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Arrowsmith #1

Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artists: Carlos Pacheco (p), Jesus Merino (i)

Publisher: DC

Plot:
On a world where a massive world war is raging through most of Europe, we see technology & magic are being employed by the soldiers on both sides. Meanwhile in the United States, a young man is enticed by the prospect of being able to join the magic users fighting the good fight over in Europe, that he actively defies his father's wishes. The issue ends with our young hero running away to join the fight overseas.

Comments:
A fairly promising beginning to what looks like it'll be one of the better fantasy comics I've ever come across. Now to be entirely truthful I have to say that I'm not exactly big on the fantasy genre, as while I did go through a phase in my teens where I read the Lord of the Rings books, as well that the Dragonlance series, for the most part I've steadfastly avoided any comics that delved into this arena, with Bill Willingham's "Fables" being about the only title that comes to mind of a book I pick up that fits into the genre. However, the combo of Kurt Busiek & Carlos Pacheco was simply too much for me to pass by without taking a peek, and thus far I have to say I've rather enjoyed what I've seen thus far. In fact much like the Fables series, this book benefits tremendously from the incorporation of real world elements into this fantasy setting, and the history buff is me rather enjoys the prospect of seeing the World War I era revisited with the insertion of magic & fantasy creatures. My favorite element of this story would have to be the dinner conversation that our lead character has with his father, as it makes for a fascinating look at the attitude of the average American to a war that was taking place on the other side of the globe, when the country was still operating under their isolationist policy.

As for the art, it really doesn't come much better than the work of Carlos Pacheco, as the amount of detail he puts on the page is truly amazing, as is his eye for delivering some of the most riveting action scenes in comics. Take the opening sequence in this issue, where the dialogue is entirely in French, so the art is called upon to deliver the highly charged action in a clear, easy to follow manner. The fantasy elements are also quite impressive, from the credit page shot of the flyers, to the wonderfully menacing shot of the "evil" villain who is driving the war effort.

Final Word:
The basic premise of this miniseries seems to be World War I story set on a world where magic developed alongside technology. Now this is hardly a history text, as this first issue is an action heavy affair, that also does a pretty decent job of introducing us to our highly idealistic lead character. Now I'm not sure how I feel about such a young character being thrown into what I presume will be some fairly heated combat, but then again one of the best war films I've ever seen involved a group of young Germans who were called upon in the tail end of the war (All Quiet on the Western Front), so I'm not completely against the idea. I do have to question the idea that a complete novice would be able to turn the tide of the war, but it's a little early in the game for this concern. As it stand this was a fairly entertaining start, and with the absolutely gorgeous art of Carlos Pacheco on hand, this miniseries certainly looks like a winner.



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