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Battlefields: The Night Witches #1

by  in Comics Reviews
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For someone craving a new “Blackhawk” series, this title seemed like a decent substitute when I saw the peek provided in last week’s preview. Let me assure you, this is not your daddy’s “Blackhawk.” Nor is it “Sgt. Rock,” nor any other collection of hard-boiled war tales. Ennis is setting off with a new series under the “Battlefields” banner, yet focusing on elements, aspects, and segments of wars. This story focuses on the Night Witches (as you could have probably surmised from the title).

It’s a cool concept, especially given the fact that there is historical relevance to the Night Witches, something it definitely has above Blackhawk.

Ennis delivers the goods here. With a subtle “Rated Mature” label flying on the propaganda fueled cover, Ennis proves early on (and quite often) that this book is intended for mature readers. The language is explicit, and so is the violence. Ennis balances the tale from both sides of the battle, and the writing appears to be on the wall for a final confrontation featuring the two “main” characters: Kurt Graf, a Nazi soldier, and Lieutenant Anna Kharkova, one of the Night Witches.

Braun’s art is grimly realistic, from the casualties of war to the effects of battle upon inanimate objects. A keen notion for detail makes this book all the more tangible and the consequences facing the characters therein more devastating. The colors add credence to the plight, as the war scenes carry a pithy stone quality to their palette, sharp contrast to the airy springtime hues adorning the introduction of the 599th Night Bomber Regiment.

We live in a world where war has become an accepted facet of life, but Ennis and Braun show how hellish that facet can be. This title is a riveting read, compelling in its subject matter and narrative movement. I look forward to what Ennis will do with this line, and this series in particular.