There's a war in heaven and Earth is the battleground in this original supernatural action adventure/horror story set during World War II.
This epic tale revolves around a ragtag squad of U.S. soldiers that must recover the mysterious Sword of God, a heavenly artifact coveted by angels and demons, before the descendants of fallen angels disguised as Nazis. If they aren't successful, the world will be destroyed. It's a good thing they've got a mysterious, immortal Roman Centurion fighting on their side to even the odds.
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Starred Review. This collected edition of a four-issue 2004 miniseries may be the best mainstream comic of the year, an outstanding achievement at all levels. The German troops who overrun an isolated pocket of U.S. soldiers during the winter of 1944–1945 are worse than Nazis; they're the descendants of fallen angels who now see a chance to steal the sword of God. The surviving Americans, led by an immortal Roman centurion in disguise, must fight these supernatural, almost-indestructable foes. The premise is reminiscent of Garth Ennis's gonzo Preacher, but Tomasi takes it seriously and makes the struggle emotionally resonant. His heroes are convincingly uncertain but persistent; the villains are monstrous but not altogether unsympathetic. Even the coldly smiling leader of the evil hoard gets to display his simple yearning to soar into pure light. What really makes the story work, however, is Snejbjerg's art, complemented by Bjarne Hansen's sensitive coloring. Exterior scenes use quiet, open space, snowy landscapes or winter shadows in a forest. When the action contracts into hyperviolent battle scenes, the effect is jolting. The stunning art and the extreme story fit together perfectly to tell a tale that probably couldn't have been told at all outside the comics medium.
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Tomasi and company revive the war comic, a comic-book mainstay until Vietnam, with some clever cross-genre sampling. The mysterious GI Centurion deputizes a band of American soldiers fighting in Belgium in 1944 to help an archangel retrieve the Sword of God. The all-powerful weapon is also sought by some supernatural Nazis led by a fallen angel, who plan to use it to destroy both heaven and earth. Drawing equally on Christian mythology and World War II movies (Paradise Lost meets Band of Brothers), the yarn adopts the familiar Hollywood tactic of alternating harrowing battles and mundane-yet-poignant interludes. Further mixing genre elements, the GIs gain superpowers of a sort by bathing in the flames of a cross. Tomasi is equally deft with action and characterization; the realization of Private Chris Stavros, who lost his faith after his wife's death stateside, is particularly affecting. Peter Snejbjerg's art is lucidly effective in apocalyptic clashes and quiet moments alike. Light Brigade ought to please readers looking for something different, if not too different, in comics fare. Gordon Flagg
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