COMIC BOOK REVIEW: WHITE DEATH
Historical fiction is a wonderful subgenre, and White Death is a good example of that done right.
White Death is co-written by Robbie Morrison (Judge Dredd) and Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead), illustrated by Charlie Adlard, and published by Image Comics. White Death is about Italian rifleman Pietro Aquasanta and his time when the Italian army was pushing Austro-Hungarian forces out of the Trentino mountain range. During his time there he is given the task of unleashing White Death on the Austro-Hungarians. White Death was a nickname used for avalanches that were deliberately caused by cannon fire to smother enemy forces. We also get to see Pietro’s interactions with his friends and superiors as well as soldiers from the other side.
This story does a very good job of portraying a good example of what war is really like. War nowadays has been glorified to the point that kids think it would be fun to go to war. War is not good, no matter how much fun games like Call Of Duty make it look to be. Another great thing about White Death is the main character himself, Pietro. Pietro is a fun character to watch as he develops throughout the story. Over the book we see Pietro go from being an outcast and a somewhat carefree person, to a battle hardened and ruthless product of war. White Death has a lot of heart too, and what I mean is it’s not one of those hoo-rah gruff type of war stories. There is comedy in it, and when it’s a really sad part you can truly feel it. The artwork in this story is phenomenal. The snow looks like snow and the attention to detail shows how much Morrison and Adlard cared about this story. The battle sequences are realistic in the best kind of way. They’re not stylized like, say, the battle scenes in 300. They look real and feel real, which makes them all the more hard hitting. War is not bright and fun, it is dark and depressing. Another thing I like is how White Death is a story about World War I, a war that I think doesn’t get the focus it deserves. It was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Its lack of recognition probably has to do with the glorification of World War I. Or maybe it’s because World War I is the war that nobody can glorify because of how awful it was in reality.
There is a scene in the book where Pietro find one of his friends who is serving in the Austro-Hungarian army, and you really get a sense of how much the two of them have changed because of the war. The characters thought it was funny, but I think it’s sad. What makes White Death stand out above the other war graphic novels is how it feels like the kind of graphic novel that Stanley Kubrick would have made into a movie. As I was reading I couldn’t help but notice and admire the fact that the tone of White Death is the same tone as Full Metal Jacket. White Death is also a prime example of how the comic book medium is not just for superheroes. As a connoisseur of all things comic book, I strongly believe it shouldn’t be restricted to just Spider-Man and Batman. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Spider-Man and Batman, but I also love me some graphic novels like White Death. Mature comics that deal with realistic problem and feature characters that are more relatable because they are 100% human. In short, White Death is a book every comic lover should read. Not only because it is a great book, but to start the trend of comic books becoming more all-encompassing. It’s truly wonderful and beautiful graphic novel everyone should read.
Picture via bbcimg.co.uk
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