Unknown Soldier

Unknown Soldier 25 (December 2010)

For a moment, I thought Dysart had lost his mind and was going to do some kind of Inglourious Basterds wish fulfillment kind of thing. Instead, I suppose… he makes Moses’s failure a success for his personal humanity. It’s hard to say. I estimate Dysart had about twenty more issues before coming to a conclusion […]

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Unknown Soldier 24 (November 2010)

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but it appears Dysart might take the series in a wholly different direction than I assumed to finish it off. Here, Moses (or whoever Moses was) meets the Unknown Soldier (I really didn’t expect the series to tie in to the original character, but Dysart does it nicely) and […]

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Unknown Soldier 23 (October 2010)

Yeah, this is not going to end well. If for no other reason… Joseph Kony is still alive. Of course, whether Unknown Soldier went on as long as initially intended (I think all Vertigo series have a finite intention, don’t they?), Kony would still be alive. So, even though the series was cancelled prematurely, Dysart’s […]

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Unknown Soldier 22 (September 2010)

A strange issue. It’s Sera’s issue, maybe the one I’ve been waiting for since she showed up again a few issues back. It’s also the first issue of the series’s final arc, so it’s interesting to see how Dysart’s going to handle it. Ponticelli takes a new approach, mixing his old and new styles of […]

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Unknown Soldier 21 (August 2010)

This issue, which Dysart tells from an omniscient first person point of view of an AK-47, might be the perfect example of the comic book medium’s narrative potential. I cannot think of any other medium where such a story could be told. Without the visuals, it would not work, so prose is out. As a […]

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Unknown Soldier 20 (July 2010)

It’s sort of a mellow issue. It’s an all action issue, with Moses on the run from some cattle raiders. He meets up with this family also on the run from them and the family gets stuck helping Moses try to fend them off. What’s mellow about the issue is Dysart’s approach–it’s told from the […]

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Unknown Soldier 19 (June 2010)

Once again, Dysart does the unexpected. This issue picks up exactly where the last one left off, only the last issue made it seem like he wasn’t going to concentrate on showing the big battle scene. But he does. In fact, there are three two page spreads in this issue. It’s the most action I […]

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Unknown Soldier 18 (May 2010)

Huh. Dysart finishes the arc without giving the action payoff I was expecting (I was also expecting another issue of the arc). It seems he’s saying goodbye to Paul too, after giving the kid a really rough lesson or two this issue in futility. Moses learns a similar lesson and ends the story in a […]

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Unknown Soldier 17 (April 2010)

Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting that ending. I think this arc runs five issues and Dysart is three in–and wrapping up some of the revelations–so I was wondering how he was going to keep it going. He’s keeping it going by turning the entire comic on its head. Turning Moses into an unreliable narrator–who isn’t […]

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Unknown Soldier 16 (March 2010)

It’s kind of a mystery story and kind of not. Moses is very active this issue, but not in his usual way. Instead, he’s back to being a doctor, back to letting his concern for people effect his actions. I know this arc isn’t the last one, but it feels like Dysart is trying to […]

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Unknown Soldier 15 (February 2010)

I’d heard about this arc. I’d heard it’s gradual and deliberate. Ponticelli changes his style a little. His lines are muted. Coupled with Moses’s narration, Unknown Soldier feels very far away, very dreamlike. Moses’s narration brings the reader up to speed (it’s possibly a letter to his wife) and, basically, he’s loitered around the village […]

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Unknown Soldier 14 (January 2010)

In some ways, this issue is one of Unknown Soldier’s least depressing–Paul gets a good ending (at least for this issue) and Moses gets a chance at some relief. But it’s somehow even more depressing, because Dysart gives Moses this chance to reflect, to think about himself and what he has done and will do. […]

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Unknown Soldier 13 (December 2009)

I think I was unprepared for Unknown Soldier after the lighter fare I’ve been reading lately. Dysart’s doing a two-parter following up on the kid Moses brought to the school. Now, I’m assuming Dysart researched it, so when the school sets the kids loose on each other in a war game–which really messes some of […]

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Unknown Soldier 12 (November 2009)

This issue is probably the most straightforward, action-packed thriller issue of the series so far. And, wow, does Dysart really ruin any visceral thrill. He manages to remove all the excitement from it, turning every success into failure, making every mistake a fated inevitability–Moses’s weaknesses doom him to those mistakes… and the issue ends with […]

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Unknown Soldier 11 (October 2009)

Well, the kid is definitely not Robin. He’s apparently gone for now. Eleven issues in and Dysart’s back to basics a little–it’s strange to refer to the return of the first six issue’s principal characters as “back to basics,” but I suppose it’s only natural in the era of story arcs and trade-waiting. Moses, Sera, […]

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Unknown Soldier 10 (September 2009)

In this issue’s conclusion, Dysart juxtaposes the bickering of adults–sure, it’s dramatic and violent, but they’re arguing over ideas–with children making friends with each other. It’s a profound little moment, creation versus destruction. It might be the most profound moment in Unknown Soldier so far. There’s a lot Dysart can go wrong with this issue, […]

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Unknown Soldier 9 (August 2009)

Dysart gives ex-CIA guy almost the entire issue. His name’s Jack, which I can’t believe I forgot. This issue is both prequel and sequel to the previous one, following Jack instead of Moses. What’s neat–I may have made this observation before–is how Jack is less easy for the reader to identify with than Moses. At […]

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Unknown Soldier 8 (July 2009)

Hmm. I wonder if anyone’s told Angelina Jolie about Unknown Soldier, specifically the idea she’s help Africa a lot more by being murdered…. Jolie’s Unknown Solider stand-in shows up for a minute this issue, but the plot to kill her is introduced a little later. Moses has hooked up with some pan-African freedom fighters and […]

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Unknown Soldier 7 (June 2009)

This issue is something of a texture piece. While it does further the story (Moses gets a radio and a translator by the end while starting the issue with neither), it’s really about someone else. The issue’s protagonist is a college student who returns home, only he’s returning home to a war zone. He makes […]

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Unknown Soldier 6 (May 2009)

The conclusion to the first arc is beyond depressing. It’s not just depressing because it showcases the futility of Moses’s quest (before the quest even starts), but because everything is revealed, in the end, to be futile. The good Moses has done is all for nought. And the character accepts it and moves forward because […]

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Unknown Soldier 5 (April 2009)

Now I’m confused. Not because I don’t remember this issue from the last time I read it, but because Dysart’s finally revealing little glimpses at the secret behind the “voice.” Something happened to the good doctor, letting him become the killing machine… and the Unknown Soldier has something to do with it. Not the Unknown […]

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Unknown Soldier 4 (March 2009)

Dysart starts tying his two narratives (between the CIA operative and his protagonist) together here. He opens with the CIA guy, set before the end of the previous issue and continues, again, from before the last issue ended, showing a different point of view of the situation (it’s the bad guys’ perspective–bad guys being the […]

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Unknown Soldier 3 (February 2009)

Dysart deals with it–and has been since the first issue–but really… Unknown Soldier‘s going to have limited appeal. It doesn’t matter if it’s more action packed than Rambo, it’s a story where the hero does good by killing children (soldiers, but still children). There aren’t going to be any movie adaptations here… no summer event […]

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Unknown Soldier 2 (January 2009)

The second issue is a little more traditional. Dysart uses a roaming third person narrator, jumping into his protagonist’s head when he’s with him, staying out of the supporting cast members’ heads when he’s with them. Now, the meat of the story arc is developing. Dysart introduces the old CIA guy, which sort of shows […]

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Unknown Soldier 1 (December 2008)

The most striking thing, reading Unknown Soldier again, is how much Dysart gets done in the first issue. I know where it goes, so reading it for the first time I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate it as much as I do this time. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was great after […]

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