Garth Ennis’ Battlefields #2: The Green Fields Beyond Review

The next chapter in this hard-hitting war drama is here, but do you really need to own it?  Read on to find out.

The official description from Dynamite:

Stiles and Frankie are up against it: trapped on Gloster Hill with a small unit of British soldiers, facing a murderous onslaught by ten thousand Chinese troops. Worse still, they didn’t bring their tank along this time. It’s last man, last round, as the Tankies face their sternest test to date…

I can’t tell you whether or not this title does the time period or the war it seeks to adapt any literary justice, but I can say that it feels authentic. The moments captured here may be somewhat over the top but because of the work done by the author this tale always feels more like an account than a fantastical yarn.

It’s hard to tell a story like this and write convincing dialogue from the perspective of soldiers without sounding overly corny or detached from their unique circumstances,but Garth Ennis accomplishes just that with this latest script.  The series writer finds unique voices and dynamic situations to shine a light both on the realities of extended conflicts and the toll it takes on each individual soul.  There are moments of brilliance, candor and even sentiment that illuminate these skirmishes as our chief characters deal with loses and the high stress of their current plight.

Carlos Ezquerra does a fine job on the art for the majority of the issue.  His rather unique design sense fits the world and subject matter well but there are times when his stylized pencil strokes lead to some unnecessary confusion.  Scenes become muddled as character deformities become somewhat off-putting, especially during several pivotal plot points.  Overall the work done here is passable, but I hope the visuals in future releases look a bit less chaotic.

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Garth Ennis’ Battlefields #2: The Green Fields Beyond is a tough jaunt that oozes with authenticity but lacks the gumption to make it a notable classic.  Despite that between the writing and the art this comic book still earns a solid recommendation.


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