Wednesday, 9 April 2014

So I Read Unknown Soldier

A 250 word (or less) review of Unknown Soldier: Haunted House, Easy Kill, Dry Season, Beautiful World
by Joshua Dysart, Alberto Ponticelli, Pat Masioni, Oscar Celestini, and Jose Villarrubia; Vertigo Comics

While I think I’m a reasonably well-informed person, I really don't know much about Subsaharan Africa and the conflicts afflicting the region. I think this is typical of many North Americans. Unknown Soldier is a comic that aims to educate an ignorant Western audience about the fight against messianic-madman and insurgent leader Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army during the height of the conflict in Uganda. The comic provides an unflinching look at this truly monstrous thing, from the use of child soldiers and child sex slaves to the desperate plight of the displaced and marginalized Acholi minority in Uganda. Unknown Soldier uses the lens of Dr. Moses Lwanga, a crusading activist and doctor who returns to Uganda from the United States with the intention of building a better future. However, Dr. Lwanga is heir to a dark secret and the violence that confronts him awakens something that sends him charging into the maelstrom. It’s a brutal comic that takes a really hard, uncomfortable look at these events and attempts to make them understandable through fiction. Unknown Soldier is also an action comic that orbits some pretty engrossing mystery and drama so it's also a pretty exciting comic. Unknown Solder does suffer from a very abruptly ending that leaves story potential untapped and it, out of necessity, shows a very narrow view of life in Uganda which maybe feeds the idea of Africa as an exclusively wretched place. On balance, it's an interesting and informative comic well worth reading.

Word count: 250

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