Saturday, January 31, 2009

Battlefields: Dear Billy #1

Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Peter Snejbjerg

While I enjoyed the first Battlefields mini-series a great deal, 'Dear Billy' is a much superior showing. This is serious-Ennis at his finest, as he tells the story of Carrie Sutton, a British nurse who had been raped, shot, and left for dead by the Japanese in the south Pacific during the 2nd World War, and her budding romance with Flight Lieutenant Billy Wedgewood, a bomber pilot who is recovering from a similar experience (with rifle bayonets symbolically replacing the rape).

This book is 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' meets 'The English Patient' (and perhaps, based on the last page, a dash of 'Misery' to come), and Ennis demonstrates his characters' incredible bravery and strength masterfully.

As good as the writing is, this book's success depends in large measure on the beautiful work by Snejbjerg, one of the best artists working in comics. His work is sparse yet evocative, and is aided wonderfully by the colours of Rob Steen. I've never really understood why Snejbjerg isn't used more in mainstream comics - his Starman run was exquisite, and I would like to see more of his work on a regular basis.

This series is highly recommended.

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