Garth EnnisCarlos EzquerraWorld War II
Adventures in the Rifle Brigade
Medium: comic
Year: 2000
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Carlos Ezquerra
Keywords: World War II, favourite
Format: 6 issues
Website category: Comics
Review date: 13 February 2022
It's silly as all hell. I loved it.
It's a war story, or to be precise two war stories. One's a sequel to the other. Our "heroes" are:
1. CAPTAIN THE HONOURABLE HUGO "KHYBER" DARCY = talks like Bertie Wooster and can seem comparable in brainpower, but is also a terrifying bastard who sometimes shoots people he's talking to in the face. Imagine all the bigoted evil and self-delusion ever seen in the British Empire, all in one jovial, thoroughly nice and possibly insane commando officer. Has dialogue like "a bunch of wizard chaps" and "I say, old fellow".
2. SECOND LIEUTENANT CECIL "DOUBTFUL" MILK. Favourite hobby: pretending to be dying so that he can try to take questionable advantage of Darcy's tearful offer to "do anything".
3-5. SERGEANT CRUMB, CORPORAL GEEZER AND HANK THE YANK. Ultra-violent and of questionable sentience. (In Crumb's case, it's beyond doubt that he's sub-normal.) They each have one line of cliched dialogue, which is all they ever say. But they say it a lot.
6. THE PIPER. Old and Scottish. His bagpipes are a lethal weapon that will make you bleed from your eyes and ears, then possibly commit suicide. The other five in his brigade are acclimatised to this "music" and indeed quite like it.
All this is self-evidently absurd. Nothing is to be taken seriously. The Rifle Brigade kill some Germans by blowing up their heads and slitting their throats, then put on the blood-soaked, ill-fitting uniforms as a disguise. This works. They stroll through an entire platoon of oblivious soldiers, even engaging them in "Ah yes, how'd you do, old boy" conversation as no one realises... but then they're spotted for a silly reason. "This one's uniform epaulettes are incorrectly positioned! He must be an Englander!"
It's gross and crude. Their second mission (Operation Bollock) is to retrieve Hitler's missing testicle. I'm also a little surprised that no one's issued a fatwa on Garth Ennis for some of the expletives that are uttered in a Muslim country. I laughed my head off. Also, incidentally, I don't think Carlos Ezquerra has ever been funnier. 2000 AD readers all revere him, obviously, but I was surprised by how well he served Ennis's comedy here.