DC Love is a Battlefield #1
Deep behind enemy lines, Easy Company's SGT Rock teams up with Able Company's finest to extract an intelligence asset.
Allow me to start this review by acknowledging my collegue and friend, Duna Haller, and the review she did earlier this week for the Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy story from this anthology.
In this review, Duna points to the overused trope of killing queer characters to prove their love and the odd, seeming unspoken rule at DC that queer characters never seem allowed to kiss in panel. I do not disagree in the slightest with Duna on these topics, however, despite both elements being true of “Able”, the very different direction of this story serves to highlight those storytelling devices to create an unexpectedly powerful story that I find myself continuing to think about days later.
I have never read anything from Pichetstoke before although I understand him to have had experience in editorial. DC, free him to write more because if this short piece is any indication, the sharp writing and deep cutting observations found here indicate there is far more excellent storytelling waiting to break free. The artwork from Mooneyham and Spicer is Kubert-esque in the best way (the final dogtag shot features the address to the Kubert School!), with keen attention to detail and tone at every level. The choice to run with squared off text balloons harkens back to every brilliant war book DC used to publish. From top to bottom, if you’re a fan of war comics, this story will satisfy that craving while we wait for them to come back into vogue. But there’s so much more happening here in this almost too short story.
Rock teams up in this story with SGT Grey and Private Jack Fleischer from Able Company to extract a female German double agent. The timeline is short for this extraction, meaning this small team of hardened Soldiers will have to take out a German tank in order to get the intel to into the right hands fast enough to matter. During the wait, Rock misinterprets his surroundings, believe Grey to be in love with the German woman. When it comes time to lay lives on the line, however, Fleicsher goes off script to take the lead instead of Grey, sacrificing himself for an unspoken love.
You see, being queer in the United States military was simply not allowed for a very long time. It was a punishable offense until 1994. Tens of thousands of service members– people willing and able to place their lives on the line for their country and countrymates– were discharged simply on the merit of who they loved. What Pichetshote and company capture here is a very real feeling of what it means to serve in this manner. That these men, unable to live their lives in the open, forced to lie to everybody, every single day, were still willing to lay down their lives for the people around them. Rock closes the tale pondering on how many thousands lied just for the chance to fight and serve? How many took that risk with the hope that one day, they could serve openly? How many died for the Nation while living a lie forced upon them? We’ll never know but thanks to stories like this, we won’t forget that this nation is built on the backs of many oppressed groups.
I served in the United States Army from 2000-2010. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which was a policy that essentially boiled down to “it’s okay if you’re gay as long as you don’t do any gay stuff” was in effect my entire career (it was repealed finally in 2011). I bore witness to many friends and fellow service members who were constantly looking over their shoulders, afraid to have their picture taken in the wrong place, with the wrong person. This was not that long ago. And now that frontier has moved on to trans service members who are being forced to justify their service. Thankfully the winds of change seem to be upon us. Now it’s up to all of us to maintain the changes.
The SGT Rock story, "Able" in #DCComics Love is a Battlefield #1 is a stunning tale that reminds us that while all gave some, some gave even more than all in defense of the United States over the decades. Brought to you by @real_pornsak @CTMooneyham @SpicerColor @FerranDelgado
DC Love is a Battlefield #1: Able featuring SGT Rock
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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