Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Let's Have a Baby--IN A WAR ZONE!

I'll get the part that bugs me out of the way first. It's something that bugged me even when I first read this issue as a kid.

The plot (from Our Army at War #249--Sept. 1974) involves Rock and Easy Company traveling to a farm on a hilltop to defend it against an impending enemy attack. Along the way, they find a man pulling his very, very pregnant wife along in a wagon. They're heading to the same farm. It's their farm and they want to have their baby there.

Now I get that a farmer can feel a deep connection to his land. That's fine and proper and a feeling we non-farmers should respect. I get that he wants his child to be born on his farm. That's also fine and proper and something we should respect.

But his farm is currently in the middle of AN ACTIVE WAR ZONE! And all through the story, Rock asks them if they want to head for safety. Both the man and his wife consistently refuse. Rock then simply brings them along--and is even forced to detail his best sharpshooter to help deliver the baby at a key moment in the ensuing battle.

Gee whiz, Rock. I get that you want to help the couple. And, to be fair, one of the themes in the story is that the hard-core soldiers of Easy still pause to help and protect the innocent. But the set-up is awkward. The husband isn't just being loyal to his heritage. He's being an idiot who is risking the lives of his wife and baby. Rock should have called him on this and FORCED him to turn back.

But everyone simply accepts the guy's decision--even when they run into first a minefield and then an ambush on the way to the farm.

The rest of the story, though, is excellent. Russ Heath does his usual brilliant job of portraying the action, especially the battle for the farm, which unfolds a little more realistically (at least at first) than is usual in a DC war book.

The final few panels of that battle, in which Easy Company counter-attacks and drives off the Germans, is stark, brutal and memorable.

In the end, Easy holds the farm and the farmer has a daughter. Rock declares the kid to be the "luck of Easy." But the kid shouldn't have been there at all. You don't bring your wife and unborn child into a war zone. That's simply NEVER a good idea.

I do like this issue and I recommend it highly if you ever run across a copy. And, once again, I get that there's a theme of veteran soldiers still having empathy for the innocent. But I will always be a little unhappy with that farmer. Gee whiz.

Below, I'm including the page-by-page video review of the back-up story in this issue--something a few friends and I made about a year ago. We talk a little about this story at the beginning of the video.

Next week, we'll begin a multi-part look at Marvel's Shogun Warriors. Over the next few months, I plan to do sporadic posts covering all 20 issues, probably in 5-issue chunks. If those particular reviews don't interest you--don't worry.  I'll be interspersing them with other comic book reviews.

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