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Saturday, June 13, 2009

FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT (2007)

One of the more obscure but beloved series from the early years of Britain's 2000 AD sci-fi weekly comic is the 1980 FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT, what I think may have been the magazine's first foray outside of sci-fi and straight into the realm of horror. I got into 2000 AD the year after this series ran and never heard of it until a few years back, when fellow Two Thou addict Chris Weston gave me the issue of THE BEST OF 2000 AD that first reprinted the series, and now it's out in a gorgeous hardcover edition.

Written by Gerry Finlay-Day (who wrote the excellent THE V.C.'s and would later co-create ROGUE TROOPER with Dave Gibbons) and drawn by Carlos Ezquerra (the signature artist and co-creator of 2000 AD mainstay STRONTIUM DOG), FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT is a WWII story from the point of view of a Wermacht soldier whose company encounters the platoon of Romanian Captain Constanta, a pack of harder-than-hard warriors who bring a special kind of hatred to the opposing Russian forces. To their horror the Germans discover the Romanians are vampires, and you've never seen a more merciless military force. That's all you need to know, other than that the story was not designed to be one of Two Thou's endlessly-ongoing series like the once great but now interminable SLAINE, so the steadily mounting tension and creepiness actually reaches a satisfying conclusion. The tightly-wound writing and some of the best art in Ezquerra's career add up to this one firmly earning a rating of RECOMMENDED, but it's only available as an import so you will have to special order it from your local comics shop or consult Amazon.

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