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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, Evil, Angels, Nazis, What More Could One Want?, 6 Nov 2006
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Light Brigade TP (Paperback)
That most elemental of struggles, Good vs. Evil, gets the cross-genre treatment in this WWII-set comic collection about battling angels and avatars. The story opens on December 17, 1944, somewhere in the Belgian forests, where we meet a small unit of U.S. infantrymen dug into a snow-covered cemetery. Among them are comic-book fan Simon, battle-weary Mark, soul-deadened Chris (whose wife was killed in a car crash and son is in foster care), and whole passel of fairly interchangeable GIs. Veterans of D-Day, this band of brothers has seen it all -- until they are overrun by a much larger unit of Germans who apparently continue to function just fine even with half their heads shot away. Some of the GIs escape this massacre and hole up in an abandoned farmhouse, where their rest is interrupted by an overhead duel between two angels. Yep, angels.

The gist of the premise is that a set of angels (the Grigori) were charged by God with watching over his human creations. However, the Grigori eventually succumbed to the sins of the flesh to produce mixed-breed humans called Nephillim. God was angered and decided to smote them all with the great flood and start again from scratch. Alas, the smoting wasn't quite up to normal God-like standards and some of the Grigori and Nephillim survived. These survivors swore to take their revenge and have spent millennia working toward that goal. All of this is related by the good archangel, who basically brainwashes the GIs into trying to stop Evil from triumphing. It seems that the Germans encountered by the GIs are Nephillim and are led by the last surviving Grigori. He posses the "Sword of God" and needs only to bathe it in the fire of the "True Cross" in order to become invincible.

Since the "True Cross" happens be housed in a nearby monastery, the story turns into a race, as the GIs must beat the Germans there and mount a stand against Evil with the help of the monks. There are some excellent little episodes en route, such as a tangle with some Germans in disguise, and the liberation of a munitions factory. After this, things go rather conventionally, although one of the GIs has a rather intriguing past which comes into play. The final third of the book revolves around the last stand at the monastery, and follows the conventions of the shrinking heroic stand.

For the most part, the book is fairly engaging and well-paced. Peter Snejbjerg's artwork is compelling and well-suited to the material, and the numerous action scenes are very well-handled. (It should be noted that some of the scenes are quite bloody and gory.) Given that so much of the story takes place at night or in the dark, special mention should be made of Bjarne Hansen's thoughtful coloring. The story is interesting in that few comics explicitly invoke things like God, angels, the true cross, etc., and one could see it having a lot of appeal based on that. However, one can also interpret the material more subversively by noting that God's attempted extermination of the Grigori and Nephillim mirrors the Holocaust. Even more problematic, the archangel essentially brainwashes the GIs into fighting evil instead of letting them choose to do so of their own free will. All in all, worth checking out, especially if you like WWII as a setting.
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Light Brigade
Light Brigade by Peter J Tomasi (Hardcover - 8 April 2014)
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