Dark Horse Comics 2016
Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by P.J. Holden
Coloured by Michael Atiyeh
Lettered by Rob Steen
After the tank speeds right off the battlefield, Linnet and his men realize that Budd was right: Snakebite is a training tank! With its soft steel armor, the tank can’t protect them from heavy artillery—but it can get them out of trouble faster than any other tank available. Deciding to keep Snakebite, the men continue their trek into a seemingly deserted village . . .
While the game may be all the rage right now how many people actually know the history of Tanks and how they were brought into warfare? Not only does Garth, who excels at telling wartime stories, bring us this first look at how they were used but he makes it so that the characters and the situations they are placed in have more depth than simply shooting each other. The mens whose lives he focuses on here really bring the use of the tanks into play in such a way that really showcase the impact they have.
The amount of research that has to go into a story like this impresses me. I mean you really have to study the history of tanks, how they were made and when they came into use during the war. It’s a much a history lesson as it is an exciting drama of the men who wielded the. With each issue of this series that comes out I gain more respect for the men on both sides who have to deal with not only their superiors and the hierarchy of warfare but for having to maintain these tanks and continually learn how to utilise them in battle.
The same can be said of P.J. and Michael here. Going back and seeing the these tanks and learning how they are supposed to look and function so they can be brought to life on the page is astonishing to me. The use of page layouts through angles, perspective and backgrounds here really show off the art of war beautifully. I also really like the way that they bring the characters to life and how their uniforms look. The facial expressions and body language here really do help with further characterisation that words alone can’t do.
There’s also some great story developments happening here and in some unexpected ways. The way we see the German unit that have amazingly survived all this time and what they’ve been going through sheds a different life on the men in that unit. Just because your German doesn’t mean you are a heartless bastard and I like that we see this from them. I don’t know where Garth is going to take this or what plans he has for them but I will say that his depiction of them is spectacular.
As fun and interesting as the story is and the excitement of seeing these tanks in action the fact that it’s also as much a history lesson shouldn’t be overlooked. Incredibly interesting and surprisingly tender at times this is a prime example of why Garth remains one of those writers whose work on wartime stories is unparalleled.