Comics / Comic Reviews / DC Comics

Unknown Soldier #8

By Andy Frisk
May 28, 2009 - 20:51

Moses Lwanga aka The Unknown Soldier destroys a L.R.A. battalion on the march with the help of his young captive who he turns over to GUSCO: Gulu Support The Children Organization an N.G.O. for children of the war in Uganda after the battle.  Literally running into the C.I.A. operative we met some issues back, Moses falls in with an “African Economic Liberation Movement” which plans on murdering activist-relief worker-actress, Margaret Wells, a thinly veiled characterization of the well meaning and actively involved real life actress Angelina Jolie.  The group wants to kill Wells, although they really do believe she is a kind and well meaning activist, in order to frame her murder to look like it was done by the L.R.A. and its leader Joseph Kony.  Moses is against the idea, but the voice of The Soldier in him provides the answer to Kiwanja’s question, Kiwanja being the group’s leader, “Tell me what would happen!!”  with the response, “If the L.R.A. killed Margaret Wells…Joseph Kony’s face would be on the front of every newspaper in the world inside of 24 hours” and obviously be hounded by the world community. Meanwhile, Sera, Moses’ wife, at first rebuffs the idea by Margaret Wells, who she has befriended, to hold a memorial dinner fundraiser in Moses honor, fearing he’s dead, to raise “real money” to help the children of Uganda, but finally agrees to the idea stating in a letter to Wells, “Some people are symbols.  Their meaning greater than themselves.  Such people have, for the length of history, been sacrificed so that others could be lifted up…human life is at its greatest when it is given as an engine for change.”



Symbols, meanings and sacrifices are all looking to compose the theme of this next story arc which begins here.  Dysart continues to provide his readers with tough questions and meditations on one of the world’s hardest hit by war and often overlooked human rights atrocity victim nation, Uganda.  Moses’ obvious and initial response to Kiwanja’s suggestion of killing Wells and framing the L.R.A. is one of disgust and non-involvement.  What he realizes though, is that the sacrifice of her life just might prove to be the way to get the international community to destroy Kony and the L.R.A.  Besides the obvious question of “the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few” idea of sacrificing her, we get the more morally difficult and questionable theme of sacrifice and the one performing the sacrifice.  Sera states, “All those I have admired, including my Lord and Savior, have held true to this idea…that a human life is at its greatest when it is given as and engine for change.”  Her “Lord and Savior” the same Lord and Savior that Kony upholds with his atrocities by the way, is Jesus Christ of the Christian tradition, who volunteered to sacrifice himself.  He can though, be seen to have had had no choice in the matter as his father might have just commanded it to be so.  Jesus did pray that the “cup be passed” from him but was told no.  He therefore, in a way, can be seen as not necessarily a willing sacrifice.  Before we break into a debate on divinity, the meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice and the like, let’s just look at the sacrifice of Wells, proposed by Kiwanja and pondered by Moses, in relation to just what a sacrifice should be.


Can one’s life’s meaning be “greater than themselves” and would this justify their sacrifice?   Would her murder be logically justifiable?  Would her unwilling sacrifice be an act of mercy sparing the lives, possibly, of thousands?  Does she have a say in the matter?  Would it be a political killing the like of which will only accomplish to sway opinion with no real results?  Does the fact that she will not have a say in her sacrifice even make a difference?  She can’t ask for the cup to be passed, she doesn’t even know yet that the cup is before her.  Does Moses have the right to play God here and make the decision of sacrificing her against her will?  Basically, does he have the right to play God and make a decision that God is seen to have made by sacrificing his own son?  Is he being Godly to do so and if he does will it be a holy decision or one to be derided?  By way of metaphor is the Margaret Wells story just a comment on Christianity in general with Moses playing the part of Judas? These are not easily answered questions but ones that Unknown Soldier #8 is raising.  For a comic book, these are pretty serious questions and Unknown Soldier is not just another comic book, but a highly intelligent, controversial, education and worthwhile one that is at a perfect point for new readers to jump on board.  Often times great storytelling and art raise the questions but do not provide the answers allowing the readers to come together to form solutions, if even possible, or at least create debate and therefore bring attention to the issues raised in the story or the story’s location.    


Overall, Unknown Soldier is one of the most important works being produced in the medium right now.  Dysart’s and Ponticelli’s art combine to provide a worthy tale that not just entertains, it makes you think, and that’s why this series is so important.

Rating: 9 /10

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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