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The Black Heart Irregulars #1
Written by Neil Hendrick
Art by Ulises Carpintero
Published by Blue King Studios; $2.95 USD

This Losers-inspired war/terror/war-on-terror comic is dense. There are a lot of characters, a lot of words, and a lot of panels, many of them not badly-drawn. Press materials included with the comic highlight the writer's "hope that people will think critically about the issue of international Islamic terrorism," as a result of reading the comic. After being confused by who the characters were and coming away having no idea what anyone was trying to do, I have a hard time even thinking critically about the comics, though, never mind "the issue of international Islamic terrorism."

The only thing worse than a comic with an agenda is one with an agenda that fails to convey its point of view to the reader. If the writer wants to explore the ways that the U.S. government lied to its people in order to stage a unnecessary war, thus costing many thousands of lives, that is not clear from the comic. If the intent is to further propagandize the war and maintain fear and paranoia against the Islamic bogeyman, well, that's not really clear either. One is left with the grinning image of "Mr. Fifty," a seeming stand-in for that guy from 100 Bullets, and no real idea what he wants to do, or why the reader should want to watch him do it. Here's a sample piece of writing from the first page:

"If you've seen action, you know what I mean by FUBAR. Fucked up beyond all recognition. But, be you leatherneck or chair-force, jarhead, G.I., special-ops or big army, the story I'm going to tell you here is the mother of all clusterfucks."
Why, yes; yes it is. Grade: 1.5/5

-- Alan David Doane



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