Spurred on by TKO's announcement that they'd donate half of any purchase made to a comic book store of the buyer's choosing, I bought two relatively safe bets: Goodnight Paradise by the Unknown Soldier team (Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli) and Sara, by Garth Ennis, Steve Epting, and Elizabeth Breitweiser. After reading Sara, I discovered I had some thoughts about the book. Here they are:
- Sara's my first Garth Ennis war comic, and it's a doozy of a tale focusing on the titular Sara, a female Russian sniper. The story is set in 1942 during the Nazi advance on Russia. I know Ennis wrote War Stories for both Vertigo and Avatar, and Sara feels like a logical extension of that series. Except, of course, it's a single volume for new publisher TKO.
- To TKO's credit, the art team is stunning. Steve Epting and Elizabeth Breitweiser deliver what the story calls for: a grounded, measured approach without visual exaggeration or eye-popping colors. Breitweiser proved on Criminal she could be flashy and not break the mood, but on Sara, it seems like she's all business, which given the subject matter, is the right choice.
- I bought the TPB from TKO, which the company printed a little larger than standard trades, which helped bring me into the story. The collection felt larger, too, surprisingly so. I checked it against a Marvel trade, and Sara wasn't bigger, but even the modest increase in size had an outsized impact on my perception.
- Sara's also my first Garth Ennis comic in a long time. I've never read Preacher, and I've only read a little of his Hellblazer, and none of his Crossed. (Should I read Crossed? Let me know in the comments, or if you're Mark Seifert, in our Slack channel.)
- Since there won't be more Sara, the book does inspire me to look up War Stories. It's tough to top Epting and Breitweiser, but Carlos Ezquerra, Dave Gibbons, and David Lloyd are no slouches themselves.
"In the second terrible winter of the siege of Leningrad, seven women snipers find themselves caught up in the struggle against the German invader. Their deadliest shot is Sara, whose inner demons may yet prove her undoing- but with the enemy to their front, and the agents of the Soviet state lurking in the shadows, how long can any of the squad survive the terrifying maelstrom of war?"