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ENNIS, GARTH with WESTON, CHRIS & ERSKINE, GARY – JOHANN’S TIGER in WAR STORIES Volume #1. 2004 DC Comics

 

A first class graphic war comic about a doomed German Tiger Tank crew in the closing days of World War Two.  Having retreated across Eastern Europe, forced back by a ruthless Russian advance, a German tank crew in Berlin in 1945 becomes increasingly disillusioned. When a ferocious tank battle goes horribly wrong, leaving men burning alive in one tank, and wiping out a whole German infantry division, the Tiger tank crew, recognizing the inevitability of defeat, they have seen too many Germans offered no mercy by the Russians. They decide to desert, and hope that the Americans can capture them alive instead.  The commander, Johann, hopes to protect his men, but he also wishes to die himself. His naively simple plan is to hand the men to the Yanks, from whom he expects some mercy, and then somehow do the Russians kill himself. He feels guilty about his part in a number of atrocities against Russian civilians and soldiers alike.  Saving his men from being hanged for their desertion, he then fails in his main mission when the men are killed in a tank battle. He flees, hoping to fulfil the last part of his plan, but that too fails when the Americans arrest him. He has not been able to bring himself to commit suicide, so he is captured doomed to live out his life with the memories of all that he is ashamed of doing. This is a powerful, explicit and fast moving story with a tremendous sense of humanity underlying the hard action scenes.  Though many of the readers will see the Germans rightly as the enemies, the story gives the soldiers a sense of humanity and the story has feel of genuine tragedy and horror about it.  http://www.dccomics.com/

 

Arthur Chappell

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