Sgt. Rock: Between Hell & A Hard Place #2 (Vertigo Resurrected) – Brian Azzarello & Joe Kubert

Sgt. Rock Between Hell & A Hard Place 2This concluding part continues the great work established in the first book. Things do get more complex, as just when you are thinking the Germans were nothing more than faceless uniforms they start to talk. Things do get a bit Noir and then more philosophical than you were expecting which does disorientate you a bit.

Comics are filled with violence and even death but there is something about a war comic that makes the suffering endured by real people seem more tangible. It is the courage shown by those without superpowers which is the most valuable and most relatable.

The art is just as good as ever with the visuals, whilst appearing simple, conveying a lot of emotion and atmosphere.

We have another two classic stories from the Rock cannon. How the Sarge got his stripes and the arrival of “the wall.” Both are typical of their time and have a much faster pace than the superbly told Azzarello story.

This volume doesn’t have the historical chapter heading of the previous volume which is an opportunity lost.

Still a Thumbs Up!

Sgt. Rock: Between Hell & A Hard Place #1 (Vertigo Resurrected) – Brian Azzarello & Joe Kubert

Sgt. Rock Between Hell & A Hard Place 1Brian Azzarello, best known for his award winning series 100 Bullets, takes the reins of an iconic character from DC’s past and does an outstanding job with a WWII mystery drama.

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.

Thumbs Up!