cover image The Night Witches

The Night Witches

Garth Ennis and Russ Braun. Dead Reckoning, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-68247-390-0

Those who know Ennis (Preacher) as a creator of off-the-wall, black-humored, and hilariously obscene twists on the usual superhero or SF tropes may be surprised to see his more serious side on display in these three tales of WWII, based upon true events, in which Soviet airfighter Anna Borisnova Kharkova faces off against German enemies, strict military decorum, macho chauvinism, and petty vindictiveness. The character is fictional but based upon the history of the Night Witches, the female Soviet flyers. The artwork by Braun (Fables) eschews superman proportions for a characteristic look of realism that adeptly distinguishes different characters. He provides a sweeping sense of action across panels to evoke the dynamism of battle. Readers may be unsettled by the considerable graphic violence, blood, and literal guts, but Anna’s saga and eventual triumph of spirit are rewarding. This is equal parts a sharp and enthralling history lesson and a powerful and touching graphic novel. (Mar.)