In Chapter Three of “Easy Kill,” Moses Lwanga, The Unknown Soldier, decides to go forward with his planned murder of humanitarian celebrity Margaret Wells. In war though, things don’t always go according to the plan, and when Lwanga ends up murdering the wrong civilians, he ends up in the care of his target.
The artistic power and importance of this series is on full display in issue #10. Lwanga and Wells end up trading ideals instead of gunshots (Wells is escorted by an armed UN contingent). Lwanga also ends up having some very surreal visions and dreams in this issue that demonstrate the war he is fighting within himself, as well as the war he is fighting against Joseph Kony and the LRA. His “conversation” with Wells quickly devolves into a shouting match with both making very valid points and defenses of their actions, but neither seems able to deliver on what Lwanga shouts that
Uganda and other similarly afflicted African nations need: “Investments in our markets! Honest trade with the outside world! Micro-loan agencies! Stable banks! Leaders who give a (expletive deleted)!” When Lwanga gets this angry, people usually start dying, and the voice of The Soldier in his head definitely calls for blood. Lwanga proves that he is now in control as he walks away from Wells and her UN protectors, and doesn’t kill a single one.
Dysart and Ponticelli’s writing and art powerfully mix Lwanga’s horrific dream sequences with real time events in this issue which mirror and compliment one another. Their depiction of war torn
Uganda and the effect on its children soldiers remains powerful and haunting. Paul, the LRA child solider Lwanga delivered to the GUSCO (Gulu Support the Children Organization), begins to open up as he begins to integrate with the other children. We can’t help but imagine that he will be reappearing though in the pages of Unknown Soldier. He can identify Lwanga, and a prominently displayed picture of Lwanga at the center instructs those there that, “If you have seen this man, please tell your case worker.”
Dave Johnson’s cover art is incredibly symbolic and powerful. It depicts Lwanga wielding three different weapons, all symbolic of the exploitation and destruction of
Uganda. What we should understand after reading this issue though, is that, while Lwanga wields each item depicted (a machete, a baseball bat, and a camera) as a weapon; he doesn’t yet understand the power of the camera as a weapon in another sense. Lwanga criticizes and attacks the photographer who snaps his and Wells’ picture. He states that “He just takes pictures all day of people at their lowest. People suffering, people without hope, and he never (expletive deleted) asks anybody, does he!?” Lwanga rails against the invasion of the privacy of the suffering, the voice of The Soldier rails against his picture being taken period, but without the power of a visual media, like photo-journalism, some of the greatest horrors perpetrated by mankind on their fellow men wouldn’t be as powerfully and movingly documented, i.e. The Holocaust and the holocaust occurring in Eastern Africa. Lwanga doesn’t realize it, but Wells and her photo-journalists are waging a war, albeit a very different one, against Kony and his LRA. Lwanga does pass on killing her as he and his morality slowly takes back over his consciousness, but he still has plenty of progress yet to make.
Unknown Soldier is the most important ongoing series being published right now, and its intelligence and artistic power grows stronger with each passing issue. Again, this book should be required reading.