IDW Publishing, home of many licensed comics including Star Trek and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, have added another property to their repertoire: The U.S. Army, as portrayed in the video game America’s Army. From the way the press release is worded, it looks like the Army created the comics and IDW is simply providing digital distribution.
The America’s Army comics series kicks off with four issues, all available digitally on comiXology, the IDW app, Nook, and iBooks. The press release mentions Kindle as well, but I couldn’t find it in the Kindle Store.
So how is it? Not bad, although I’m sure it makes a lot more sense if you have actually played the game. We meet the troops and get the setup in the first issue: The fictitious republic of Czervenia has invaded its neighbor, the Republic of the Ostregals, and the U.S. Army is there on a humanitarian mission, assisting the refugees, but also doing intelligence on the scene. That means being airdropped in, getting into firefights, doing recon with night vision goggles—all kinds of cool stuff. The story is classic war-movie stuff, with lots of explosions and fighting (but surprisingly little blood), and plenty of scenes where we get to know the individual soldiers and see their human side. The characters are well thought out, and the story moves along in an interesting way, with flashbacks and shifts in the point of view taking the narration in different directions, then looping back to an earlier scene, giving more context for it. Writer M. Zachary Sherman conveys a fairly complex story this way, although some of the details get lost in the acronyms (which reflects life in the real army, I guess). Artist Mike Penick and colorist J.Brown do a nice job as well, with a solid, smooth style that tells the story and doesn’t get in the way. Of course, the comics are basically a recruitment tool, and that’s most obvious in the second issue, when a medic in the middle of treating a patient flashes back to the way the army really challenged him to do his best—there are some stock characters and situations there, let’s just say. Aside from that, the comics work well as entertainment, although anyone who is tempted by these stories to go into the military should talk to a couple of real soldiers first.
There’s a lot of information, including interviews with the creators, at the America’s Army comics site.
IDW Creates America’s Army Spinoff Comic is a post from: E-Reader News