Weird War Tales are downright Weird
Ok so I know it says it in the title, that what follows will be odd, strange and baffling. Weird War tales deliver paranormal tales of modern combat wars, all lovingly retold by death himself, ( appearing in a different military garb every time. Death has more outfits that Carrie Bradshaw that's all I'm saying. ) The series deals with many different wars, focussing on many different bad guys, however the Nazi's are the most prevalent as the ultimate foe and are the focus of this post.
In the first issue the comic offers three tales, only one is concerned with Nazism. It portrays the never ending horror of the Nazi attempt to secure power. In the most blatant, unmistakeable way possible. The Nazis will literally not die! Mueller, a Lance Corporal in charge of a German patrol is reanimated as a skeleton to continue the killing that he was unable to achieve. He is unaware of his own death, and vows to avenge himself by taking on the entire allied army himself. I mean what's worse than Nazi's? Skeleton Indestructible Nazis!
While undoubtedly this seeks to cast parallels of the inherent wickedness of Nazism as a evil that will not die, these comics must also be understand as a broader dichotomy on war itself. All the stories end with a small badge in the corner. Make war, No More. These comic books are more than the usual American war comic seeking to emphasise the moral superiority of America over their enemies but rather offer a wider conversation on the futility of war itself.
As the comic continues over its 124 issue and 12 year run, the Nazis continue to be a frequent theme, they serve for some of the most vile stories and as Nazis it is without doubt the story will end with a happy ending and they will get their comeuppance. A great example of this can be seen in issue #58. Death of a dictator which tells the story of how Hitler with his superior technology and dastardly wicked mind, manages to save himself just as the Russian tanks approach Berlin. His scientists have calculated the right number of years he must wait till the perfect time to reanimate himself. However slight flaw in the plan SPOILER: He doesn't realise the madman that runs in is him and he is forever stuck in a vicious cycle of killing his reanimated self. Hindsight really is 20/20.
The idea of Nazi self destruction through their own hubris and blood lust is further seen in issue #72 and the story of Death Camp. Through the Germans own brutality in killing a Jewish prisoner who had become friends with an innocent German they sacrifice themselves. Colonel Danzig a murderous head of a Death Camp, shoots an elderly Jewish man that Axel Shmidt has become friends with. SPOILER. For the Mitzvah that Shmidt performs for the man, a curse is put upon Danzig. Danzig gets his comeuppance at the hands of American soldiers that have been led by the ghost of the Jewish man to his and Shmidt's location, while Shmidt is saved he is killed at their hands. The story tells not only of the depravity of Nazi's and their bloodlust but also the gracious and godly manner of American soldiers.
The Nazis within this comic are trivialised, ultimately there is nothing to fear from them, just like the horror of the monsters under the bed they are cast as just another story. While this is a refreshing take on the Nazi within the comic book genre, to remove the fear of Nazism as the ultimate evil and instead trivialise their actions. This becomes narrative becomes problematic when related to their actual historical actions. However as an odd bit of fun, Weird War Tales gets a thumbs up.
Okay that was too easy maybe two things that I criticise;
Where the women at?!
Why is it always America the just, godly and brave that do the saving?