Comic Picks By The Glick

Operation: Broken Wings, 1936

April 16, 2013

Not really a WWII story per se, but the story of one German intelligence operative turning on his masters for his own personal gain.  “Broken Wings” is a translation of a European graphic novel from a writer, Herik Hanna, that I’ve never heard of and an artist, Trevor Hairsine, who I’m quite familiar with due to his work at Marvel.  It’s a densely, and tightly-plotted story that is never less than involving as the operative, who is only identified by his rank of “Major,” goes about his business for the Reich and setting up his own treachery as well.  Our main character has charisma and style to spare, so seeing him through all of this is a lot of fun.  I do wish that Hairsine’s art was less rough overall.  His work gets the job done but it lacks the smoothness and attention to detail that is characteristic of the European style.

Unfortunately, the book is saddled with a last-minute twist that pretty much sinks the whole story.  Not only does it make what we have here feel like a three-act-endeavor that only had its first two see print, but it flies in the face of the meticulous planning that the Major has been engaging in since the start.  Toss in the fact that the twist hinges upon something that wasn’t properly foreshadowed and is a fairly arbitrary bit of military minutiae, the kind that Ennis gave a right kicking to in “Adventures in the Rifle Brigade,” and you really have to wonder what Hanna was thinking when he came up for it.  It’s a real shame because everything up to that point was great.  It’d make for a good movie in the right hands, so long as they realize that a proper third act is needed here.

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