Thursday, July 1, 2010

Unknown Soldier #21

Written by Joshua Dysart
Art by Rick Veitch

Every month for the last two years, I've gone on and on about how much I love this title, and it has frequently impressed me with its ability to be better with each new issue.

For this month's issue, Dysart has done something completely different, moving the story away from Moses, and instead choosing to focus the whole book on one Kalashnikov rifle.  The story starts in WWII-era Russia, as Mikhail Kalashnikov comes up with the general design of this most versatile of assault rifles.  Once mass production begins, the story shifts focus, and we realize that is one particular rifle that is narrating this issue.

This particular AK is first owned by a Cuban soldier posted in Ethiopia to help fight Somali separatists.  It then is owned by a poacher in Kenya, slowly making its way into Uganda, where it is owned by a farmer, and then a number of different people before coming into the possession of a young Karamojong herder.  Eventually, the gun makes its way into the possession of a number of different children in Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army, which brings it into the series' continuity.

This type of thing has been done before, but I appreciate this approach to African reality and conflict.  Dysart's research and insight into Uganda and its troubles has been one of the biggest draws of this book to me, and I like the way in which he works to develop peoples' knowledge.

Rick Veitch is the perfect choice to fill in on this issue.  This is the more realistic Veitch that we don't see that much of these days, as he eschews the lighter style he used on his incomparable Army@Love.

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