Battle of the Grunts

One of my long running projects has been to read and review the 1980s series the 'Nam.  This series has at times been heartbreaking and is always well written, the more so that the writer was a Vietnam vet himself who lived most of what he wrote.  In the spirit of this I decided this week to pick up and read the first three issues of Men of War, the sole war based title of the new 52.  Suffice to say that I was expecting something not as realistic as it is based in the regular DC universe.  While the 'Nam is ostensibly set in the Marvel Universe it doesn't really have that feel as after 20 issues not a single superhero has shown up.  Men of War though has a feeling to it which is very much artificial.  With the intervention of those with superpowers it is never really clear what either the soldiers or the superhumans are doing there.  Something which the 'Nam excelled at as well was trying to take a look at the war for both perspectives of the opposing sides.  The backup story featuring Navy SEALS in Men of War only sort of got around to doing that in the third issue (coincidentally both the 'Nam and the backup story have someone named Ice.)  On the other hand the main story of Men of War seems to have gotten the inspiration for its enemy combatants from a video game.  Modern war sucks, any number of documentaries will relay that information but here it seems like it is trying to get a little too much to glorify it.  There might be a series waiting to happen out there which looks at modern warfare with the same gritty realism that the 'Nam did but Men of War is apparently not it.  
4 Comments
4 Comments
Posted by aztek_the_lost

I'm not sure if I've asked you this before (I probably have) but have you ever read The Other Side? It's an amazing comic and it's entire point is showcasing both sides of a war, the Vietnam war specifically. I personally find it doubtful that anything set in the DC universe could ever be such a gritty realistic take on war (as it seems half the point of this reboot is to take properties back that drifted away from superheroics into other territories and make them all superhero-themed books again).

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Posted by RazzaTazz
@aztek_the_lost: No I haven't read it, there are only five of them though?  The 'Nam is pretty much US Army focused, but does occasionally look at the other side as more than just villains.   
 
You think they are doing that with all genres?  I didnt get that from I, Vampire for instance, of course I am not really a vampire fan.
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Posted by aztek_the_lost

@RazzaTazz: Yeah, available in a single trade...it's specifically about Bill Everette (the American teenager that got drafted and wasn't cut out for war) and Vo Binh Dai (the Vietnam teenager who joins the fight to protect his people and honor his family). I might just re-read it again today after bringing it up. Also, I haven't read it but a few weeks ago someone brought up Vietnam Journal to me which sounds like something you might be interested in?

I actually do think that is their goal. I, Vampire is great so far because it hasn't done that but it's obviously in the works...from the first issue already they mentioned the superheroes rather then just ignoring them (as books have done in the past when they aren't about superheroes) and I mean #4 is already supposed to feature a crossover with Justice League Dark...which although it's meant to be a fringe-superhero title itself is still a superhero title. I mean sure with some books they're trying to be more subtle about it (like Men of War and I, Vampire) but the superhero connection really seems to be the main goal here. These franchises don't need superheroes as their past success clearly demonstrated but DC seems determined to shove the supes in there regardless.

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Posted by Billy Batson

@aztek_the_lost said:

I'm not sure if I've asked you this before (I probably have) but have you ever read The Other Side? It's an amazing comic and it's entire point is showcasing both sides of a war, the Vietnam war specifically. I personally find it doubtful that anything set in the DC universe could ever be such a gritty realistic take on war (as it seems half the point of this reboot is to take properties back that drifted away from superheroics into other territories and make them all superhero-themed books again).

such a great read.
BB