With the New 52 comes a lot of spandex wearing superheroes, but that is not the case for Men of War. Instead, Ivan Brandon brings us a hard hitting war comic that features Corporal Rock’s defiant attitude, military banter, and a lot of action.
In the opening scene we find Corporal Rock in an office with two of his superior officers. Their purpose is to figure out why Corporal Rock is not progressing to the rank of Sergeant when skillfully he qualified (the answer simple, Rock does not want). The military banter exchanged in this scene captures the tension between Rock and the officers (especially Sgt. Torisi) pretty well. My father was in the army for twenty two years and let me tell you arguments between officers are never quiet affairs. Brandon made a wise decision to show us what other officers thought of Rock before having a chance to develop our own opinions. This allows us to identify with Rock immediately, which is important in a reboot.
Once we leave the office, we jump right into the action, guns blazing. What was supposed to be a silent hostage rescue mission, turns into an explosive supernatural event. Brandon introduce us to a superhuman, depicted by a stream of red and blue color, mid battle. This subtle introduction was the x-factor in the issue. It was able to take a seemingly average war comic and kick it up a notch by giving the genre a much needed twist.
As far as the artwork is concerned, Derenick and Wilson do an excellent job capturing the grittiness of war. Derenick provides very rugged lines that captures the intense action and brings out the agitated expressions of Rock and his men. Wilson is on point with usage of colors. He has the ability to capture the eerie darkness of night while opening the panels with piercing brown, yellow, and orange explosions.
After the main feature, there is the first of a three part back-up story by Jonathan Vankin and Phil Winslade. Unlike Brandon and Derenick, they did not create an exciting war story. Vankin’s entire script seemed forced and rather generic. The military lingo was over the top and the plot felt like it was taken out of an early 21st century war flick. As for Winslade, he does nothing to help Vankin. If anything his artwork is another reason why this back-up story is just an average war comic.
In the end, this reboot is filled with enough action to make you duck for cover. Even if you are not a fan of this genre, Brandon provides a informative introduction to Corporal Rock and give readers enough reasons to pick up the second issue.
WRITING: 3 / ART: 3 / OVERALL: 3