From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. War journalist Axe has been to some of the most volatile regions of our globe in the past decade, and since 2006 he has used comics to tell the stories he sees there. In his previous War Fix he expressed the drive that inspires him to return to war zone after war zone, in search of the truth about conflicts around the world. Axe founded the Web site War Is Boring, which gives war correspondents and cartoonists a place to report and react to modern-day warfare. At first glance, the combination of hard-hitting war journalism and cartooning is incongruous, but as those who have read Joe Sacco will testify, the graphic novel can be a potent medium in which to show both the fearful tedium and the violence of war. Axe and artist Bors (3 Car Pileup) are well on their way to mastering the balance, using a traditional six-panel grid to give the art a documentary feel. Bors's art has an indie vibe that will pull in readers from other genres, lending sympathy and depth to Axe's troubled protagonist. Like War Fix, this suffers a bit from Axe's ambivalence toward his calling, but his honesty sets it apart from other war narratives.
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Addicted to danger, freelance war correspondent Axe found himself irresistibly drawn to conflicts in Iraq, East Timor, Afghanistan, Somalia, and elsewhere. Each time, once his itch was scratched, he would return home, where his tolerance for smug, ignorant Americans grew slimmer and his relationship with his girlfriend became more and more strained. Then his death wish would resurface and the cycle would resume. The visuals and dialogue in this graphic novel—adapted from his webcomic of the same name—convey his harrowing experiences and encounters with soldiers and civilians in the worlds riskiest war zones, while his growing internal distress is related in captions that serve as an anguished voice-over commentary. Axe’s tale is heartfelt and compelling; however, Bors’ awkward artwork does it a disservice. But if their collaboration falls short of the mastery of comics-journalist Joe Sacco’s war-zone reportage from Bosnia—or, for that matter, the Afghanistan dispatches of cartoonist Ted Rall, who contributes an introduction to this volume—it’s nonetheless a convincing document of a daunting internal conflict. --Gordon Flagg