Roll Hard

Billy Tucci and Robert Young Pelton. Adventurist Media (, $9.99 trade paper (54 p) ISBN 978-1-940418-00-1
Based on journalist Pelton’s Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror, about the role of security contractors in the “war on terror,” this graphic novel comes as something of a surprise. Instead of the expected action-figure heroics and G.I. Joe pyrotechnics in a Middle Eastern setting, the story focuses on a disparate group of hardened military contractors who make the daily eight-minute security run down an extremely dangerous stretch of road that runs between the Baghdad International Airport and the Green Zone in the heart of the city. While their heavily armored vehicle provides some protection against the sniping and rocket-propelled grenades of local insurgents, the men remain tense and wary, as every passing second could be their last. While that’s a prime setup for endless scenes of action-movie carnage, the narrative instead focuses on the men as professionals and what makes them put their lives on the line for a daily payout of around $600. It’s that spotlight on the humanity of the contractors that makes this an engaging read, and artist Tucci (Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion) turns in understated, realistic artwork that is among the finest of his career. While the role of contractors in the Iraq conflict is controversial, this gives it a human face. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/2013
Genre: Comics
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