no stranger to a bit of gratuitous nudity. For better or worse, it’s something that comes with the turf sometimes. Yet there are some instances where the way a comic book justifies the T and A is just plain silly. In Ministry of Compliance #1, the reader is introduced to a character who happens to have a brand that signifies them as an alien/human biracial person. This brand just happens to be located under their breasts. So, when the time comes for them to reveal that they’re biracial, rather than just simply say it out loud, they take their shirt off instead. This isn’t really a critique of the art in this issue, which is pretty basic but completely fine, it’s just pointing out a ridiculous moment that has stuck with me.
BOTTOM LINE: A MOSTLY FUN READ THAT GETS IN ITS OWN WAY
The Ministry of Compliance #1 is a comic of many genres, but it’s not particularly good at any of them. But it’s also not really bad at them either. There are things to enjoy here, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’m intrigued to see where this goes. Some pacing issues and poor character development hamstring this issue though and keep it from being as good as it could’ve been. 2.5 out of 5 stars.
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Ministry of Compliance #1
Ministry of Defense #1 is a big and dense comic that introduces a lot of characters, plot threads, and themes. This makes it feel sluggish and unfocused, but there’s signs here that the series could go on to be something pretty cool.