With believable characters and nonstop zombie action, ’68: Scars #3 delivers on the bloody goods to continue this emotional alt-history series. With the imaginative mix of the undead, history, and war, the visual queues are constantly powerful in “68”. The grim and gritty story will bring you back to the horrors of the Vietnam War with an original twist.
WRITTEN BY: Mark Kidwell
ART BY: Nat Jones
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: November 28th, 2012
As the rising dead continue to multiply in vast numbers, American soldiers have fallen victim to their hearts of darkness. Ever since the war started, Vietnam has become an open gateway to Hell itself. In the demonic jungle, soldiers are fighting each other as well as their enemy. But, lurking in the shadows, there are hungry zombies waiting to strike. With many on the brink of insanity, there is no salvation for any of the soldiers as their homeland has become infected with the same zombie infestation. With mutiny on the rise, soldiers do not know what their enemy is supposed to look like.
Scars, whether mental or physical, is a major theme throughout Mark Kidwell’s narrative. Andrew is afraid to return to his family because he hasn’t told them of his disfigurement. Keirney looks slim and docile, but he has a sick infatuation with violence. When Keirney is handed a gun, he loses his sanity to the war and starts shooting civilians. Kidwell manages to give his protagonists a chance to bare their soul right before they realize death is coming for them.
If you have been following the “’68” series, you may have noticed the character arc of Private Kuen Yam. Kidwell remakes the same scene with Yam but with varying results. In “Volume 1: Better Run Through The Jungle,” Kuen finds himself trapped in a hidden tunnel surrounded by bloodthirsty zombies. At first, he is too afraid to even pull the trigger and shoot them. But now in the “Scars” miniseries, Yam finds himself in the same situation. This time around, Yam is throwing himself into danger, chopping up the zombies with his shovel. Like many of the others, Yam has succumbed to his inner rage and thrives on his blood thirst.
Kidwell’s idea that “War is Hell” is stuck right in your face with Nate Jones’ gritty artwork. Through Jones’ detailed illustrations, you can sense the desperation and exhaustion on the facial expressions of the soldiers. As if the sun never sets, colorist Jay Fotos mixes brownish and yellowish tones to depict the sweltering heat of the jungle. You can tell there is sickness in Kierney’s eyes when his face is splattered with blood. What I really like about this issue is how Jones puts much attention into the look of the zombies and the soldiers. The scar-faced Andrew looks like one of the zombies lurking in the jungle. In the opening pages, Dawes is playing catch with a zombie’s head. Towards the climax, there is a splash page of a soldier getting shot in the forehead, which will definitely make you squirm. Jones and Fotos want you to see the blood, the gunshot, and the O-faced expression on the soldier’s face; they even add the saliva drooling from his mouth.
Highly recommended, “’68: Scars” #3 ends on a high note before its gripping conclusion. With the artwork strongly suited with the narrative, “’68: Scars” uses zombies as a metaphor for the violent and unforgiving nature of war. If you love war stories and zombie tales, check out the “’68” series.
Reviewed by Jorge Solis