Rating: 4/5 – War Stories Packed With Realism and Humanity.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.
Don’t judge a book by it’s Publisher. I know a lot of people who dismiss Avatar as only publishing gory over-the-top books (taking the popular Crossed as a prime example) and it’s true that there are a lot of books that come out from Avatar that definitely do not skimp on violence. I can see someone making an assumption that a book of war stories would be over-the-top violent. I’m here to tell you that this isn’t the case with Garth Ennis’ War Stories. I’ve found the story arcs so far to be packed with realism, which includes the violence of war, but not over-the-top or gratuitous. And revealing a surprising amount of touching humanity behind the face of war by focusing on the soldiers who have to live through it.
The story arc beginning in this issue is “Our Wild Geese Go”, named for a line from the poem The Foggy Den by Charles O’Neil. It focuses on a group of Irish soldiers who had to join the British Army to fight the Nazis in World War II, since the Republic of Ireland (independent from the UK since 1922) had declared neutrality at the beginning of the war. Ennis weaves history and politics into the story as we follow the unit of Irish soldiers through part 1 of this 3 part tale that will no doubt get more vivid as the advance into Germany progresses.
Past issues of War Stories have featured arcs with a German family fleeing the Soviet advance on the Eastern Front who are saved by a small German unit; an Israeli tank crew in the Golan Heights; and WWII Allied Bomber crews flying missions over Germany. The hallmark of the series so far has been on unconventional stories that focus more on realistic portrayals of people involved in war as opposed to grizzled combat vets with a 50 caliber machine gun in one hand and a grenade in the other storming an enemy bunker single-handed. I’ve never read war stories quite like these and I’m glad Avatar is publishing them. If you think you might enjoy an examination of war from a slightly different angle than you may have seen before, War Stories is definitely worth checking out.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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