Thursday, October 27, 2011

Comics for Causes- Code Word: Geronimo

The American Veterans' Center was initially established to educate young people about the legacy of the World War II generation, particularly of World War II veterans, their motto being "From the Greatest Generation to the Latest Generation." Recently, though, they decided to live up to that motto in even more ways, eventually broadening their mission "to preserve and promote the stories, experiences, and lessons of our military men and women of every generation."

IDW got behind that with Code Word: Geronimo, which chronicles the raid against Osama bin Laden. Weighing in at a hefty seventy-four pages worth of fast-paced graphic novel storytelling and a dozen or so more pages of timelines and other informative tidbits in hardcover, but with a relatively lean pricetag, this book is already an excellent value for the money. That part of the proceeds are going to the American Veterans' Center makes this an even more valuable investment in preserving the well-being of our veterans and especially the lessons they can impart.

Given my support for similar projects such as Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan, I would have felt remiss if I did not pick this up the second I saw this at my local comic book store. I did not regret it in the least. Not only is it a substantial read, but the writing by Capt. Dale Dye and Julia Dye flowed seamlessly and in most places unobtrusively, though not without plenty of helpful footnotes to explain some of the tougher military jargon. Though obviously the sensitivity of the subject required some changes, it did not detract from the flow of the story or the portrayal of all involved, even those whose true identities we will not know, as well-developed characters.

I found the artistic team- Gerry Kissell, Amin Amat, David Enebral, and Rubin Cubiles with lettering by Robbie Robbins and additional colors by Marc Rueda, Alex Towers, Miquel Diaz, Lucrecia Fraile, Ego, and Nieves Fernandez- larger than usual for a graphic novel. That could have posed a challenge, but it looked to me like they all worked very well together, accommodating and blending their different styles with the grace that comes with the best teamwork. They all worked so well with the story and the writers that they could convey not just each person's actions, but emotions and motivations clearly enough that often no written words needed to appear on panel to guide the readers.

The afterword by John Del Vecchio is just as worth reading. In only a dozen pages or so, it provides a few insights into military history, a timeline of Osama bin Laden's life and atrocities, a history of the Navy SEALs and particularly SEAL Team 6, and even a biography of the Apache warrior whose name would go on to be used to inspire courage or, such as in this case, to signify the success of a dangerous raid- Geronimo.

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