Armistice... we as a people still do not know the word.
Remembrance Day is a month away and because like Magazines, comics have a one month advanced date printed on the cover. So hopefully your comic shop will have order a decent amount of this comic and maybe do a Remembrance Day special with this comic. It is a good read.
[Further reading for a longer review]
"Armistice", a word I honestly forgot the meaning off. I tell you Elementary school feels so long time ago. According to Dictionary.com, Armistice means "An agreement between opposing armies to suspend hostilities in order to discuss peace terms; truce." How offend to we do that in today? War has always been a driving economic force, so most powerful countries will fight unwanted wars just because.
The first story of Weird War Tales is from Darwyn Cooke. He is the reason I picked up this comic and I am glad I did. His story reintroduced me to the word "Armistice" in his story "Armistice Night". This is a story he illustrated as well as wrote and the coloring was done by Dave Stewart.
Darwyn starts off the comic by reminding us " In Flanders Fields the poppies grow....", I don't know who strong that is for readers outside of Canada, but being Canadian that poem is part of my upbringing.
His story takes place in "hell"... the dead soldiers and war heroes of the pasts still "live", and I use that word loosely, in a field of poppies... The red tones Dave Stewart creates furthers the blood spilled ambiance of the Hell these men must of experienced.
Darwyn as well keeps the story playful to lower the guard of any reader who is Pro-War. This is very smart to keep this as the first story, which will hopefully hook readers to keep on to the later stories. Only 7 pages long and it hits makes a strong statement of "Make War No More".
After Darwyn's story, there is the title page which is used as a bridging page, illustrated by Steve Pugh. I was familiar with Steve's work because he a lot of his work was for DC/Vertigo. He seemed to be away from comics for a while, but its nice to see him back.
The middle story I felt was the weakest of the three. It was something I had to reread and force myself to pay more attention. The 7 pages in this story I don't think paced well... you can breeze right past the who story and not care just by looking at the lovely art. The story does have merit to it, there is nice duality between the opening scene and the end scene, but the middle I didn't feel created that emotions we were suppose to have with the great revile at the end. This could of been a stronger story if it was written by a more experienced writer or maybe if Ivan Brandon had a full issue.
The art is what saves "The Hell Above Us" as a story because it is Nic Klein's art that is what is driving the story.
Jan Strnad finishes the comic with his story "Private Parker Sees Thunder Lizards" and the art was supplied by Gabriel Hardman. This is my favorite story of the three and I think it hits hardest.
Like the casino machine Slots this comics wins with three 7s in a row. Private Parker's life is boiled down to 7 pages. His life as a child is blended in nicely as mental images of what is happening around him. A young soldier like most are during WWII... his life was cut short. Being blinded in battle Private Park he being consoled by an old friend. The German Tanks are coming in for the kill and Parker can hear them, but his friend reminds him of the Dinosaurs from his childhood and the images in Parker's mind go wild as creatures long forgotten walk once more.
I am a sucker as well when art style changes for flashbacks and this story delivers in spades. The War is presented in dark horrible tones, but the youthful memories as bright as a spring day. Artistically this story does a great job of making us feel for Parker in such small amount of pages.
The thing that saddens me about this comic, is that it proves Vertigo as an imprint is changing... Weird War Tales was once a Vertigo title and now it is back to DC. Still a strong read where adults can appreciate it and helping to dull the "Vertigo Edge" in the war between Vertigo verses DC.
A very symbolic comic in may ways and I do recommend it because if it is never collected it is still a good comic to reread later in life.
So here is my Moment of Silence......
May the only Wars fought be on printed paper as stories.