Kindred Spirits, Of A Sort.

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.

Black Powder, Red Earth V1,

Volume 2,

Volume 3,

Volume 4


4 thoughts on “Kindred Spirits, Of A Sort.

  1. hqi777

    The story behind this is interesting; Black Powder Red Earth was originally suppose to be a video game about corporations on mars. Long story short, the studio had budget problems and had to turn to a futuristic PMC environment in Iraq (the video game got cut down even more and is now just a FB app with micro transactions). Interestingly enough, the comic series, which was originally suppose to “market” the game, has garnered a following of its own.

    I’ve had the chance to read a few of the comments and do like it as they really nail the details and have a decent storyline. Nevertheless, I just can’t get around to comic books and prefer books instead.

  2. hqi: Yeah, I didn’t think to add that part of the backstory of the project; I was just going for the books themselves. It turns out that they are working on a full-on computer game again, along with at least one more comic book series, so the books seem to have taken off enough to lead to more.

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