Garth EnnisJacen Burrows
Medium: comic
Year: 2004
Country: UK
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Jacen Burrows
Format: 6-issue limited series
Website category: Comics UK
Review date: 4 July 2023
3 0 3
Coincidentally, I read this back-to-back with The Punisher: Soviet. They're not dissimilar, despite being published 15 years apart. They're both Ennis-Burrows stories about Russian special forces operatives who fought in Afghanistan and got screwed over by powerful people who made money out of other people's blood.
They're also both dour, depressing trips into hell. Don't expect to enjoy them.
This story's anti-hero is a colonel with no name. He's a big, tough bastard who's dead inside and would probably crumble away to dust if people as skilled as him never tried to kill him. Later, we'll also meet an equally tough sheriff who's basically made of despair. He's one shrug away from suicide and his wife died because of a loophole in their medical insurance. Like I said, not fun.
It's about abuse of power. People who make a profit from war, or from immigrants in abattoirs. The things they'll do to cover it up. All the history behind these places, or these countries, or even these guns. The story's title comes from a Lee Enfield 303 that the colonel carries around. It's the nearest thing he has to a name. The history of the British Empire, or Afghanistan, or even the glorious USA and the people running it who deserve to get assassinated. The wives who have no choice but to become whores and the mothers who watched their children getting firebombed. The people who get caught in the firing line. Mind you, getting this Russian colonel in your firing line is a good way to get yourself coldly, professionally killed.
This one's very much for mature readers. It's even grimmer and more depressing than The Punisher: Soviet.