Friday, December 14, 2012

Battlefields Vol. 2 #2

Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Carlos Ezquerra

I really admire Garth Ennis's ability to tell a war story that hits all of the major war comics tropes, but still feels essential, if not particularly original.

Sergeant Stiles, star of all the 'tankie' stories in Ennis's Battlefields comics, has found himself lost in Korea with the newest recruit to join his crew.  They've fallen in with the Glosters, a British unit that is almost completely cut off by a large force of Chinese soldiers.  Stiles and his young charge help defend the Glosters from the siege for a number of days, and that's basically all that happens in this comic.  And its terrific.

Ennis excels at providing just enough historical context for the situations he depicts to make perfect sense (I've read very little about the Korean War), and he has a solid understanding of how to make war comics like this work.  We do get the standards - the brave young soldier who dies before his nineteenth birthday, the easy camaraderie between soldiers of different social standings, and the dignity with which the enlisted men face certain death.  Sure, the writing is formulaic, but it's a formula that works very well.

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