Enemy Ace: War in Heaven by Garth Ennis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
From 1914 to 1918, Hans Von Hammer earned the nickname "The Hammer of Hell" in the bloody skies of World War I. Now it's World War II, and blood rains from the skies once again! Von Hammer, the finest pilot Germany has ever known, is now a 46-year-old man with plenty of enemies in the Nazi regime.
The story recounts the pilot's activities during World War II where he is persuaded to once again fight as a pilot of the Luftwaffe. Von Hammer is placed in charge of his own squadron and initially serves on the Eastern Front. Though no friend to the Nazi regime, he rapidly amasses numerous kills flying a red-painted Me-109 against the Russians, and later in defense of Germany (flying a scarlet Me-262) against American bombers. Nevertheless, von Hammer becomes increasingly disillusioned as he continues to witness the horrors of war. In 1945, after bailing out of his damaged aircraft, he inadvertently parachutes into a concentration camp where discovers the Nazi perpetration of the Holocaust. He proposes a mutiny upon returning to his base and later surrenders to advancing Allied troops.
A good story with a sobering message about the futility and stupidity of war. While not being too familiar with the comic world, I have recently been enjoying a few good graphic novels and while browsing for these I came across Enemy Ace. An easy to read and action-packed classic comic format, with exploding B-17 bombers, zooming Messerschmitts, tough Russians and general carnage. Galloping through the pages I felt like a kid again, but it was the dialogue that kept snapping me out of it. Written more for a mature audience, it's a thought-provoking theme with some really good lines that lead you to reflect on the reasons for the fighting. As I said, it's sobering and the story comes to a satisfying end.
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