From Dead Reckoning.
By Jean-Yves Delitte and Giuseppe Baiguera.
Covering the battles of Tsushima, Jutland, Midway.
This is another stunning volume from Dead Reckoning. Short of film, I don’t think any format can make these three epic war time stories come alive again. These battles which may have been one of four options on your high school history class explode off of the page and create the attention that the teaching for the final method never achieved.
Each story leads up to the greater battle through the eyes of regular people. From an Admiral all the way down to a kid fresh on the boat. By not taking the third person omniscient narrator position like the aforementioned history books, readers are given a reason to care about all three stories.
This path also allows the story to organically build much like it would have in real life at the time. Very rarely in history do battles of this level happen instantly without any build up. These stories show the weeks, months, and even years of history that led to these climactic battles. World politics are not easy tweet size digestible facts that fit in a minute long tease or coffee mug. The Earth is a gigantic chess board and some of these governments and navies react to or even cause events that effect the rest of the world for years.
Even though these are powerful forces that does not mean they are perfect. Mistakes happen whether because of human error or hubris. It is fascinating to read these histories and play “what if”. Years of motion undone by one person’s mistake or another person’s luck.
To go back to the movie example, war is hell but it does make for some incredible visuals. This book has some of the most detailed art of ships I’ve ever seen. The amount of research and cramped hands must have taken years to produce. Then as impressive as that is, the full or double splash pages of these naval battles are absolutely stunning. The ship details are still there, the explosions, the positioning of every gun, the seas churning and about to spill off the panels and cause this book to drop in value thanks to water damage. The book is full of moments the reader will want to pause and walk over to the closest person to show off this art.
While Dead Reckoning products are new to the comics this site reviews, I can’t wait to read more of them. History which is amazing is chopped up and left to dry up and die while most of us are in school. Only as adults do some of us come back and discover on our own all of the amazing twists and turns that got all of us to where we are today. Education and knowledge is no longer a given in today’s society but thanks to books like this and others from Dead Reckoning we can all learn an appreciation for all of those who battled and sacrificed over the last century.