Unknown Soldier, Vol. 1: Haunted House
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Unknown Soldier, Vol. 1: Haunted House (Unknown Soldier #1)

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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  938 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Welcome to Northern Uganda. In 2002, it's a place where tourists are hacked to death with machetes, 12-year-olds with AK-47s wage war, and celebrities futilely try to get people to care. Moses Lwanga is a pacifist doctor caught at the center. But when his life is threatened, Moses suddenly realizes he knows how to kill all too well. What is this voice telling him the only...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published August 14th 2009 by Vertigo (first published August 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Sam Quixote
Dr Moses Lwanga escaped Uganda as a child with his family to America but now as a grown man he has returned to help Uganda overcome it’s many problems – civil war, disease, corruption – and become a unified, peaceful nation. But faced with the hellish realities where kids with guns are killing people randomly and kidnapping female children to become sex slaves, Moses realises the only effective route to bring about real change in such a brutal landscape will be uncompromising violence.

I realise...more
Ensley
NOTE BENE: This is a comic book series, but in NO WAY is it appropriate for young children.

This review will stand in for a review of the complete 25 issue (5 trade) series. A brilliant use of a classic DC war comics character to help expose the realities of the problems facing Eastern Africa, particularly focused on the wanted terrorist and religious fanatic Joseph Kony, who became notorious for his forcible recruitment and use of child soldiers. Dysart spent several months in Uganda, both sout...more
Alex Sarll
Woah. This is not an easy read; never mind the tendency towards dumping undigested exposition, there's no amount of artistry could make the Ugandan civil war slip down easily. Child soldiers, mutilation, the West's guilt and Africa's complicity in its own state - there's something to upset everyone here. But it rings true. This is a story in which the line "I want to wrap his heart in barbed wire and fuck his corpse with it" makes perfect sense. Coming from the hero. And unlike the normal smoke...more
James
I picked this up this morning and read it.

In a few minutes, I'm going to go back to my comfortable chair and read the other three books that comprise the sum total of this reading experience. And then, knowing me, I will just go back and start the whole thing over again.

This is . . . this is just amazing. It's a comic book, sure, okay, keep telling yourself this as you turn the pages and read the words and look at the pictures.

But another voice will start to be heard in your head. A voice tellin...more
Angus Stirling
A comic about child soldiers in Uganda.

Unknown Soldier by Joshua Dysart is a 25 issue-long reboot of the 1970’s DC war comic by the same name, which focused upon a North American World War Two soldier, his face obscured by bandages, waging a one man war against Japanese and German soldiers, culminating in the killing of Hitler. The 2008 version of this comic transplants these character ideas (mask, obfuscated identity, one man army) to Uganda, where a new soldier declares war on Joseph Kony and...more
Cale
This is a hard book to read. It's an unflinching portrayal of strife in Uganda, as an archetype for much of Africa. The violence is not heroic in any sense of the word: it is random and destructive and it's not making anything better. An idealistic doctor is broken as he and his wife try to do some good, but things don't play out that way. The doctor ends up becoming the titular unknown soldier, destroying lives in an attempt to inflict justice. There's no happy ending for anyone in the book, an...more
Adam
May 15, 2010 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: comic
Reread it and it's even better the second time. Heavy stuff.
Mateo Cruz
Dr.Lwanga a native to Uganda has been givien a chance to go to America for a better future. But now Dr Lwanga has gone back to Uganda to help the war torn villages and help children but when appon ariving at Unganda he simply becomes violent and has violent dreams.An indecent acurrs and now Dr Lwanga is missing and the Unknown soldier has awoken.
If someone was to read a book like this they would have to be mautuer about it becuase this book shows violence and death and to mostly child soldiers....more
Dennis G
This updated take on the World War II era character is a compelling read that takes the reader to some very dark places. At its root, it is a story of violence and real world depravity, with an underpinning of social commentary. Set in Uganda in the early 2000's, writer Joshua Dysart pulls no punches as he utilizes the conflict of the region as the center point for a story detailing the unraveling of the mind of sleeper agent Dr. Lwanga Moses in Uganda on a mission of aid and mercy. Atrocity and...more
Jeff Lanter
One of the things I believe in is that as a citizen of this world, it is my duty to know what is going on around the globe. That means the good, the bad, and the downright brutally awful. Unknown Solider tackles a name that is familiar to most people I imagine. Kony. This graphic novel was written before the Youtube sensation and while it is a work of fiction, it feels incredibly real. Unknown Soldier is depressing and incredibly moving all at once. It depicts what is a moral quagmire in Uganda,...more
Daryl
I've heard a lot about Joseph Kony, the war in Uganda, and child soldiers through documentary films and memoirs. None of those really had the punch-in-the-gut effectiveness of Dysart's story here. I don't really know much about the original DC war hero, the Unknown Soldier, but that doesn't matter here. This takes a current situation (though the book is set in 2002), and introduces a fictional character into it. Dr. Moses Lwanga is working with a Doctors Without Borders-type organization in Afri...more
Elizabeth
This was actually really good. I say that with some surprise because, although it came highly recommended, almost nothing set in Africa is anything other than horrendously reductive, patronising or stereotyped. This is the first comic I've seen give a sense of time and place, and not actually just use the term 'Africa' as though it was one amorphous blob of suffering (see American Virgin for some of the most ghastly examples of that). This story is set in the Acholiland region of Uganda during t...more
Sandy
This was a pretty quick read (2 train commutes). Evidently, this is a "reimagining" of an earlier comic book series of the same name. In the same way Battlestar Galactica kept a prop or two (Vipers) for a shred of continuity, Unknown Soldier keeps the bandaged head from the original series set in World War II. But I have to believe the rest is different.

Lwanga Moses fled Amin's Uganda as a child, went to Harvard med and is now back in Uganda as a peaceful man of medicine, treating refugees in N...more
Blair
In some ways a conventional revenge fantasy, this graphic novel has the great merit of taking the reader into Uganda and the atrocities committed there by Joseph Kony and the child soldiers he conscripted. If you're going to read this kind of stuff it may as well be informing you about the real situation in Uganda. Unfortunately the series was cancelled in 2010 "due to lack of readers", which shows that people would rather read pap about superheroes and zombies instead of this more interesting c...more
Joe Young
Joshua Dysart - writer
Alberto Ponticelli - artist

As a child Moses Lwanga's family fled war-ravaged Uganda to seek a better life in the United States. Moses flourishes in the U.S., graduating from Harvard Medical School with top marks. Upon graduating, Moses finds himself inextricably drawn back to Uganda -- he joins Doctor's Without Borders and throws himself into the work of fixing Africa from the ground up.

A violent encounter with child soldiers shatters Moses' world and dark secrets from a pa...more
David

I was particularly pleased with this series, especially because it focuses on a delicate political and cultural situation- the war in Uganda, which has migrated now to the Congo and the Sudan. Where children are forced to be soldiers as a matter of daily fact, and whole peoples are marched about from camp to camp to seek refuge from the attacks from any and all sides, with little help from any government. All in the name of various religous groups (christianity in the case of Uganda and the Cong...more
Gonzalo Oyanedel
Cuando el médico pacifista Moses Lwanga se inserta en el damero africano, las circunstancias terminan por sepultar el idealismo despertando en el filántropo oscuros secretos que lo convierten en la respuesta a la crueldad de un conflicto cuyo horror parece del todo inevitable. Amarga y demoledora reinvención para el viejo personaje bélico creado por Khaniger y Kubert.
Eric
Unknown Soldier is the story of Dr. Lwanga Moses, a Uganda-born raised-in-America physician who returns to his war-torn native land with his doctor wife to work in a refugee camp. He finds himself entangled in the fight between the corrupt government and the child soldiers of the vile Lord's Resistance Army. Moses goes all Jason Bourne, discovering that he has combat skills and no memory of acquiring them.

It's not fun, but it's an excellent book. The politics are convincing, the dialogue rings...more
Lynne
I'm not sure "really liked it" characterizes my reaction to this graphic novel. Horrified by it, compelled by it, in awe of it...better. Reading some of the comments, I realize the "Unknown Soldier"is a comic book hero from (WWII?) that Joshua Dysart has updated and placed in the middle of civil war in Northern Uganda (2002). The main character seems to be the mutilated alter ego of a Ugandan American doctor, a volunteer at a clinic in Kampala. It is all very confusing (imagine living through th...more
Rain
almost like a REAL book. i dont know what to think about it yet, but one thing is for sure, NO WAY i will ever travel to any African country. hell no i dont wanna get myself raped or killed.
Christopher
I've been dying to read this after an NYTimes review late last year. Dysart is compelling writer, and his first-hand experience in Uganda jumps off the page and informs everything in this gripping graphic novel.

Joshusa Dysart's work is powerful, compelling and makes you think. I was a brief friend of a former (and late) Newsweek Africa Bureau Chief and he sent me transcript interviews of child soldiers, and Unknown Soldier reaches into the reality of the shattered lives of Uganda's children and...more
Headmetal Comics
I first read this on vacation, and I read it fast. I was drinking whiskey by a pool whilst doing so. It read fast and was full of dramatic violence -- even providing the reader with a standard "dude walking away from explosion" shot. I liked the book well enough as a nice little dose of action on a hot, drunken day.

Then I reread it at a much slower pace, soaking in the richness of detail. Joshua Dysart and the team behind the book put in much research for this project, and it truly does read as...more
Sean
This had to be, easily, one of the most visceral, bleak, depressing tales I've read in a good long while, and I've only just started. But when the plot revolves around the (seemingly) never ending Uganda war, particularly the child soldiers, it's not really trying to be anything else.

It also features mentions of good 'ol Joseph Kony before he was "famous", in that our intrepid hero plans to kill him. Making all that 2012 kerfuffle quite pointless, really. No doubt the organisers feel all silly n...more
Dean
I did not know that this was a re-imagining of an older DC character when I first read through this book but that point did not matter much as this trade collects the first 6 issues of Vertigo's 'Unknown Soldier,' that kept me compelled with its tale of Ugandan strife and brutality and an anti-hero that rises from its ashes. Oh yeah, Alberto Ponticelli's artwork is a standout with a strong visual style that is both detailed, articulate and visceral.
Mary
This one's a little intense and disturbing, but Voya said 11up so I read it. Plus, with the way the atrocities in Uganda are largely ignored by mass media and the fact that kids that age are more likely to read a comic book than watch the news, it's probably a good fit. It's a tough read, but well-researched and has some great characters. This book shouldn't contain anything they shouldn't already be learning in their World History classes anyway.
sweet pea
this is the kind of book that begs discussion. a highly intriguing, mysterious premise. lots of violence. a controversial take on a modern war. it's not easy to read, surely, with child soldiers, rape and violent rampaging. still, it's interesting, if fucked up. intriguing parallels between the protagonist and Alice Auma. i still don't know what i think about it. but it's one of the most daring forays into current events i've yet read.
Greg
The Unknown Soldier along with Sgt. Rock were some of the earliest military comics I can remember reading. So when this new Unknown Soldier came out I was all over it. I’m not surprised that it took place in parts of Africa where child soldiers are sadly very common. Very gritty, visceral really, and paints Joseph Kony in a light that might have people who were quick to post videos and hang posters think again.
Ben
I couldn't tell at first whether this was going to be good or whether it was going to abuse real world events in the name of sensationalised violence and pumped up action. Thankfully it's the former. The violence is intense but purposeful, and there's a definite passion and depth of knowledge for the setting and story. I'm definitely interested in seeing how this one continues.
Ellee
Deals with conflict in Africa: the use of child soldiers, genocide/mass murders, centuries of colonialism, and peace efforts. Very heavy material that the author/artist doesn't make light of. Good storytelling, but not "enjoyable." It's just not that kind of story or subject matter. I don't know if I will read others in the series or not. High quality work, though.
David Camacho
Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli pull no punches in their story about a pacifist doctor caught in the midst of bloody tribal warfare in Uganada. This is a powerful, jarring story with visceral - but never gratuitous - visuals. Characters are well developed and underlying subplots are explored just enough to support, but never overshadow, the main story.
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63222
Joshua Dysart co-created and wrote the cult hit comic book series Violent Messiahs in 1997. The first eight issues were originally collected in the graphic novel, Violent Messiahs Vol. I: Book of Job in 2002.

Since then he has done work for virtually every major comic book publisher, including DC, Vertigo, Dark Horse, Image, IDW, Random House Books and Penny Farthing Press.

He did a two year stint a...more
More about Joshua Dysart...
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