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Comic Book Review: "G.I. Combat #3"
The second wave of DC Comics’ New 52 marches on as the adventures of Elliot, Stevens, and the Unknown Soldier enter their respective third chapters in G.I. Combat #3. Written and drawn by J.T. Krul, Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Ariel Olivetti, and Dan Panosian, both stories “The War That Time Forgot” and “The Unknown Soldier”, deliver grizzly and gritty action in this duel issue. Elliot and Stevens are forced to fight prehistoric foes without modern weaponry and have to rely on brute strength and ingenuity in hopes of survival. The Unknown Soldier must face insurmountable odds as he, alone, fights an army of zealots underneath a desert stronghold as “westernized” sleeper agents slip undetected into America.
“The War That Time Forgot: Part Three”, written by Krul and drawn by Olivetti, begins with a touching, heartfelt flashback to Elliott bringing home a lost dog to his wife Jackie. He found it by the trash cans at the market. He has no tag, but is a nice little dog that just needs a loving home. Jackie says no, but he says he will grow on her. Back in the present world of dinosaurs and terror, Elliot comes across a group of small Eoraptors that are seemingly passive towards him. He even gets close enough to pet one. Stevens shows up and the creatures run off. Elliott says they weren’t going to hurt him; Stevens doubts there are any “good dinosaurs’. The three (Elliott, Stevens, and the North Korean soldier) map out their escape route to the coast; they decide to stick to the cover of the trees. As they make their way through the forest, the Korean soldier asks what they will do with him; Stevens says they aren’t at war with each other, so he needn’t worry of danger from the USA. They suddenly come across a huge violent diplodocus and run away, but they run into more of them. Elliott uses a grenade on one of them; however, another takes out the Korean soldier. Elliott charges one of them, but without ammo, he switches to using his knife, and jumps into it. Stevens joins in the fight. The knives do little, if any, damage and the dinosaur throws Elliott off. Stevens continues to hold on and attack it. He says that nothing is going to stop him from getting home. As he wrestlers with the monster, it falls off a cliff taking Stevens with it.
“The Unknown Soldier: Chapter Three”, written by Gray, Palmiotti and drawn by Panosian, starts with Agent Gronkowski berating agent Komal Akbari for authorizing the Unknown Solider be given false childhood memories: the bullying of a Muslim friend. She say that this will give him the understanding that not all Muslim are the enemy. Gronkowski says that this will jeopardize his effectiveness in the field if he is ever captured: He could be susceptible to outside influences. He contends that she’s never been a solider, so she can’t understand it. She says she’s having Gronkowski transferred since he seems to believe all Muslims are the enemy. If he doesn’t trust her, she can’t trust him. In Pakistan, the Unknown Soldier is deploying from a helicopter. It’s been seven years since his family was killed in London by the terrorist bombing of the train tunnel. He tells himself that he died that day as well. As he runs towards the target zone, he goes over the plan: he has advanced weaponry; both in his guns and his body. His eyes can shift to night vision automatically. His ammunition has timed explosions. He is to plant the timed explosive rounds on the fortress’s walls. They will go off at different times to confuse the enemy. They’ll be moving Zaari and Al-Isri to a secure location inside the compound and that’s when he’ll unleash the aerial drones; killing them all. He enters the underground tunnels that will take him to the compound. At the U.S. Command Room the general and agent Akbari oversee the mission. As he enters the sanctuary the Soldier is met, unexpectedly, by any entire army of terrorists. High above, on a catwalk, Zaari and Al-Isri order the army to kill him. Akbari tries to call in the “firefight protocol” to assist him, but the general says that they “put a nuke in him for a reason”; he’s dead. Suddenly, they notice, on the video feed, that he is single-handedly taking out the whole army. Al-Isri takes a bullet to the forehead, dying instantly. Zaari tell the Unknown Soldier he’s too late and puts a gun to his own temple. The Soldier blows his hand clean off, keeping him from killing himself. Zaari claims that the “Red Jihad” is already on its way: Ten of thousands will die. On the other side of the world, at the U.S. border, the Red Jihad “Americanized” sleeper agents easily enter the country. They are planning to attack New York City.
Both these stories end on powerful cliffhangers. Stevens seems to be falling to his death as he battles the dinosaur and the Unknown Soldier, after defeating the zealot army, Zaari, and Al-Isri, still failed to stop the “Red Jihad” (the sleeper agents entering New York with plans of a violent attack). Both stories, “The War That Time Forgot” and “The Unknown Soldier”, end on a low point. Can human willpower and determination win over raw primal strength? Can the “Red Jihad” be stopped before more people are killed? Both stories seem to come to a boiling point by the end of the issue. G.I. Combat #4 is supposed to be the conclusion to both stories. It will be interesting to see how both these tales end in the next issue.
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