cover image Rubicon


Christopher McQuarrie, Dan Capel, Mark Long, and Mario Stilla. Boom/, $24.95 (136p) ISBN 978-1-936393-97-8

A handful of Navy SEALs defend and train residents of a village in Afghanistan that’s seasonally beset (and hopelessly outnumbered) by vicious Taliban bandits who steal their crops. Melodrama ensues. If the story sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a retelling of Kurosawa’s masterpiece, Seven Samurai. The film has been remade several times and translated into other genres, including as a western (The Magnificent Seven) and a space opera, and here it’s remounted as a modern-day war yarn. Given how many remakes there have been, any new version should have something new to say, but McQuarrie et al.’s book amounts to a 21st-century military re-dressing and nothing more. It strips its source concept of all the character and depth that made it great, saddles it with uninspired art, and hands the reader what amounts to an especially derivative and quite generic lads’ war comic. Based on an idea by McQuarrie, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Usual Suspects, the book comes off like the realization of a one-sentence notion hastily scribbled on a cocktail napkin. (Aug.)