TKO Studios has been one of the most interesting new publishers to hit the comic book scene in some time. Their method of publishing comics in single issues, graphic novel, and digital formats gives the reader options on release day how they’d like to read their books. They have also launched books with some of the most unique stories written for a finite number of issues. Sara was one of the most intriguing for me because of the creators behind it. Garth Ennis and Steve Epting have made their name over the last few decades with Ennis carving out much different war series.
Sara is about a female Russian sniper in a company of other female snipers who are fighting Nazi invaders on the WW2 Eastern Front. It deals with the horrors one sees at war and how they cope, as well as the ramifications of being a female at the time during the war. Ennis does a great job capturing the erratic nature one goes through at war with a narrative that cuts between key moments in Sara’s journey in becoming one of the greatest snipers to ever fight. These scenes inform us of why Sara seems so cold and why she has deeply personal reasons to kill without remorse. As the story carries forward, it does not forget the action of war is a key element to keep our interest and weaves in interesting scenarios–like Sara and her company stumbling into a Nazi threat they were unaware of–to make the tactical element of war interesting.
Epting, with color artist Elizabeth Breitweiser, captures the realism of the scene impeccably well. If you’re a fan of nonfiction, you’re going to love the attention to detail in clothing, weaponry, and environments. This book looks fabulous and is so incredibly realistic, it’s only a short step away from being a cinematic experience. One of the most difficult elements that are done well are the facial expressions and emotions of these characters. Sara is unemotional, and yet in her face, we can see deep pain and even rage. It’s not until the end of the book we know her truths, but you won’t doubt her unemotional nature early on is tied to important reasons.
This book is deeply real, incredibly absorbing, and one of the richest war stories I’ve ever read in the comic book format. At 151 pages it’s hard to put down and incredibly interesting as we attempt to understand Sara and this deeply unsettling time in human history.
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