Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sgt. Rock: Between Hell & A Hard Place

Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Joe Kubert

It seemed fitting, in the same week that DC returns to both regular war comics and to the Rock family to headline them, that I would read this 2004 graphic novel.

It's November of 1944, and the American Army, in the form of the 22nd Infantry, is working its way through the Hürtgen Forest on the border between Germany and Belgium, on their way to Berlin.  The going is slow, as they have to deal with mines, artillery, German patrols, and towns with Tiger tanks and active machine gun nests.

Right in the thick of it, as always, is Sgt. Rock and Easy Company.  They've been saddled with some very green replacements, and later with four German officers who they wish to take in for interrogation.  During an attack, three of the Germans end up dead, and the other goes missing.  Now suspicion is falling on every member of Rock's usual crew.

The comic is well written, but the reason why anyone is going to come out for it has to do with Joe Kubert's art.  Kubert invented Rock, and its nice to see him working on one of his most famous characters once again.  He hasn't lost any of his skill, but he is drawing things much looser these days.

There is a nice blend of character moments and action, and there are no annoying sound effects in the book.  It falls into a lot of the usual war comics tropes, but it's still a very good read.

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