Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An appreciation of Unknown Soldier (Vertigo) (2008 onwards)

Another bold and brilliant title from DC Vertigo



To some, portraying the grim reality and horrors of war in a comic book may seem glib or trivialising the subject. Joshua Dysart, in his powerful new title 'Unknown Soldier', is addressing the dreadful situation in parts of Africa where children are expendable, used as soldiers in civil wars and cross border disputes. The setting is Northern Uganda, in 2002, when the Ugandans People's Defence Force has just executed Operation Iron Fist against the LRA.

The central character in 'Unknown Soldier' is Dr. Moses "Patrick" Lwanga, pacifist, medical doctor and a philanthropist, who travels back to Africa and encounters the horrors of war. It essentially deals with the exploitation of innocents in war and is fantastic. It does not draw away from the terrible and the bloody and does not hide from the truth. It is both a thrilling adventure and a potent political scream of anger. The writing is accessible, resolutely angry at this situation while maintaining a tight and focussed script. The art, by Alberto Ponticelli recalls the style of Eduardo Rissos work on 100 Bullets, as it captures the stark reality of war and death and the heat and dust of Africa. It is surely destined to be looked back on as a classic title, worthy of mention alongside other great Vertigo titles (The Invisibles, 100 Bullets etc.

You can get a preview of the first issue here.

Issue #5 is due to ship today, February 25th, 2009.

http://www.unknownsoldiercomic.com/ - This is a companion site to the comic and is filled with extras and fascinating detail, and as such is highly recommended.

http://www.comicsbulletin.com/vertigo/121772268614990.htm - Writer Joshua Dysart talks about 'Unknown Soldier'

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=18519 - CBR article on the launch of 'Unknown Soldier'

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