Wednesday, November 16, 2011

'68: Hardship

Written by Mark Kidwell
Art by Jeff Zornow

The high water mark of Vietnam War comics has to be Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart's Vertigo book The Other Side. It is a brilliant examination of the war, told from the perspectives of two reluctant combatants - one an American GI, the other a VC peasant.  I found the Vietnamese guy much more sympathetic, especially after the American started cracking up.

Why am I talking about that book when reviewing this first '68 one-shot since the title became an on-going series?  Basically, if the soldier from The Other Side had come back to a zombie-infested America, that series's epilogue would have been this comic.

Teddy Calhoun has completed two tours in 'Nam, and has come home on a hardship exemption because his mother was dying.  The thing is, the hardship request came at on opportune time, since his commanding officer would probably have to have given him a Section 8 designation - period Army code for a psychological disorder.  Teddy's lost it, but back home in the fields of Nebraska, it's easy for him to give in to his paranoia and delusions.  Especially after the zombies start showing up.

This is a pretty classic horror story, following some rather predictable patterns (at least until the tornado shows up), but it's still pretty interesting.  Kidwell builds up the characters quickly, and makes the story compelling.  Zornow's art works, and he has the opportunity to really cut loose (both claymores and a wheat combine get used rather novelly).  Zombies and war - the concept is so good it has to work.

No comments: