The U.S. Army has launched the third chapter of a three-part digital comic book called America's Army - The Graphic Novel based on the video game franchise begun in 2002. A motion comic book is also available for viewing as well on YouTube.
The comic book features a U.S. Army Long Range Surveillance team deployed as a conflict rises between two neighbouring countries, Czervenia and the Republic of the Ostregals. During the mission, the LRS team comes under fire by Czervenian NME forces while gathering critical information on a suspicious package. In Chapter 2: “Rise to the Challenge” follow Combat Medic Roy Lacroix from high school graduate to U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier saving lives during the Czervenian invasion. In Chapter 3: “Under a Watchful Eye,” U.S. forces use state-of-the-art unmanned aircraft to provide support to the war-torn region in order to gather information about the attacking Czervenian Army, and rescue a member of the VOC Resistance who claims to have essential information about the mysterious package, one that could have terrifying consequences to the region and even the world.
The comic book was specifically created so that viewers could observe specific military occupations while in operations or while stationed at home. This comic book has been created by the same army game studio that has worked on the video game version since 2002. Although not stated directly, this comic book has been created for recruitment purpose by the Army to entice possible prospects to explore further military occupations. Just like video game fans, the U.S. Army believed that parts of the comic book-reading audience, possibly teens and young adults consume comic books and might be interested in previewing the digital comic book.
The comic book, just like the video game is part of a well-rounded recruitment campaign supported at many access points, such as booths in university campuses where the Army can recruit new soldiers. One thing that is certain is that although fictional countries were used in the comic book, the treatment of the material is certainly more accurate than something like G.I. Joes, which has been quite popular with comic book readers but completely unrealistic as to comic book actual military operations. The story is written from the perspective of a young recruit.
I’m not a fan of the flip page format of the comic book wrapped in a Flash interface. I would suggest that to reach their target audience, the Army Game Studio also add comic book as an Acrobat file that can be easily downloaded and reprinted offline by readers. I would also avoid using the word graphic novel for something that is not a graphic novel. This is a comic book, not a single story collected as one package that users can hold. The word graphic novel won’t change the fact that this is a comic book or make it more acceptable for the targeted audience. Although I use a top of the line computer and a very high speed Internet connection, with the latest Flash plug in, I had problems at first viewing comic book. The artwork looks interesting but was not optimized for computer viewing. The art was not softened and compressed appropriately in Flash, making the comic book too crisp for a screen.
Yet this endeavour is quite interesting and I wish they would publish more issues on a faster schedule. I also find it weird that I never heard of this project before. Find out more at www.americasarmy.com