The Jewish Brigade Graphic Novel Review

Written and drawn by Marvano. Colorist: Berengere Marquebreucq. Translator: Montana Kane. Letterer: Sylvian Dumas. Published by Dead Reckoning. 

The more any of us learn about World War II the more we realize we know so little. Before reading this new historical graphic novel I had never heard not only of The Jewish Brigade but also the attitude and prejudices within Allied countries. 

This story takes place in three parts, Vigilante, TTG, and Hatikvah. The first two happen toward the end of the war but the third is set years later. The Jewish Infantry Brigade is part of the British military and all three stories follow Leslie Toliver as he comes face to face with the atrocities and hate towards his people that exist across Europe and beyond. 

Leslie is an incredible and extremely likable main character. Seeing the prejudice he faces from other soldiers, the Nazi supporters still active after the war was officially over, and later the formation of Israel all through his eyes affected me in ways history books never have. 

However, the book is not as historically accurate as previous ones from Dead Reckoning. I enjoyed this book as an introduction to the Jewish Brigade but it read more like a movie pitch than the educational works I’ve read before. As Leslie’s journey it’s a great story showing what is possible when those who were pushed down get a chance to push back. There are an equal amount of triumphant and tragic moments throughout all three parts of the story. No one felt safe and the fact that all of this is based in reality added more weight to every shot and every shadow. 

War has so many moving parts and even those who think they won realize otherwise as the ripples are still felt in this book and on through today. The more factual releases from Dead Reckoning convey the grim realities of the world. However in this fictionalized version of events I wanted a winner. Leslie travelling into the sunset with the world at peace once again. Instead, he is fighting for his life and his religion right up to the last page. The art is gorgeous, the story is incredible and like I said would make an amazing award winning movie, but the world was and continues to be so dark. I found Leslie so interesting I wished for a happy ending to his story despite that not being true to the story, or realistic in any way. Without that positive closure I was left with sadness and pity by the end of the book.

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