This issue is probably the most straightforward, action-packed thriller issue of the series so far.
And, wow, does Dysart really ruin any visceral thrill.
He manages to remove all the excitement from it, turning every success into failure, making every mistake a fated inevitability–Moses’s weaknesses doom him to those mistakes… and the issue ends with this startling image of the bandaged Moses downing some liquor from the bottle.
It’s a particularly strange ending because I have no idea what it means for the main character. Sure, Dysart’s established he and Jack work better as a team than Moses does alone, but there’s nothing else. It’s all, in the end, about Sera. She becomes the protagonist–Dysart moves her from subject to protagonist.
It’s a deft move and one maybe singular to the comic book medium. Like all the best work, Unknown Soldier makes one think about its form.
Easy Kill, Conclusion; writer, Joshua Dysart; artist, Alberto Ponticelli; colorist, Oscar Celestini; letterer, Clem Robins; editor, Pornsak Pichetshote; publisher, Vertigo.
Well, the kid is definitely not Robin. He’s apparently gone for now.
Eleven issues in and Dysart’s back to basics a little–it’s strange to refer to the return of the first six issue’s principal characters as “back to basics,” but I suppose it’s only natural in the era of story arcs and trade-waiting.
Moses, Sera, Jack and Margaret Wells are all back this issue, all of them about to collide. Here’s also the return of Moses’s white fiancée, the one he tossed over to return to his roots. The scenes with her and Sera are fantastic.
Dysart uses Sera to narrate the issue–one of my biggest comic book pet peeves is male writers using female characters as narrators. Dysart does the best job I’ve read in quite a while, if not ever.
But he’s also going cross culture, which might make it easier.
It’s another great issue.
Easy Kill, Chapter Four; writer, Joshua Dysart; artist, Alberto Ponticelli; colorist, Oscar Celestini; letterer, Clem Robins; editor, Pornsak Pichetshote; publisher, Vertigo.
In this issue’s conclusion, Dysart juxtaposes the bickering of adults–sure, it’s dramatic and violent, but they’re arguing over ideas–with children making friends with each other. It’s a profound little moment, creation versus destruction.
It might be the most profound moment in Unknown Soldier so far.
There’s a lot Dysart can go wrong with this issue, a lot of things he sets up and none of them fail.
The biggest possible failure is the face. He shows Moses talking to his wife. It’s a hallucination, but still… it’s possibly real. And Moses is fully healed, which raises the question of what is Dysart going to do with the face… it hadn’t occurred to me he might somehow fix it.
Hopefully, he doesn’t.
Then there’s Paul, the kid Moses rescued or captured a couple issues ago. Not to be glib, but I was worried he’d be Moses’s Robin.
Easy Kill, Chapter Three; writer, Joshua Dysart; artist, Alberto Ponticelli; colorist, Oscar Celestini; letterer, Clem Robins; editor, Pornsak Pichetshote; publisher, Vertigo.