Drones Vol. 2
The war is at its peak. Louise is experiencing it from her drone pilot desk, which allows her the time to deal with family disputes and to go pick up the kids from school. Yun Shao, on the other hand, is right at the heart of the conflict, face to face with a robot. But soon the corpse of a soldier killed in combat comes along to remind Louise that war is not just the video game she thinks it is, sitting comfortably in her Stockholm headquarters…
The second volume of Drones picks up about a month or so later and it is explosive in every way the first volume lacked, creating a shocking experience that will leave you thinking about it long after putting the book down.
If you read my review of Drones Vol. 1, you will remember my biggest complaint was the lack of depth with regards to handling the societal complexities of war. While the European approach and social dynamics may be different from what we have experienced here in the United States, there is a fundamental nationalist component that drives the sentiment in Drones Vol. 2. Louise and Yun Shao are introduced as a unique dichotomy that represents an internal conflict, but it was difficult to pinpoint what exactly that was.
In Drones Vol. 2 those underlying elements take the forefront and shed light on real-world relevance this dynamic story holds. Yun Shao is a character that ultimately is underdeveloped, let’s just get that straight. Her arc is one that is filled with religious passion and suffering, however misguided you may deem it. She is a leader in a situation far beyond her control and the pain they endure is real. Louise, however, is completely displaced from suffering. Her position affords her naivety to the consequences of her actions, and as we see the war unfold in her favor we see a depiction of conservatism conflict come to light.
Religious zealotry and raw nationalist exceptionalism have taken sides in Drones, resulting in an exploration of motivations that both feel familiar yet foreign. It’s difficult to find a character to root for, even in the second volume, because there is something larger at play. The personal vendetta that has spurred the conflict on isn’t really about Louise and Yun Shao, it’s about the consequences their futile efforts yield. The loss of life and limbs experienced literally by Yun Shao is the stark reality of the impact of war in impoverished areas, but the mass shooting that happens at the very end is directly caused from Louise’s missions. It’s in the result of this war that we find insight on the themes explored in this series, and the name PTSD only shows what’s to come after the book has ended.
The dead soldier who’s parents struggled to cope with in the first volume is only further ignored in the second volume, and this starts a side plot that gives us such a wild ending. The Father has simply had enough of their complacency and disregard of his son. While Louise argues with her “pacifist liberal” family, the Father is being seriously radicalized. While the war eventually favors the Europeans, the consequences quickly come face to face with Louise when the Father shows up to gun her family down. It’s both saddening and surreal, but it’s an important element that really brings this story together. Yun Shao lost her legs in this fight, but Louise lost her whole family.
If this isn’t enough of an exploration of the dangers of conservative motivations in geopolitical wartime situations, the final pages will drive the point home. After this shooting and such painful loss, Louise breaks down in admitting that she is still more torn up about the loss of her drone than anything. Such deeply rooted misgivings in moral directions immediately gets to the core of this series and emphasizes the global implications of these drives. No one wins in Drones. There is no happy ending where good overcomes evil, there is only tragedy. Because that is the result of these behaviors and you cannot escape it.
There are powerful visuals and excellent artwork all in both volumes, and while there are still issues with the lettering and some composition questions, the series is one that never stops feeling worthwhile. It will make you ask some difficult questions and challenge how you look at the world, but it asks an incredibly important question when doing so regarding the inevitability of tragedy. For any fan of action-packed wartime stories, this is one that will undoubtedly be worth a read. Be sure to check out both volumes on ComiXology today!
Drones Vol. 2 will make you ask some difficult questions and challenge how you look at the world, but it asks an incredibly important question when doing so regarding the inevitability of tragedy in modern wartime situations driven by political discord.
Drones Vol. 2: PTSD
Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9.5/109.5/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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