Modern attitudes to war are much broader and less sympathetic and Azzarello does a great job of reminding us war is hell. The opening pages take place amidst a sea of bodybags and the downbeat mood sets the tone of the piece.
The story is a tense drama that’s deals will the killing of prisoners. It is set against the backdrop of the Battle of Hürtgen Forest in 1944. This provides a good historical and emotional account of the longest single battle the U.S. Army has ever fought.
This is a good introduction to someone who has never read any Sgt Rock as we see Rock and fellow Easy Company members doing what they have always done. Azzarello treats the characters and mythos with respect as well as telling a gripping story.
The art is by Joe Kubert, lifeling Rock artist and one of his creators. This modern tale uses a softer palette and ink washes which are perfect for the wintery landscapes. There are a lot of silent panels which really get a chance to show you what war is like better than any dialogue.
Between Hell & A Hard Place was a story released in 2003 as a six issue mini-series. This Vertigo Resurrected title reproduces the first three issues and two classic stories that deal with Rock’s origin and that of Terry O’Riley “the ice cream soldier.” As well as providing some context and background for the characters in the main story these also show you the different art and story styles from decades ago.