by Garth Ennis (writer), Carlos Ezquerra (pencils), Hector Ezquerra (inks), Tony Avina (colors), and Simon Bowland (letters)

The Story: Our tankies continue to try to find a company to rendezvous with in the midst of an increasingly poorly organized war effort.

The Good: The series once again does a great job of detailing the vulnerability of WWII’s metal monsters. Instead of just seeing them blow stuff up, we get a real sense of “the metal coffin.” This is best dealt with by Ennis in his observations on technological escalation. In focusing on the innovation of the tank destroyer, Ennis details the marvels of technology that arose from the war as well as the marvels that are so very fleeting; a new tank is only king of the battlefield for ten minutes before a new tactic/weapon renders it vulnerable and obsolete.

Ennis also again successfully displays the heartrending realities of war and the  bittersweet nature of victory on the battlefield. The surprisingly victorious “last stand” in this issue was definitely the highpoint of this comic. Even when pulling victory from the jaws of defeat, celebration is marred by inescapable tragedy.

Meanwhile, Ennis again has a great deal of fun displaying the different British accents as well as the non-chalant British gentleman-officer’s attitude to war, both of which provide a lightly humorous, if not ludicrous tone.

Ezquerra’s art is definitely growing on me. His work is super detailed, lending itself well to the different models of tanks and the soldiers’ uniforms. Of course, having such a detail-oriented style also suits battlefield carnage quite well. Ezquerra displays his brilliance in drawing whole packs of men getting shot down or lying dead on the blood-soaked battlefield. It’s nothing less than appalling, and I mean that in the best way possible.

The Not-So-Good: You know up above, where I wrote what “the story” of this issue was?  That was actually surprisingly difficult for me to come up with. Ennis seems to have fallen prey to his own efforts of displaying the carnage of war, resulting in a distinct lack of any real plot. At this point, with the comic flashing between several units which we may or may not have seen before, it’s murky at best. What little plot there is isn’t exactly moving either, as our tankies’ attempt to join up with another unit is still ongoing, as this issue just, well, sees them driving around some more.  That said, you won’t notice this stagnation because it’s a struggle to even find the major plot thread. So what the hell is going on? Who are all these other units we keep seeing and what do they  have to do with our tankies? None of it is clear.

It’s not only the plot that suffers, however. The characters were weak last issue and we get even less character development this month. Honestly, I don’t even know the names of two-thirds of the characters. I feel like I barely know them and none feel like major characters who I should genuinely care about. Even the tank’s corporal, with his funny accent, is little more than a cliched “hard-bitten veteran” with little nuance.

Conclusion: Considering how awesome “Dear, Billy” was, this limited series is a little disappointing.  It’s not bad, it just lacks the depth of the previous two Battlefields stories.

Grade: C

-Alex Evans

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