Filed under: 8 Stars, Carlos Ezquerra, Garth Ennis, John Cassaday, Peter Snejbjerg, Russ Braun
This hardcover collects “Night Witches” , “Dear Billy” and “The Tankies” from Garth Ennis’s new war story series “Battlefields”.
“Night Witches” is a story set in World War II on the Russian front. It is the story of women bomber pilots flying night missions for the Russian’s in outdated planes. It is also the story from the point of view of the German Infantry that the Night Witches are trying to bomb. Garth Ennis is on top form in this story and the way he entwines the stories of both the hunter and the hunted is excellent. Garth doesn’t pull any punches in “Night Witches” and the stark brutality of both sides is shocking and yet believable in the context of a brutal battlefront. The consequences of being caught by the enemy are shocking and add a great deal of bite to the narrative. This is amongst some of Ennis’s best writing and it is backed up great art work by Russ Braun and some pretty good John Cassaday covers.
“Dear Billy” is unusual for a graphic novel in that it is written in the form of a letter to a lover by a woman involved in the Pacific conflict. As a result of this, it is quite text heavy and took me a few pages to adapt to the style. Peter Snejbjerg’s art work in Dear Billy is pretty simplistic but it does work well with this type of story telling. Garth has managed to pull off yet another gut wrenching tale of the brutality of war and this story really packs a punch. He manages to achieve a impressive sense of realism in his WW II writing and it just goes to show that he doesn’t need tons of gore and profanity to capture the reader. I didn’t enjoy this as quite as much as Night Witches but it is still a great thought provoking story.
“Tankies” is a story set in the aftermath of the D-Day landings, featuring the Allied tank Crews and their desperate battle against superior German tanks. Out of the stories included in this collection this is by far the most light hearted but it still amply hammer home the absolute horror of being in a tank on a Battlefield. It is probably the weakest story of the three but is blessed with the best artwork. Carlos Ezquerra’s art is absolutely gorgeous, intricately detailed and colored to perfection. I think one thing that spoils “Tankies” is Garth’s attempt at portraying a Geordie character. It just comes across as a bit silly and must confuse the heck out of non UK readers. Tankies is an enjoyable read with first class art.
“Battlefields” also has some great extras including an article explaining the facts behind the fiction and some artist pencils and character designs. [ISBN-13: 978-1606900796]. 8/10