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Comic Book Review: "G.I. Combat #2"
The second wave of DC Comics New 52 charges forward with the second installment of the adventures of ordinary soldiers battling extraordinary circumstances in G.I. Combat, issue 2. In the first story, “The War That Time Forgot: Part 2”, written by J.T. Krul with art by Ariel Olivetti, Stevens and Elliot continue their attempt to stay alive and make sense of the unnatural scenario playing out in front of their eyes: Dinosaurs running rampant in North Korea. In the second chapter of “The Unknown Soldier”, written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti with art Dan Panosian, the one-man killing machine is recruited by the U.S. government for special operations, given “enhancements” and sent into action to prove his mettle.
“The War That Time Forgot: part 2”, written by Krul with art by Olivetti, begins in the past. Before the events of the first issue, Stevens and his wife, Ash, are in bed. She asks him what it’s like to kill someone. He says he see the target as an obstacle that is keeping him from her; he won’t let anything on Earth to stand in between him and his family. Now, in the thick of the carnage of the dinosaurs, Stevens and Elliot are running for their lives. They make it through the massacre rot by a group triceratops, and then run into Korean soldiers fighting raptors. They manage to fight them off, but not before one bites Elliot on the shoulder. They run into a T-Rex attacking Koreans in a tank. Elliot throws a few hand grenades down the dinosaur’s throat; they explode and kill it. Elliot is overjoyed; but he’s starting to loss his cool. He begins to freak out: he wants to prove that they are, “the kings of this mother!” Stevens tells him it’s not a war; it’s survival. They suddenly hear something coming towards them, it’s a Korean soldier. Elliot wants to kill him. Stevens says they need all the help they can get. The Korean soldier explains that the Korean army also experienced an electrical storm, and then the dinosaurs showed up. Stevens thinks the weird storm somehow brought the dinosaurs here, but Elliot say it might have bought them to the land of dinosaurs. Stevens doesn’t want to think about that possibility. He gives the Korean solider a handgun and three three set off—safety in numbers.
"The Unknown Soldier: Chapter two”, written by Gray and Palmiotti with art by Panosian, takes place in the U.S. lab of A.M.M.O (Advanced Military Medical Operations), Dr. Pine is informing the general that they are giving the Unknown Solider self-regulating modified organic stem cells, to give him an accelerated healing ability. He’s been placed in a coma during to operation. He has requested that they not fix his scarred face. Agent Gronkowski thinks that it won’t do them any good if he can’t blend in with a messed up face. Pine tells him that he can use “Smart Skin” (a mask that can change his face into any face of his choice) during assignments. The Unknown Solider is dreaming during the process about his old life: his children, wife and home. Everything is fine at first, but suddenly everything is burning, there are explosions, and his wife’s served head is in his hands. He wakes up from this nightmare and trashes his hospital room. Agent Komal Akbari, his handler, comes in and tells him about his new assignment. It will be the first test of his ability. Several high ranking members of South American drug cartels are meeting in Mexico City. They’re meeting in an abandoned warehouse to unify their distribution networks. He is to kill them all and destroy any cash or drugs there. He disguises himself as a bum and kills the guards outside and pushes in shopping cart full of grenades into the warehouse and blows the whole place up. Three days later, in the situation room at A.M.M.O, the Unknown Soldier is given another assignment: to kill a terrorist named Zaari. He is the head of what was once thought to be an organization known as “Crimson Jihad”; Agent Akbari explains that it’s actually a virus. The virus has a fragile day-long lifespan, but it’s hard to analyze. The Unknown Solider says he can’t fight a virus, but agent Gronkowski says he can. They put some of the virus in his coffee; his healing factor makes him immune against it. He has a one-shot chance to kill Zaari and his protégé’, Aamir Al-Isri. In Pakistan, the two men meet at a fully guarded compound. Zaari introduces Al-Isri to a group of young people who are sleeper agents that look just like “normal” young American 20-somethings; the perfect way to distribute the Red Jihad.
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These two stories continue the adventures of Elliot, Stevens, and the Unknown Soldier. Elliot is starting to go crazy from the stress of fighting overwhelming odds, while Stevens is trying his best to keep things under control and get everyone out safe and alive. The Unknown Soldier is given a medical treatment that turns him practically invincible. He chooses to leave his face damages, most likely as a reminder to himself about his family’s death. These stories have a strong tone of desperation and loss. In the first story, Elliot and Stevens are scared and deal with their fear in two different ways. With the Unknown Soldier, his new healing factor makes him virtually impervious to damage, but he chooses to hold onto the image of his fallen family with a damaged face. Both tales are interesting and offer a darker, grittier take on heroism than the standard spandex-clad superheroes books.