Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Jacen Burrows

I've become very skeptical about Garth Ennis's writing, having become pretty bored with his gross-out humour, but I'm still more than willing to dive in to one of his war comics.

If there's one character that Ennis excels at writing, it's that of the hardened soldier, surrounded by incompetents and/or newbies.  In 303, he introduces us to an unnamed Russian Colonel who fits the mould perfectly.  He is stuck leading a pretty useless group of Russians on a mission in Afghanistan.

It seems that an American plane has gone down in a remote, mountainous region, and it clearly holds some secrets that someone in the American government needs kept that way.  In advance of the American recovery effort, both Britain and Russia have sent men in to take a look around.  Our Colonel and his crew are trailing behind the Brits, but he's determined to catch up.  This leads to some of the usual Ennis-style messed up situations, as the three groups demonstrate the lengths to which they will go for this mission.

The second half of the book is much stranger (I presume this trade is collecting a couple of mini-series or something, as there are three separate stories featuring the same character), in that it features our Colonel embroiled in the plight of migrant workers from Latin America working in an American slaughterhouse.

Still, Ennis writes this book very well, and Jacen Burrows capably illustrates in the usual Avatar house style.  What I like best about this book is the way in which it can be read as a tribute to the Enfield 303 rifle.

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