One of the most interesting developments of literature in the 20th century was that of the war narrative. Previous to the First World War, stories about war were told from the commanders, the generals, colonels and majors (maybe sometimes a captain) and mixed in equal parts of grand strategy with personal recollections of leading men into battle. After the First World War, aided in part with the easy access to printing technology, the random grunts were for the first time allowed to write and print the stories about what life was like on the front lines. The most famous was Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, but there were others as well. The common theme among them was that war was not as glorious as it was made out to be, and that it scars those that it doesn’t leave behind. It is with this backdrop that the new series Burning Fields starts off with, though with a modern twist, as its heroine is forced back to the fields of the Iraq war which she wanted to leave behind and forget. There lies hidden some insinuation of atrocities that were committed, which complicates things for her.
All of this takes place in a setting which is not even necessarily related to this part of the story, but which adds depth to its characters. This series was described as Zero Dark Thirty meets The Thing (John Carpenter, not Ben Grimm), and by the end of this first issue it is channeling a lot of the former and a little bit of the latter. With this as a backdrop it makes the horror setting all the more real, as supposedly a serial killer is on the loose in a highly protected oilfield in Iraq, one protected by a mercenary black ops group that is Blackwater in everything but name. She has issues with their leader, but she goes anyway to find out the truth, in a place where she might need more than a few answers.
This series is a little bit under the radar but it shouldn’t be. Once again proving that a lot of the smaller publishers have the mettle to play with the bigger companies, the story here is engaging and immersive. Its main character is never really at ease being back in the war torn country, but then so too the reader shouldn’t be easy reading it. At this stage it is hard to see exactly where this story is headed, whether that be towards a techno-thriller or supernatural gore, but with the strong introduction to the characters and the setting, there is little more to ask for here. In what is an otherwise slower week across the medium, comic fans might want to give this one a look as it looks to be a cut above the usual.
Story: Michael Moreci & Tim Daniel Art: Colin Lorimer
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review.