By Andy Frisk
August 29, 2009 - 23:41
Narrated by Sera, the Unknown Soldier’s wife, as she prepares to attend her husband’s memorial and benefit dinner sponsored by celebrity/humanitarian Margaret Wells and the U.N., this issue tracks the Soldier and CIA Agent Jack Howl as they position themselves to stop Kiwanja and his group from assassinating Wells, completing the mission that the Soldier chose not to last issue. Meanwhile, Lwanga’s ex-fiance and her father arrive to also attend the memorial benefit dinner, with Sera’s blessing. What Sera does not reveal to her husband’s ex-fiancé and her father is that Lwanga is still alive, and that she plans to find him.
Every issue of Unknown Soldier has been an event packed, incredibly tense, and moving experience, so it’s not regrettable, surprising, or unexpected that there would eventually be a slackening of the tempo. Issue #11 of Unknown Soldier is the first of the series to lapse into a less intense feel that serves as a bridge from the events of last issue and the rapidly approaching resolution to the current storyline, “Easy Kill,” scheduled to take place next issue. This slackening doesn’t by any mean suggest that Unknown Soldier is losing its touch or grasp on being one of the best books being published right now by any current comic book publisher. It simply is the first time in the series where there is a need for events to bridge from one set of events to another. This slackening also doesn’t mean that this issue is uneventful either. In fact it’s quite the contrary, considering what is revealed.
We learn, along with Sera, that her husband Moses Lwanga had secrets he kept from her regarding his personal life, namely that he had an ex-fiancé. We also get a look at Jack Howl’s ability to make use of his wide and varying contacts to secure the invitations, clothing, hotel rooms, and weapons necessary to make it possible for Lwanga to take out Kiwanja and his group. We also learn that Lwanga wishes to not be referred to as Lwanga anymore…
Ponticelli’s rough, jagged, and somewhat disjointed style of illustrating continues to be absolutely perfect for this book, as it visually reflects the rough, jagged, and disjointed state of mind the Soldier is perpetually caught up in, and the rough, jagged, and disjointed landscape, living conditions, and politics of the region. It will be interesting to see how Pat Masioni’s art fills in for two issues starting in October. Masioni is an artist from the Democratic Republic of Congo, currently living in France.
Next issue, when “Easy Kill” reaches its conclusion, with the final showdown between the Soldier and Kiwanja, with Sera, Wells, and Howl playing roles in the resolution, the slack in the action should snap back sharply. Again, Unknown Soldier still remains one of the best and most important books being published now. You should be reading it.
Rating: 8 /10