Overview

Storming Paradise #1

Review

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Storming Paradise #1

Credits

  • Words: Chuck Dixon
  • Art: Butch Guice
  • Inks: Butch Guice
  • Colors: Carrie Strachan
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: WildStorm/DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jul 2, 2008

The atomic bomb test at White Sands results in catastrophic failure, leaving the United States with only one option for defeating the Empire of Japan: Invasion.

World War II has probably been the subject of the most attempts at alternate history fiction, because the stakes were so globally important and the participants so radically different politically. Nazi Germany seems to get more of the attention in the speculations, so Storming Paradise is refreshing in treating the Pacific Theater. The defining moment of departure is the elimination of the atomic bomb as the instrument of surrender. Most historians agree that an invasion of Japan would be a lengthy, bloody affair, as the Japanese had never surrendered in any battle in the war.

Chuck Dixon takes an epic approach to the story, introducing the heavyweight military leaders of the war including Douglas MacArthur, General Patton, and Harry Truman as characters. Other famous folks, including the Duke himself, John Wayne and one actor/comedian I haven't yet identified will play a role as well. This can be dangerous ground, but I am glad Dixon has attempted it. The interplay of MacArthur and Patton, the two giants of their respective theaters, promises to be as explosive as the invasion of Japan!

Dixon captures the American attitude of the War era, not shying away from the racial prejudice of the time, with references to the "yellow" enemy. G.I.s fresh off their defeat of the Germans are none too please with redeployment to the Pacific, and he even provides some of the enemy perspective. As an introductory issue, we are presented with little snippets of many characters, threads in the tightly woven tapestry of the larger novel. Writers do not take on alternate histories without thematic purpose, but Dixon does not reveal his yet. The first issue is neither jingoistic, nor anti-war revisionist, so I am most interested in seeing where Dixon takes us in future issues.

Behind a painted cover reminiscent of World War II era recruitment posters, complete with the red, white, and blue encouragement to buy war bonds and stamps, Butch Guice ably recreates the world of 1945. His caricatures of historical figures are spot on, down to the famous corn-cob pipe of General MacArthur. His realistic art style is perfectly suited to the subject matter, and I am glad he was selected for the project rather than the more animation influenced superhero artists. Any fan of World War II technology will enjoy Guice's skill in rendering the warships, trucks, B-29 bombers and other period aircraft. This issue is lacking in battle scenes, because the invasion has yet to take place, but the book is already visually stunning, with the best still yet to come. The art is not flashy but it is detailed, with great backgrounds and classic in its layouts and the illustration stay within the borders. The subject matter has wide appeal beyond the general comic reading populace, and the artwork is appropriately accessible to a mass audience.

In case I haven't made it explicit enough, I am a huge history buff, and find this treatment of the material to be wonderfully faithful, and the creators hugely successful in portraying the World War II mood and feel. Both Dixon and Guice have been making comics for a good long time, and they prove they are still masters of their craft. I highly recommend this book to everyone, whether they are interested in history or not.

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