Issue by Issue – War is Hell #10

Writer – Chris Claremont, Tony Isabella
Artist – Dick Ayers
Inker – Frank Springer
Colours – Petra Goldberg
Letters – Dave Hunt

John Kowalski cursed to die again and again and again, wakes up a dead man or more specifically, in the body of Dr. Simon Bock, most recently killed and now alive once more though who is to say for how long. Kowalski, while himself, shares some memories and sense of self with Bock and so it is that he feels as if Bock’s family is his own and he knows that he needs to get them out of Poland before the very worst can happen. Chris Claremont with a bit of help from Tony Isabella writes a tension-filled tale of desperation and tragedy and yes, horror. That horror is encapsulated by the war that surrounds Bock and his family, of the constant threat of death that could come down on them like a hammer upon a nail, not to mention the shadowy figure of Death who oversees it all and appears just when it looks like that hammer will strike. Kowalski, in Bock’s body, is frantic and constantly on edge. He fears for his kids and he is scared for his wife and yet hope arrives in the form of an American who might be able to get them on a ship. All it requires is some subtlety, some lying and a bit of acting which could all prove futile depending on who they run into on the road. As it is, they make good time and while Bock’s son wants to stay and fight, Kowalski/Bock lays it all out for the boy to see just how it is and how it is going to be if they are to make it out alive. Soon Death makes his presence known and Bock knows that something bad is going to happen and he just prays that it is not his family that ends up on the receiving end. When all is said and done, the Nazis do what they do best and while Bock’s family makes it out safe, Kowalski, in Bock’s body, dies once more. Drawn perfectly by Dick Ayers who never disappoints, the book is paced well and Ayers makes for a great partner to the writing team of Claremont and Isabella. Together, they craft a tale that compels the reader to keep turning page after page and it is both exciting and nail-biting even though one can guess what is coming in the latter half of the book. With the main character that is cursed to live and live again, to die over and over and over, it opens up a realm of possibilities when it comes to storytelling and hooks the audience in because of that. A great issue overall and one that does not need to be left on a cliffhanger for one to come back as the main plot device is all that is needed. Great stuff!

4 out of 5

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