I’ve never been a fan of war comics and ‘Men of War’ #1 does absolutely nothing to change that. Sure. I’ve always liked ‘G.I. Joe’ and ‘Weird War Tales’ but those are more sci-fi and fantasy fare than real military books. ‘Men of War’, with the exception of one scene, is pretty much a straight up realistic book. It’s a continuation of a short-lived series that ran for only 26 issues in the late ‘70s.
[Warning: Restricted access. Spoilers below. Authorized personnel only.]
This first issue is made up of two separate stories. The first story begins with the story of Corporal Rock. Rock is military grunt who, to the dismay of some of his superiors, has no desire to move up the ranks. It opens with Rock blacking out in the middle of a battlefield before flashing back to show us how he got there. To begin, we get four pages of dialogue as an Army General grills Rock and introduces him to a Sergeant who has selected Rock for a special mission because of his leadership skills in battle. Cut to the mission as Rock and his troops parachute into enemy territory. As they parachute, they see a man soaring over the battlefield that appears as a red and blue streak. (Superman?) The super-powered man smashes up some enemy soldiers and tanks before being attacked by another flying person. Rock’s team can’t get a good look at the super-people as they are moving too fast. When one of the superhumans smashes into the building where Rock and his team are positioned, the story wraps back around to the start as Rock begins to black out. It wasn’t a bad story and the superhuman element piqued my interest a bit, but it really wasn’t my cup of tea so I won’t speak on the quality. If you like war stories, you’ll probably like it. The artwork is definitely a plus. It harkens back to some of the classic works of Joe Kubert, best known for his work on the original Sgt. Rock stories of the 1950s.
The second tale, titled “Navy Seals: Human Shields” is less interesting than the first. It follows, appropriately, a group of Navy Seals in the middle of enemy territory. A sniper has shot one of the soldiers in an attempt to draw the rest of the team out of cover. The soldiers retreat indoors only to find a young girl with a machinegun in hand. Thankfully, this story is shorter than the Corporal Rock tale. The story isn’t as well written as the first and artwork here does its job but it isn’t as nice to look at as the previous story either.
It’s hard to judge a comic like ‘Men of War’ since I’m not a fan of the genre but I think that the mark of a great book is if it can pull you in regardless of the genre. It should be about characters that you connect with and feel for. ‘Men of War’ #1 just didn’t do that for me.
MEN OF WAR #1
Written by IVAN BRANDON and JONATHAN VANKIN
Art by TOM DERENICK and PHIL WINSLADE
Cover by VICTOR KALVACHEV