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Unknown Soldier Vol. 1: Haunted House Paperback – August 14, 2009

12 customer reviews

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"This is an immensely brave, intelligent and ruthless piece of work. You need to read it." -- Warren Ellis


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Product Details

  • Series: Unknown Soldier (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo; First Edition edition (August 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401223117
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401223113
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #957,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent and gutsy series. I completely disagree with the reviewer who finds the volume didactic. This volume takes place in AFRICA, the world's most conflicting place, with lots of geo-political intrigue and cultural self-sabotage. This book is VERY smart in it's presentation. This book is powerful on so many levels, and it's juxtapositions of ideas such as brutality and love are incredible. A warning- this book (which is full of child soldiers) contains some very dark truths and really leaves the reader thinking deeply about morality, hope, and the state of the world around us. Some may see the images in this book as pointless violence- but those people completely miss the point- and the point is that this book (like all great works) is a metaphor, and everyone on this planet is responsible for Africa and what happens there. Just as we are all responsible for each other in every capacity. It is our violence that gives rise to violence, and it is our compassion that gives rise to compassion, regardless of borders, money, or lifestyle. Great GREAT book!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jason Bean on March 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've just finished reading the first two trades of Unknown Soldier and must say I'm still very conflicted about this comic. On one hand I'm really getting sick of comics (particularly superhero comics) trying to address the serious issues of the REAL world using realistic violence and situations borderlining on tragedy porn. Apparently watching our favorite superhero's get raped, disemboweled, emotionally tortured or have to deal with child massacres became entertaining at some point. However this new version of Unknown Soldier never pretends to be set anywhere but the real world. It's also very well written and researched by writer Joshua Dysart.

Unknown Soldier is set in 2002 Uganda. It's protagonist is Dr. Moses Lwanga and he and his wife are on a peace-keeping mission. Through circumstances Moses is attacked and discovers he has combat abilities (ala the Bourne Identity) and proceeds to wage a one-man war against the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) and it's leader Joseph Kony. Along the way he discovers more and more the complexities of the situations in Uganda (political or otherwise) and how it effects the people who live there showing that these problems existed long before the LRA came into being.

Unknown Soldier may sound like a simple action-adventure story but it's actually very heavy handed. Every action Moses takes has an impact and not just on the LRA. He kills alot of his enemies but there are always reprocussions. Also just like real life, the LRA fights alot of it's battles with child soldiers. In this comic you will see children kill adults and other children; as well as be killed by others (including Moses himself). Normally this would be enough reason NOT to read this comic but never once did I feel it was trying to be exploitive.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Enrique Treviño and Yuliia Glushchenko VINE VOICE on January 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
I came into this book with high expectations as I've read great reviews and I am very interested in stories about Africa. The comic does not disappoint. It is sad, scary, exciting and different.

The story starts with an idealist, practical Ugandan doctor trying to help people in Northern Uganda. He is a pacifist and he is loved by the people he helps. Tragedy changes him into a soldier. This sounds like a ridiculous comic book cliché, a tragedy transforms a person into a vigilante, however the comic uses it in a new way. At almost every issue we get the notion that violence might be making things worse. The villains are monsters, but it is not clear whether violence is the way to stop them or if there's a peaceful solution. I really like that the comic keeps questioning whether violence is the way (something which comics usually take as the default answer).

The art is very well done. Ponticelli does a fantastic job of making the world feel real. It is the part of the book that makes things scary, as the visceral images bring in an extra layer of terror.

A very interesting story that makes you think of tough questions about life. I can't wait to read the next volume.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Dr Moses Lwanga escaped Uganda as a child with his family to America but now as a grown man he has returned to help Uganda overcome it's many problems - civil war, disease, corruption - and become a unified, peaceful nation. But faced with the hellish realities where kids with guns are killing people randomly and kidnapping female children to become sex slaves, Moses realises the only effective route to bring about real change in such a brutal landscape will be uncompromising violence.

I realise that almost everything in this book - Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army, child soldiers, child rape, endless bloody fighting, rampant disease - are completely grounded in reality, and continue to be problems not just for Uganda but throughout the continent of Africa, so it makes critiquing this book more awkward than others. If I say "this book was boring" then it seems like I'm a heartless monster with no sympathy for these peoples' plight! So all the criticisms in this review are about Joshua Dysart's treatment of the subject matter and writing rather than the realities themselves which are, of course, truly horrific.

I'm not sure what this book is supposed to be. An action story with a superficial conscience? Look at all this suffering - now watch this gunfight! Pray for the children - now watch kids being slaughtered by other kids! The reaction to a serious real world situation in a comic is instinctively "this is important" but unless the writer is saying something meaningful about it then it may as well be a Red Cross infomercial for donations. And that's what "Unknown Soldier" feels like, a showcase of suffering in Uganda whose solution, at least to Dysart, seems to be watching Moses dispense rough justice in a land where justice is entirely absent.
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