Underrated: Brit: Old Soldiers

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Brit: Old Soldier.

I’m going to assume you know who Robert Kirkman is, and what his two most well known properties are. But before he became known as the creator of The Walking Dead and Invincible, or even after, Kirkman created comics that haven’t garnered the same raving obsession as TWD. One of these is a comic about an indestructible octogenarian who has been the secret weapon of the US government for decades. Set in the same world as Invincible and Wolfman (though the latter is also an underrated book, and you likely haven’t had chance to read it). I’m talking about Brit: Old Soldier.

I picked up the trade from my LCS on a whim. It looked kinda cool, almost had an Old Man Logan vibe to the character, and I was curious about a guy who may or may not be immortal (whether Brit is or isn’t immortal, he’s certainly indestructible), and seeing how Kirkman handled the guy. Plus, this specific volume looked like it was a standalone story as I flipped through it quickly, which is always a good thing when you’re looking to pick up a trade paperback just for the sake of reading. I’ve since realized that Brit has also seen a continuation of the original miniseries, but that’s not what we’re talking about today.

No today, we’re talking about the first trade, a complete story in and of itself that stands alone as a violently humorous and at time darkly funny comic.

Brit: Old Soldier is a comic set in the same world as another of Kirkman’s creations, but you don’t need to be overly familiar with Invincible to enjoy the subject of today’s column. It’ll give you an additional layer to peel away, but the story doesn’t hinge on you knowing Everything.

Like I said, this is a standalone book. A complete story in and of itself.

Brit: Old Soldier is one of those comics that takes you entirely by surprise. You have reasonable expectations going in based on the creative team and the synopsis, but the end result proves to be a sum greater than its parts. There’s an oddly funny and heartwarming soul to this story that rears its head between the other blood drenched pages depicting Brit in action.

Interestingly, we see Brit use his ability in some unique ways; for despite being indestructible, he doesn’t have super strength (although he isn’t constrained by his muscles or bones tearing if he punches and lifts things). This leads to at least one fight where Brit emerges victorious using some rather unconventional tactics that wouldn’t work for most other comic book characters.

Brit is the subject of this weeks’ Underrated because when stacked next to The Walking Dead and Invincible it’s easy to overlook this book on the shelves of your LCS. If it’s even there. Do yourself a favour, the next time you’re looking for a popcorn action comic with heart, look for Brit.

Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.