REVIEW: ‘68 Scars #2 (of 4)

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A rescue mission downriver goes FUBAR in this month’s blood soaked issue of ’68 Scars.

’68 Scars #2 (of 4)
Writer: Mark Kidwell
Artist: Nat Jones
Letterer: Jason Arthur
Colorist: Jay Fotos
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in ’68 Scars: The year is 1968 and the Vietnam War is raging…raging with zombies. The spread of communism is the last thing the troops need to worry about as they fight tooth to nail for survival against hoards of zombies and relentless Viet Cong soldiers.

JUST ADD ZOMBIES

Every publisher (and a straight-to-DVD movie) seems to have tried the ‘just add zombies!’ approach to coming up with a story. Luckily for us, Mark Kidwell took a more interesting approach with this series. Yes, he’s added zombies to a historical event (which could have been very formulaic), but zombies aren’t the focus. In fact, they seem somewhat like an after-thought, and that is what makes this story stand out to me as being genuinely original.

Most zombie stories leave their protagonists on the run, living in fear of zombie attacks. However, ’68 Scars gives us a refreshing look into a world that has already gone to hell and then the zombies show up. Our soldiers seem unshaken by the hoards of undead and are more concerned about outsmarting the Viet Cong soldiers that seem to be gaining ground every day.

From battle scarred vets to a pencil pusher on his first field operation, the writer presents relatable characters who are much more proactive and level headed then what you’d expect in a zombie story. Its unclear who has been written into the story to use as cannon fodder and who is there to be a true protagonist, because in the end, it appears that no one is safe in Kidwell’s twisted zombie tale.

The writer helps to keep the story grounded by beginning and ending each issue with an elderly New York couple dealing with the zombie infestation. Helping to remind us that our protagonists may not have anything to come home to after all the madness is done. This gives some major insight into why these characters are still fighting a war while surrounded by the undead.

The supplementary materials in the back of this issue has some really interesting facts that give the story additional depth. Also, a handy map of Vietnam gives you some context to where all the events are occurring.

GORE! GORE! GORE!

Jones and Fotos do a phenomenal job of illustrating this blood-spattered tour of Vietnam. The duo brings this gritty gore-fest to life with panel after panel of quick, hard lines and murky palette that reflect the dimness of the situation. The art is purposefully sloppy and though some panels seem underdone, the overall style is fits perfectly.

And did I mention the blood? The team does an excellent job of making the blood explode off the page as the mission gets deadlier and deadlier. Two thumbs up for some very impressive gore.

BOTTOM LINE: MUST READ!

Believable characters, non-formulaic storyline, and lots of zombie action make this book a must read. This series definitely stands out as a refreshing, original take on the zombie apocalypse. If you’re a fan of monsters and war stories, I highly suggest you pick this up!
5 out of 5 Stars!

Rating: ★★★★★