By Jason Aaron, Cameron Stewart, and Dave McCaig; Vertigo Comics
As a Canadian born in the late '80s, the Vietnam War seems crazy and weird. I grew up with the narrative that it was a misguided thing, and that the American soldiers involved were victims and poorly equipped for the nightmare they were thrust into. I grew up with media littered with tales of these broken soldiers, in awful places, doing awful things, and then ignobly returning home. What was lacking, though, was any discussion from the side of the Northern Vietnamese, the people who had very legitimate reasons for resisting and fighting the American invaders. The Other Side is a comic that strives to tell the stories of both sides of the Vietnam War. The comic contrasts the now familiar story of Bill Everette, a draftee from Alabama who goes through a full-metal-jacket-esque trajectory, with Vo Binh Dai, an impoverished, but patriotic youth from Northern Vietnam who volunteers to protect his homeland. And the contrast here is stark, between the valiant patriotic Dai sacrificing and sacrificing and sacrificing for his family, and Bill forced to fight in a war he doesn’t give two fucks about in an army that doesn’t care about him and for a nation that isn’t really invested in the conflict. The Other Side unflinchingly portrays the excesses and horrors and courage of both sides’ soldiers, but overall paints a picture where all of the soldiers are tragic victims of American Imperialism. It's a sad, and horrific, and very effective comic.
Word count: 245