Antarctic Press 2020
By Motofumi Kobayashi
Translated by Jacob Yomtobian
Lettered by Doug Dlin
The ever-changing, always dangerous assignments of Sergeants Perky, Rats and Botasky, a.k.a. the special forces unit Cat Shit One, continue, this time with the trio out to destroy a bridge on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The combatants may look fuzzy, but their stories are all too gritty!
If you look at M.A.S.H. and think of the complete opposite you’d have this. In turning the people into animals representing different countries is a way to get people more involved in the story and it’s a darn good ploy. Children and young adults today have very limited attention spans and anything that feels like learning is something they tend to shy away from. So this is one that should easily slip into their hands and get them reading and as a byproduct learn a few things as well. Adults too for that matter and ya know something I think everybody should be reading this because the work is simply wonderfully incredible.
I am a huge fan of the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. I love how we are taken through the story and how the characters are introduced, some new some old, and what the purpose of what we see is. So yeah I am completely enamoured by the introduction of Nakamura and I don’t know why. The character development that we see is phenomenal and those from different regions and the language being used is completely racially motivated but as a reader you understand when and where this was so it isn’t offensive per se. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the story and then at the end, after the Australian SAS, the terminology and explanations give are completely unexpected.
The way that this book is structured and how the layers within the story come to life and follow along the same paths is exceeding any and all expectations. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow is spectacular to say the least. This is in my humble opinion one of the absolute best books being made right now.
The interiors here are mindbogglingly good as the work we see really is truly bloody brilliant! The strength of the linework and how the varying weights and techniques are being utilised to create this kind of level of quality detail work is like a dream come true. The utilisation of the backgrounds being so essential to the story is brilliantly done as well. Aside from being utilised as a character in it’s own right they provide depth perception, sense of scale and an overall sense of size and scope to the book. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows a masterfully brilliant eye for storytelling. Now we do for the first time see actual humans in the Australian SAS story and ya know what wow, just WOW!
So the Battle of Sgt. Van Droffelaar which is basically illustrated prose and i cannot stress enough just how gosh darn amazing this is. It is completely unexpected and it just fuels the readers’ imagination as it engages them in an experience that seems to utterly intense.
This is why I love the medium and how it is able to be both educational and entertaining at the same time. How someone can leave an imprint upon another so profoundly boggles the mind. I love it and this is something I am never going to forget because of how incredibly talented Motofumi is but how he’s able to make me feel because of his gifts.