I want to describe every little detail of this story, so you will understand how awesome it is. Instead, I will just tell you that this is a compelling war story in the Hellboy universe and strange things happen regularly. The writing, by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, feels like it is as accurate a portrayal of combat during WWII as nearly any that I have seen, plus giant robots. If you’ve read much of Mignola’s work, then you know his writing is solid and this book does not disappoint.
Jason Latour’s art is the best surprise of this story. The style is at once retro cartoony and realistic. The cartoony nature is great, with some of the characters sporting some impressive Jughead noses and a general abstraction whenever the situation calls for it. Often, the background is incredibly loosely drawn, which focuses your attention exactly where is supposed to be. This is what I love in art. The style reinforces the story and adds an interesting layer of its own.
When I first heard about this comic, I was excited because I am a huge Mike Mignola fanboy, and his take on robot super-soldiers and WWII sounded awesome. It is awesome, but this is a story with much more depth and character than I was expecting. Some of this showed up in the very, very good first issue, but this issue ignores the story I was expecting (giant robot suited man clobbers the third reich) and delivers a character study about regular (exceptional) soldiers in a world where giant robot suited men try to clobber the third reich. The book I was expecting would have been great fun. The book I got is incredible.
Five Reflections on the Nature of Heroism and Giant Freaking Robot Suits out of Five.