Saturday, January 23, 2010

War Story: Johann's Tiger

Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Chris Weston and Gary Erskine

As much as I've enjoyed a lot of Garth Ennis's work, especially his war comics, I haven't read most of his War Story comics for Vertigo. When the chance to grab a few of them for a ridiculously low price came along, I figured it was time to fix that.

This volume is all about a German Oberstleutnant and his Tiger crew, who have abandoned their posts during the tail end of the Russian campaign, with the intention of avoiding Russian forces and surrendering to the Germans.

Johann Kliest, the title German, was a real bastard in the early days of the war, before having an epiphany and realizing how wrong he was to mistreat people as he did. Now, in a quest for redemption, he hopes to rescue his tank crew, who he frequently refers to as 'orphans' that have been left in his care.

Of course, this is a Garth Ennis story, so such sentimentality has no hope of finding success. The art by Weston and Erskine is suitably gritty and grim, and the comic reads beautifully. It's hard to make tank battles seem suspenseful in the comics medium, but they succeed here.

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