Few conflicts in history have such clear-cut good guys and bad guys as the Second World War. It’s safe to say anything that could make Allied troops team up with Nazi soldiers is serious business. In “Iron Siege,” a three-issue bi-monthly miniseries launching this month from IDW, an American unit’s successful mission to capture a high-ranking SS officer turns into a horrific struggle for survival when the road home leads through a mysterious deserted town in which an even darker threat awaits.
Written by James Abraham and Andrew Hong with art by Trevor Goring and covers by Tim Bradstreet, “Iron Siege” #1 arrives in stores December 13. CBR News spoke with Abraham and Hong about the series, which will be presented in the oversized “Golden Age” format.
“The story is set in rural France during WWII. Our heroes are an outfit of US soldiers from the 101st Airborne who are sent on an intelligence-snatching mission to capture a high ranking Nazi SS colonel. They capture him just fine, but while making their way back they end up stranded in a desolate French town and suddenly the war goes out the window and they’re going up against an enemy they’ve never trained to fight,” said co-writer Andrew Hong. “The kicker is that the only allies they have now are their sworn enemies, the Germans they just captured.
“I think the main realization all of our characters have to make is that they have a much better chance of surviving if they work together than if they keep up the tensions that have fueled them over the duration of the war. And that’s not an easy transition for some of them, to get un-shoehorned out of their ideals,” Hong continued. “I think as a reader you’re tracking several interactions between Americans and Germans adapting at their own speeds to a new reality. And of course there are those who can’t adapt, which might end up being a bigger problem than what they’re facing outside the walls.”
“You’re handed a set of assumptions whenever you decide to tell a story that takes place during WWII,” co-writer JamesAbraham added. “Usually, there’s no moral ambiguity when you have Americans and Nazis. What we tried to do was shift some of those assumptions. Everyone knows the arch-story of the war, but when you talk about the individuals — whichever side they might have been on — you’ll find that you have to search for the humanity in both sides. We thought it was a perfect setting in which to unfold the characters we were working with. The war itself becomes a sort of off-page drama that lessens in importance as we go deeper into our characters’ dilemma. But of course, it’s never fully forgotten.”
As to whether “Iron Siege” will be primarily a survival horror story in which the characters struggle just to stay alive or whether they might be fighting to stop a broader disaster, Abraham said, “I think we’ll leave the answer to whether there’s a larger disaster to prevent for the reader to figure out for themselves. We’re definitely focusing on a more immediate problem that our characters face, but where it goes from there is kind of locked up in a later issue.”
Abraham and Hong have previously worked together in film production and have “known each other for years.” They came together on “Iron Siege” with a strong sense of each other’s storytelling sensibilities. “We love these type of genre stories and came up with this idea that we thought could be a cool project,” Hong said. “Once we got the usual fighting and arguing out of the way, we started with a sort of ‘best of’ list — meaning the best of what we thought we could milk out of the situation — and from there we were off to the races, hashing out a story and constantly bouncing ideas and beats off of one another. We were introduced to Trevor [Goring] by a mutual contact as we were looking for someone who would bring a more serious look to the book.”
“Trevor also storyboards for the film industry, having done a lot of blockbuster movies. We thought his style would be perfect for the project,” Abraham explained. “As you’ll see he brings a more old school look to the book, and he’s a war buff to boot!”
“Iron Siege” will be presented in the larger “Golden Age” format, much like Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber’s “Underground” and AJ Lieberman and Riley Rossmo’s “Cowboy Ninja Viking.” Asked about their reasons for using the idiosyncratic format, Hong said that this was part of the plan from the beginning. “We made the decision in the beginning to go to the larger format. We felt the Golden Age size was a great idea, especially considering the subject matter,” he said. “Since Trevor brings an awesome look along with Grant Goleash’s colors, we thought the only way to give the book justice was to do it in a Golden Age size. Not to mention we thought it would give readers more bang for the buck.”