It’s easy to believe there are no original ideas left in comics.
Well, here’s one. A group of war veterans decide they aren’t prepared to simply sit in care homes, waiting to die. They’ll meet their maker on their own terms – fighting the good fight. And if that also means their funeral costs get paid for, so much the better (click on image to enlarge).
Yep, as well as an unusual spin on the war book, writer Lee Kolinsky and artist Sham Arifin are confronting the issue of healthcare in the US.
In the Wake of Heroes posits a care system so shamefully poor that heroes would rather run suicide missions than spend another day in it. Is it true? Or are these simply the kind of combat-happy Joes who’d be itching to die in battle rather than bed, no matter how plush the mattress?
Maybe we’ll find out as the series continues. For now, here’s Korea veteran Colonel Jason Roman, offering the services of his motley crew to son Riley, a general in today’s army. Jason asserts that there’s no need to send young men with their lives ahead of them off to die, when veterans in their final years could do the job. Riley’s not convinced, so Jason declares himself an independent contractor, and takes his pal Larry to Russia, where an organ thief is destroying lives – literally. How Larry takes out the man could prove controversial, but it’s certainly clever.
As is the method by which the old soldiers are chosen for missions. I won’t give it away, but if you’re familiar with the kind of games played in old folks’ homes, you’ll likely guess.
Kolinsky does a good job of bringing us up to speed, flashing backwards and forwards without ever confusing. It’s too early to have a handle on the characters, with only Jason given much panel time, but I can see a few regulars hanging in long enough to make an impression – the headshots we see in a full-page legend at the end promise an intriguing bunch.
Arifin’s figurework can be a little stiff, proportions skew whiff, and facial tones uneven – but the storytelling is fine and I appreciate an artist who cares enough not to stint on backgrounds. And his Korea battle scene is very nicely done. The lettering is far too small for the balloons, and there are a few spelling errors, but nothing that detracts from the story. More proofreading, though, lads.
My only other qualm is the title, which is far too portentous for an action romp, even one wearing its Purple Heart on its sleeve. Maybe something corny like Roman’s Soldiers would have been better.
But In the Wake of Heroes is out there, so it’s too late to tweak the title. It’s not too late for you to try this Blue Eye book, though – if you’re looking for a different kind of war comic, give it a shot.