Garth Ennis' 303 Paperback – Mar 22 2007
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About the Author
Garth Ennis, a critically acclaimed writer from Northern Ireland, has been working in the comic book industry for over 20 years, and is most easily recognized as the creator of Preacher, and long-time contributor to Marvel's Punisher. Perhaps his greatest success in recent years has been CROSSED, a horror survival series published by Avatar Press, in which the world has been overrun by sadistic homicidal maniacs. The CROSSED property has been optioned for film by Kevin Spacey’ s Trigger Street Productions. Other Avatar publications by Ennis include STREETS OF GLORY, CHRONICLES OF WORMWOOD, and 303.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The dialogue is direct, rarely caustic or vulgarly fun like you get in classic Ennis characters; it serves for the foreboding mood created by the end of the first arc. There is a wonderful point of view on the War of Iraq and how it is to be seen historically. In fact, history is very much a strong theme hanging over the Colonel, as well as the Sargent you meet in Part two. It's built up to haunt (you'll see this in many ways, not just in apparitions) the characters, to remind them that the world seems to have outgrown them.
The art, of course, is still very much in line with the rest of Ennis' gory realism. Jacen is a cool partner to Ennis. I'd love to see more from the two, like a longer series.
I recommend this to anyone whose anyone with a brain for its universal appeal and grade-A storytelling.
In this book Ennis uses the protagonist, the Russian soldier as a vehicle for exploring and commenting on the dark side of war. He comments on the present and past squirmishes between Afghanistan and the West. He also delievers a shocking and controversial ending which I honestly did not see coming. The book is well written and represents another solid tale questioning war morality a la Ennis' Unknown Soldier.
Let's talk about the art. It complements the story very well and does its job to convey the story. It gets a bit gory at times but this is after all a war story so, shouldn't come as a surprise. The art itself is clean and crisp. Jacen Burrows is a great artist and I look forward to seeing more of his work.
If you want to read a story that will leave you thinking, my recommendation is to pick this book up.
It's an obvious political fantasy from the mid-2000s filled with ham-fisted allegories and symbols (the world is redeemed by the signature weapon of the British Empire!) but you know what, it's fun. And it's good.
Garth Ennis gives us battles that are well thought out and feel realistic. The settings are interesting and there's more than a little dark humor. The art by Jacen Burrows is good traditional line art and a pleasure to see.
As for the politics, that's up to you whether or not it's a deal-breaker. I personally wish Ennis had been a bit gutsier and used some of the genuine dishonors of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars to spur his story rather than making something up. But that's just me. Despite the straw man politics 303 as a book and as a war story is a good read.
As a guy who grew up on books like Doomsday Warrior, and movies like Red Dawn I was immediately pulled back to the "cold war" paranoia with this book and marvelled at how we still have the dirty little secrets and not so secrets out there in the sand dunes of the middle east. Garth has given us a new tale based on the old deeds and by doing this given a new perspective on that war torn region and Russia as well as gained a new fan. And (what I like to term) a "hell of an ending". this book ranks very highly for me as it is not about costume dudes with way out powers, it's about a man trying to find his honour and about balancing out some kind of inequity in the world.