Saturday, May 2, 2009

Battlefields: The Tankies #1

Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Carlos Ezquerra and Hector Ezquerra

In this, the newest of the Battlefields series, Ennis is giving us a story about a tank crew advancing through Normandy following D-Day. The crew, made up of soldiers who have yet to see action, are quickly decapitated by the loss of their Lieutenant, who is then replaced by a Corporal from Newcastle.

This is standard Ennis: the Corporal speaks in a thick brogue, transmitted off the page by phonetic spelling, and fits the archetype of the 'soldier who gets things done.' The rest of the crew, still splattered with the remains of their former commanding officer, follow along and work to please.

Meanwhile, Ennis portrays the Germans as desperately holding on to the land, and fighting even after the point of surrender. The stakes for our little crew are quite high.

Ezquerra has long been a collaborator of Ennis's, and together they excel at portraying the innocence (and perhaps stupidity) of the soldiers. As Vertigo's recent Haunted Tank mini-series revealed, it is difficult to convey an exciting tank battle in comics, but the Ezquerras manage to do so nicely here.

This iteration of Battlefields completely lacks the subtlety and beauty of Dear Billy, but it is still an enjoyable comic.

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