Overview

Battlefields #7

Review

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Battlefields #7

Credits

  • Words: Garth Ennis
  • Art: Russ Braun
  • Inks: Russ Braun
  • Colors: Tony Avina
  • Story Title: Motherland Part One
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Jun 23, 2010

One of the beauties of Garth Ennis’ first volume of Battlefields (which was nine issues long) was that they were three-issue, self-contained tales about separate corners of the world during the Second World War. The war was a global effort against the Nazi machine, but most media only notates the broad strokes provided by the United States towards the end. In this series of stories, Ennis examines the relatively untold tales of female pilots, tank operators, and nurses, all spanning various parts of the globe. These are unsung heroes in life altering and impossible circumstances. With equal parts accuracy and stiff-lipped heart, he’s able to relate these gripping moments successfully.

Battlefields #7 is the first part of Motherland, picking up on threads from the last volume’s Night Witches, about female Russian pilots forced to fly practically obsolete aircraft on nighttime bombing raids. These women fought hard in a typically man’s war, and were eventually hardened for it. They lost their innocence, any ounce of naivete left and some, even their lives. Motherland is about what’s left in a person, after all that, and still ready to fight.

Much like other opening acts in this series, this issue’s main focus is to establish our hero’s ordinary world. We’ve met Lt. Anna Borisnova Kharkova before, but she is a completely different person now. Transformed by way of and haunted by her fellow soldier’s ghost, she keeps her emotional extroversion to a minimum. Reading Night Witches is not necessary to get into the story, because everything you need to know is on the page. Another plus with this book is the attention to not only historical accuracy, but character detail as well. Everyone picking up the book knows who the villains are, Hitler and his Third Reich. This allows time for the writer to use that precious page space for more emotional character building. Any historian can give you a synopsis of the countries, time frames, and machines used to fight this war. Ennis provides us with the soldiers’ motivations, emotional stabilities, and thought processes, which leads to a more fulfilling read. Battlefields provides all the joy of a documentary with a satisfying narrative effortlessly woven through it.

The art by Russ Braun services the story nicely and maintains the visual style established in previous arcs. There are a few panels during an aerial dogfight that get a little hairy, but never slow down the storytelling or emotional impact of the plot progression.

All in all, Battlefields #7: Motherland is another win in the Ennis column, coupling his affinity for war stories with his solidly handled character work. These are satisfying reads and on merely an entertainment level, they work whether you’re generally drawn to these types of stories or not. I appreciate westerns and war stories, but don’t prescribe to them on a regular basis. Just like Jonah Hex at DC, Battlefields works beyond any preconceived notion of the attributed genre and just gives you a great read.

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Comments

  • Bart Croonenborghs

    Bart Croonenborghs Jun 24, 2010 at 3:37am

    I stopped reading the individual issues because the trades were almost instantaneously released after the last issue of a storyline got published. Night Witches though is a personal favourite. I didn't know that there was a follow up, thanks for the heads up!

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