Category Archives: eduardo ponticelli

Review – Unknown Soldier #11 (Vertigo, 2009)

Jack Lee Howl returns, drunk, calling in favours, as an ‘enabler’ to Moses, in time for a showdown at the benefit dinner in Moses name Militants with murder on their mind. There, at the Benefit will be Margaret Wells, the American actress and campaigner, who is a target for assassination at the hands of the Militants who would use the instability caused by her death to push their own agenda. Meanwhile, ghosts from Moses past reappear, and Sara battles her own ghosts….

The art is exquisite – whether it be a panel showing the plains of Africa, the dusty villages or the big city, or even a perspective from above a helicopter as it strafes the land, they are all cinematic and beautifully realised.

The story (‘Easy Kill’) is building up to a pulsating finale, and the tension is palpable – the little details again astound, like the assassin, in a roof space, preparing for his deadly work, engage you and drive the narrative. There is nothing ‘hard’ to understand about this story, despite the political backdrop – and that is testament to Dysart and Ponticelli – when Dysart needs a point to be made, it doesn’t need to be laboured, as Ponticelli can simply illustrate it with subtlety.

So, next time, a bloody showdown in a hotel looms. Dysart manages to put his point across, about the state of Uganda, the terrible war there, the state of some African countries and the first worlds involvement in it, without it ever being a polemic, or dreary. This is a big story, with a widescreen, cinematic approach, with the dynamics of a (good) big budget action movie. A title of the week, a title of the month, and a title that will probably go down as one of the greats.

Review – Unknown Soldier #8 (Vertigo, 2009)

Another dark and furious issue, kicking off the new ‘Easy Kill’ arc. As audacious a storyline that you are ever likely to find in a comic book, here Moses Lwanga (aka The Unknown Soldier) is propositioned by a new activist group to carry out the brutal killing of an American Actress whose charitable works in Africa are noted. A veiled reference to Jolie or Madonna? Her death could be attributed to the LRA (Lords Resistance Army, comprised of press-ganged Child Soldiers), and their leader become a pariah, hunted and eventually destroyed. The argument, to persuade Moses to carry out the deed, is that the sacrifice of one individual could dramatically relieve the suffering of the many – that cold blooded murder can be justified when extreme times call for an extreme response. It is a fascinating argument, one that no doubt will be examined fully in the issues to come.

That is not all – in this issue we get to see the terror and misery of those most likely to be exploited and abused in this conflict – the children. Dysart and Ponticelli pull no punches, and Moses’ attack on the LRA early on in the issue is astounding in its determination to show a truth that the Western / First world have no comprehension of. Some of it is hard to read at times – its a brutal, bloody read, political, angry and focussed. This arc is threatening to be a classic. I believe the title itself already is a classic.

Review – Unknown Soldier #7 (Vertigo, 2009)

Issue 7 of the Dysart / Ponticelli thriller ‘Unknown Soldier’ is a ‘jumping on’ issue, with a new arc beginning next month. Intended as a break point to get new readers on board, this works toward that purpose while entertaining those that regularly read it. New situations, new characters but the quality, as ever, is very high indeed

After the glorious 6 issue initial arc of ‘Unknown Soldier’, it is with great pleasure that I read issue 7 and really felt the storyline opening up. I didn’t think that was possible, as the title already encompasses issues of War, Religion, Africa, the exploitation of children, Morality and the Western Worlds role in the third world.

With the introduction of new characters, a look at the north-south divide in Uganda (it exists)and touching on the importance of the spirit world, there is enough to be happy about. All that, and there is also time to look back at Moses troubled past and his vengeful, fearsome present. These sections allow us to look deeper at the character, understand his motivations. The art alludes to his almost supernatural power, the writing makes similar connections. This book has the quality, style and depth to be a classic – I have said it before, I say it again. Do not deny yourself the chance to experience a comic book that will educate and entertain, appall and horrify, enlighten and uplift. Vital stuff, this – as important and brilliant a comic book as you will get this year. It demands your attention.