Garth Ennis’ Battlefields is not your typical comic book series.  It’s not a glorification of war or violence, and it certainly isn’t meant to depict that time period as the Good Ol’ Days.  Instead, Battlefields: Dear Billy #3 demonstrates the impact war has on the individual and how they deal with it.

dearbilly3cover.jpgEver since her return to the world, after suffering atrocities at the hands of the Japanese during World War II, Carrie Sutton has slowly found ways of coping with those who wronged her.  It began with the killing of the Japanese prisoners of war in the hospital where she worked, making the deaths appear to be normal.  This worked for a while, and satiated her desire to kill those that hurt her.

When she met Billy, readers could see her blood lust grow, and this issue really shows how far down the road she’s gone to inflict pain on others.  Instead of shying away from the graphically violent stories of Billy and his crew gunning down boatloads of Japanese soldiers and blowing them out of the water with bombs and rockets, she wants to hear every detail.  While Ennis portrays the conversation between the men as typical chit-chat over drinks, it’s a bit creepy as readers see Carrie hanging on every word.

As the lovers meetings become more infrequent, word of the war campaign moving from Europe to Japan causes  a look of shock on Carrie’s face when she learns the war could last another year or more.  From the pure art perspective, her look at first appears to be a look of dismay that she and Billy may not be able to be together as often, but when one takes into account the pleasure she gets from hearing of the deaths of the Japanese, her look of shock turns into one of elation.

I’m sure we’ve all had a dislike of certain people – I’ll be the first to admit that there are those that I’d just as soon punch in the face than have to work with on a daily basis.  While my dislike for some people is very strong, I’ve never taken pleasure in the suffering of others.  Carrie is not like you and me.  Even though she’s shocked at the destructive power of the first atomic bomb being dropped, she virtually gets off on the number who have died, and can’t wait for the Allies to plunder the nation.

That is until the after war plan is revealed.

I’ve ended up having to do projects with those that I dislike.  During those times, I’ve been able to put aside my dislike for that person to get the project done, and I’ve done it without complaint.  Often, my dislike for that person changes to the point where I can actually see that person’s point of view, and I’ve even become friends with those I once considered my enemy.

When Billy reveals the Allies plans to help Japan rebuild, in hopes of becoming an ally with the country as a buffer against the Russians, it’s way too much for Carrie, and causes a huge argument with Billy when he tells her, “Now, we must to love them, Carrie.”

I mentioned during the last review that Dear Billy is very much a goodbye letter to the man Carrie Sutton has fallen in love with.  But instead of the typical Dear John letter, where the relationship is ended abruptly without long drawn out conversations, Carrie ends the relationship in a most dramatic way.  It is shocking, but considering her alternative, it is the only way out for her.    Sometimes, endings like this one are telegraphed pages in advance, however, this time I was taken by surprise.  It is sickening and sad at the same time, but also a brilliant way to show the horrors of war from a very different perspective.  Ennis and and artist Peter Snejbjerg don’t sugar coat the death and violence in the issue, and if you can stomach such things, it is a story that leaves you thinking for a while, instead of bounding off to the next superhero romp.  Battlefields: Dear Billy #3 packs a wallop, and deserves 4.5 out of 5 Stars.



About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. At the end of last issue, readers knew that this story was not going to end well and this issue hit so much harder than I thought it would. Its hard to recommend such a devestating comic book, but this is one that has to be read. The Battlefield minis have become must reads for me, and I’m looking forward to the next one.

  2. I cant say enough about this series so far. It’s only been 2 minis but its just great comic writing and wartime drama.

    Its just awesome

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