World War II is gold mine for alternate historians and fans of urban legends. There is an abundance of “what if Germany won” World War II stories and Hitler has been associated with everything from the dark arts to the Abominable Snowman. Written by Anthony Del Col and Geoff Moore and released by Image Comics, Son of Hitler combines both in an action-packed story.
Set during World War II, Son of Hitler deals with the heir to the Third Reich and British spy Cora Brown who is doing whatever possible to end the war. Unsurprisingly, Hitler’s son is important to the Allied and Axis powers. The question quickly becomes how helpful can he be before he becomes a liability?
Son of Hitler is a spy thriller that relies on action and character. Pierre is a hot-headed baker who lives a peaceful life in Lille, France. While it may be a stretch to call him a complex character, Pierre will definitely cause the reader to have conflicting feelings. His incredibly depressing childhood makes it easy to feel sorry for him. On the other hand, he is a person who does things without considering the consequences. This impacts everyone around him and it is hard for the reader not to get angry at his rashness. His character is consistent through the end to an almost hilarious degree.
Brown may be the true star of the comic. Son of Hitler has many twists and turns — with these revelations come “ah-ha” moments from the characters, and Brown has more than any one else. Del Col’s writing and Jeff McComsey’s art get across her shock and realization. These scenes also make Cora very relatable since her reactions likely mirror the reader. Like Pierre, Cora is unwavering. This becomes apparent after a twist leading into the third act in which Cora learns hard truths about herself and remains committed to her goal.
McComsey’s work is striking. Son of Hitler is monochromatic and uses different color palettes to differentiate between time periods. Along with notating time, the colors also set a mood and draw readers in. The characters’ expressions add greatly to the story and is especially impressive considering the number of small panels McComsey works with. The art has a muted beauty like war itself, creates atmosphere, and elevates the comic past just another spy book.
Son of Hitler is filled with action which can sometimes prevent the reader from getting to know its cast. The book also has many of the stock characters that can be expected from this type of story. The best spy stories are more about motivations than characters so this does not have a large negative impact, but the main antagonist definitely could have been fleshed out more.
Son of Hitler is an exciting story that constantly leads readers one way before changing direction at the last second in well delivered twists. Though it lacks in strong characters, the two leads are portrayed well. World War II spy thrillers are a dime a dozen, but Son of Hitler sets itself apart.
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