First off, I’ve already said my piece on CT elsewhere, so I’ll leave that alone. I want to keep this blog about military fiction and related subjects.
So, while I might be a little behind the power curve compared to some, I finally finished Black Powder, Red Earth, a graphic novel series by Jon Chang, Kane Smith, and Josh Taylor, set in what used to be Iraq in 2019. The series is four volumes, and the latest one just came out in October. Finances being what they are, I just got it this month.
I’m not a huge comic book guy, but this series drew me in. The protagonists are ex-JSOC shooters with a PMC called Cold Harbor, which is working for, among others, Ayatollah Sistani in Basran, the Shi’a majority state that formed in south-eastern Iraq. Their primary missions revolve around foiling an Iranian push to take over Basran as a staging point to go to war with Saudi Arabia.
The pacing steadily picks up over the four volumes; the first includes a lot of meetings and making contacts, then the bloodletting steadily ramps up until the fourth volume is pretty much all running and gunning over a single night. The dialog is believable, especially if you’ve been around any SOF types at all. The scenario is even more so.
There are some definite resemblances between this story and the upcoming sequel to Task Force Desperate, tentatively titled Alone and Unafraid. That might be part of why I like it, but its authenticity is definitely a draw.
Since it’s a graphic novel, I should mention the art. Anybody who’s been to the sandbox will recognize the setting. They got the look of Iraq down. The violence is graphic, and well portrayed.
Even if you’re not into comics, I’d recommend this one, purely as a military thriller, and a plausible look at what might be in the future for Iraq.