THE OTHER SIDE is not fun to read. It isn’t high-gloss fantasy or allegory or anything less than full-on brutal reality. But the work of Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart has created a larger-than-life entrée into the horrors of war, and into the psyche of soldiers from both sides of the Vietnam conflict...
“War is hell,” we hear it said over and over again, often with a knowing shake of the head that says, “You’ll never know, you weren’t there.” We weren’t, that’s true. Neither were the creators of this comic. But it feels real, visceral, gut-wrenching, and every other cliché that of course will never do the reality justice. The ghosts that haunt Private Everette do not speak, perhaps because there is nothing more to say, perhaps because to begin with, they had nothing to say about the war. Dai is different, committed, a volunteer, determined to reach the battle and glory through all obstacles. The narration from his side is beautiful, poetic, speaking of the beauty of war at the same time as its horrors envelope him. The horrors are dictated simply, as if Dai simply accepts them as necessary, while Everette cannot accept even his own rifle, which talks to him in riddles, taunts, and Sex Pistols quotes. Death surrounds these two young men, and there is no pretty life-affirming moral here.
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And Semper Gus.