Tag Archives: nick bertozzi

Review: The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan

Anyone who has been in the military and been on deployment, all have different experiences. Most people who are not or never have been in the military would even know, that there is a good number of military members who have never been and will never be on deployment. For those of who have been, we always get these pre-deployment briefings, letting us know what can we expect. This is where we find out where we are going, what is our mission and the expected length of the deployment.

There is a ton of things that most of these briefings, don’t tell you, and the main thing to me, has always been PTSD. There is nothing like when you are somewhere public, with people doing normal things, and certain things just trigger you, and it is nothing you can explain to your family and/or friends. Only people who have been deployed, can truly understand what you go through, and not everyone gets PTSD, but enough of us do, and most keep it under control but those unfortunate souls, who can’t, suffer the most and may pay the ultimate price. In The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan, writer Bryan Doerries brings you to a world, which finds parallels between Homer’s Odyssey and those of most military members on deployment, where most of these characters suffer from some form of PTSD.

Within the first few pages, the reader and is introduced to Sgt. Jack Brennan. whose infantry squad has been cleared to go back home, but he wants them to know a few things. This is where he tells his men the story of Odysseus, even embellishing part of the original story, for them to relate it things he and them have encountered in war and at home. As the story moves forward, the reader realizes even though the story is familiar, just how affecting, PTSD has always been, as Homer spoke of it in various ways through the Odyssey. By the end of the book, the back and forth narrative between the infantry squad’s story and the Odyssey, leaves the readers the same place these men want to be… home.

Overall, an excellent story,that draws comparisons between modern military deployments and those of ancient times. The story by Doerries, is smart, affecting, and emotional, as it reminded me of scenes from my own life. The art by Ruliffson, Jones, Andersen, Meconis, and Bertozzi, is seamless and complements the story. Altogether, an important book, that may serve as a primer for those with family members who are in the military and for a better understanding of PTSD.

Story: Bryan Doerries
Art: Jess Ruliffson, Joelle Jones, Justine Mara Andersen, Dylan Meconis and Nick Bertozzi
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review – Jerusalem: A Family Portrait

jerusalemIsrael and the city of Jerusalem has been the subject of numerous graphic novels over recent years. The land, and the people who inhabit it, has a history that spans thousands of years. And that history is so rich, it seems that only visuals provided by graphic novels can really do it justice.

This April sees the latest release to take on the subject, Jerusalem: A Family Portrait is by Boaz Yakin and Nick Bertozzi and published by First Second. The think graphic novel is based on the experiences of Yakin’s own family. It’s a sweeping look at the founding of Israel through the eyes of one family. This graphic novel tells the story of three generations and fifteen very different people as they are swept up in chaos, war, and nation-making from 1940 to 1948. Faith, family, and politics are all put to the test during this challenging time when nothing is clear and no parth was smooth. Yakin’s family lived in what was at the time Palestine during this period and were caught up in the turmoil of war and the founding of a nation, just as his characters are.

The comic feels like an epic miniseries you’d find on PBS. At times it’s dry and slow, but this is a slow story about family and the growth of one thrust upon the backdrop of the founding of Israel. The graphic novel is think spanning years and so many characters to keep track of it’s easy to get lost.

But, the overall package is worth it. It’s from the point of view of people that were there, but at the same time, this isn’t a propaganda piece defiantly taking on one side. There’s lots of nuance here as to who is right and who is wrong, that’s between those battling as well as within the family.

This is a work of art mixed with historical fiction. There’s a lot here, and a lot of small details and experiences that aren’t part of the history we’re presented with regularly. For that, it’s a great way to dive in and get a different perspective of those events 70 years ago.

This is a prime example that shows comics aren’t just super heroes and tights. They’ve grown up, much like the nation this one tells about. This is a piece of history presented in an easy to digest form.

Definitely should be on everyone’s “to read” list and I imagine will be on many “best of” lists when the year ends.

Story and Art: Boaz Yakin and Nick Bertozzi

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

First Second provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review