Friday, April 22, 2022

"The Stretcher Bearers," is a Stark and Thoughtful Graphic Novel

I received a copy (for the purposes of review) of the graphic novel, "The Stretcher Bearers." Published by Dead Reckoning, they are the graphic novel division of the nonprofit organization known as the U.S. Naval Institute. This graphic novel is written by brothers Reid Beaman and Ryan Beaman with Reid illustrating. It is a superb piece of historical fiction that really puts readers into the thick of the World War I. The comic chronicles the lives of men known as stretcher bearers, soldiers, "who were tasked with running into harm’s way to rescue their fallen brethren from the clutches of death." We specifically follow Maxwell Fox with his fellow troops as they struggle to survive in the Hellish parts of the battlefield known as No Man's Land.

Reid's illustrations really impart how claustrophobic and crushing it must have felt being in the trenches as everything blew up or got shot to pieces around you, and his detailed art imparts how gruesome war could be without seeming intentionally nasty so much as just brutally honest about the horrors of combat. Whether facing poison gases, airplanes strafing them, or their own psyches' betraying them, Reid draws everything with fantastic skill as he and Ryan give us a tale of trying to find the faintest glimmers of hope in a nightmarish place.
"The Stretcher Bearers," is a fantastic book that shines a light on a war that often gets overlooked in our history classes and popular culture. Reid and Ryan Beaman do a fantastic job giving us a story that is harsh but not completely grim and definitely worth a read.
5 out of 5 stars.

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