For this first installment of The Jewish Brigade, we find ourselves in 1945 Poland. Leslie and Ari, two British soldiers, carry out an ambush near a church. They’re looking for a priest… that Leslie then kills. He was an SS agent. The two men get back on the road; other missions await.
Written and with art by Marvano, The Jewish Brigade is a bit of historical fiction about one of the more unknown pieces of history. This French graphic novel is an interesting mix of drama, a war comic, and some introspection, about a dark time for the world as it woke up to the horrors recently committed and as the graphic novel shows, still being committed.
Through the main characters, Leslie and Ari, the case for Israel, the plight of the Jewish people, and the impact of the atrocities committed by the Nazis are all explored and discussed. The story itself is simple, the two soldiers are on a mission to kill Nazi soldiers hiding out after the war. But, that simplicity in story is juxtaposed for what happens between missions as these two soldiers talk about what has happened and what might happen.
That discussion, while not deep, feels natural as two friends, road tripping in a way, discuss matters at hand. And by not diving too deep in the topics brought up, the author allows us the reader to reflect on what’s put forth and come up with our own thoughts about it all. There’s even a discussion as to whether these revenge killings make our two characters as bad as who they’re hunting (a debate that feels like it’d fit right into the Nazi-punching debates going on today). And throughout, the horrors of the Holocaust and rampant anti-Semitism that still exists today is on our minds. The comic is history, but it’s relevant in today’s world.
The art has an almost animated style to it as far as look and the horror of what’s going on is contrasted with at times beautiful art and scenery. Rolling hills give way to dead bodies. A quiet village hides a monster within. All done in a style that doesn’t match the rather heavy content within, and it still totally works.
The concept of the graphic novel intrigued me when I first read it and after finishing the first volume I plan on checking out the next two to see where the story goes from here. Marvano takes us through the ranks of one of the least known divisions of the British army and gives us a lot to chew on while doing so.
Story: Marvano Art: Marvano
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
Europe Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review