Review: Four-Fisted Tales: Animals in Combat
Animals have been part of the human experience for tens of thousands of years. If you look around someone you know owns an animal or you may even see animals as strays in your neighborhood. We all are participants in the experience of living, humans and animals alike. The criminally under watched Warhorse details the connection between a young man gone off to war and the horse from his farm, who would see war on the frontlines as well. It made me wonder then, how often something like this has happened?
There are stories of people and animals that became turning points in different conflict all throughout the world and many of them have never been told. Ben Towle in his new book for Dead Reckoning, Four-Fisted Tales: Animals In Combat, seeks to change that narrative by introducing readers to four animals who fought as bravely as their human counterparts.
In the first tale, we find the Harlem Hellfighters camped in Argonne during WWI, finding a momentary distraction in the simplicity of glow worms. In the second tale” Jack”, we get a story about dog who fought along Union soldiers during the Civil War and was captured twice before being traded for a human Confederate soldier. In “Ships Cats”, we get a concise history of the ship’s cats of the Royal Navy, which is surprisingly is long and distinguished. In “Dolphins”, we find out about the little known secret program that the US Navy had for dolphins, using them to carry out covert missions. In “Mascots”, we find out about instances through modern warfare where animals were used as symbols of intense pride. In “Satan”, we find out how one dog not only carried messages but saved a whole infantry in France. In “Seagulls”, we find out how the Royal Navy used seagulls to find German submarines. In “Mine Detecting Rats”, we find out the Vietnamese use pouched rats to seek out landmines from the Vietnam War, which still kill inhabitants to this day. In “Wojtek”, we find out how one Syrian Brown Bear kept a Polish infantry safe and from attacks in Iraq. In “Slugs”, we find out how scientist used slugs to detect mustard gas before troop movement. In “Horses”, we get the prolific history of these majestic beasts which stretches back more than 5,000 years. In the final chapter “Carrier Pigeons”, we find out about the storied use of these animals dating back to Julius Caesar to even the Gulf War, proving their indispensability.
Overall, Four-Fisted Tales: Animals In Combat is a great graphic novel which shows how integral animals are to the war effort. The stories by Towel, is well researched, enthralling and heartfelt. The art by Towle is beautiful. Altogether, a book that will not only enlighten readers but will make you wonder why these stories have not seen the light of day until now.
Story: Ben Towle Art: Ben Towle
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review