Friday, April 13, 2012

Men of War #7

Guy in a turban versus S.A.S. in a field of poppies! Quick: Who's the good guy?! Racist.

The first story in this issue is written by James Robinson. It begins with a squad of Special Air Service soldiers talking about being pulled out of Afghanistan. Most of the men can't wait. But one man, George Saint, has a nagging suspicion that their work isn't quite yet done.

This George Saint gets some kind of special exemption that will keep him in country three weeks past when everyone else has been called home. He knows of one last legendary insurgent leader, The Leopard, that he feels needs putting down. And he's going after him alone.

George kills all of The Leopard's men before coming face to gun with him. Even thought the Leopard has the gun, George kills him with his knife. But that doesn't happen for six pages. During those six pages, they fight. And George teaches the Leopard a thing or two about freedom! Like how instead of wearing real poppies on Remembrance Day, George and his countrymen wear paper poppies because poppies equal heroin and Leopard's people make heroin out of poppies because they're bad. They're also used for Morphine and all the other opioids. George also teaches him how he knows nothing about Sun Tzu which is probably a good thing since everyone quotes that jerk. And then he teaches him some British slang.

Good one!

And then he teaches him where his femoral artery is and the Leopard bleeds to death during the fight! The end!

First story: Boring! That's going to garner a -1 to the Ranking! Can J.T. Krul save Men of War from dropping any ranks or will he just double the damage? Let's find out!

Krul's story begins with a couple of guys riding in a helicopter shooting the poop.

Or Allah Mommy! Amirite?! No? Nobody? No one?

Next thing you know, Fish and Coop (those are those two guys!) are shot down in their helicopter! Crash! Boom! Bang! I mean, BOOOM!

Fish and Coop are stranded deep behind enemy lines. A truck full of enemy combatants pull up and pin them under heavy fire. Fish has one thought.

And then the comic shifts between Fish back in the States and Fish and Coop fighting for their lives. In Iraq, Fish is wounded several times and Coop gets killed. Back in the states, Fish wanders around feeling useless, unable to get a job, unable to relate yet always being praised and thanked for the great job he did for his country.

But it's all fucking lip service. And it's why I despise everyone who acts like every soldier is a hero while they're over there or when they return dead or wounded. They pretend that they're all over there because of a patriotic choice they made. Nobody wants to look at the real situation of the poor kids entering the military. The lost ones. The angry ones. The poor and downtrodden who don't see any other choices. Even just kids with no self-esteem or an inability to direct their own life. They crave the structure and the order. They crave a reason. Anything to bring meaning to a civilian life that has sucked ass from junior high right through high school.

But then they return and people pay them lip service because it's the patriotic way to look at things. View them as heroes instead of people with problems that need help. That probably needed help before even entering the service. And you know what happens to a great majority of these people who at one time or another found themselves in battle situations wishing they could be anywhere but here? Yeah. They fucking go back. Because there's nothing for them here. They don't all suddenly come back with "job skills".

This story doesn't end with Fish reenlisting though I really wish it did. I'd give it a +2 Ranking for that instead of the +1 I'm giving it for what it was. Instead Fish meets a Vietnam vet at the cemetery as Fish is visiting the grave of Coop. And he realizes perhaps the only people who can understand what he's been through, the only people who can speak with him without the bullshit glory and hero talk are the people who have been through what he's been through. Other vets who know they're all just people.

I don't know if I should be reading these modern war comics. I just hated Ivan Brandon's approach to Rock with his get the job done at any cost attitude and then Robinson's SAS man that can single handedly bring justice to a bad, bad man. I was hoping for more little picture stories like (unbelievably!) J.T. Krul's story here. The big picture is a big fat complicated mess. We've been in a war we never should have gotten involved in. This essay was my reaction to the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center just a few days after it happened. War was in the air as I wrote that and I just wanted to point out the ridiculousness of calling for bombing civilian centers when everyone was so outraged at that having just happened to us. I wasn't for this war nor have I ever been.

At the time I figured, at least soldiers signing up have a choice in the matter. If we fight, fight a war with soldiers. But boys and young men signing up for the military mostly aren't choosing to go to war. We have a responsibility to avoid putting these men and women in harm's way. Sending them to die for corporate bullshit or political lies or the illusion of safety is just crap. And sending thousands of more American men and women to die overseas did not bring back the thousands lost on 9-11-2001. And it hasn't made anybody any safer either.

Anyway, I hope to see more stories about the people in the conflict that have less to say about the overall conflict itself. It's the little stories that matter because the big story is just one big stinking fuck-up.

Men of War Issue #7 Rating: No Change. The two stories evened each other out.

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