Sandy's Reviews > Unknown Soldier, Vol. 1: Haunted House

Unknown Soldier, Vol. 1 by Joshua Dysart
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's review
Sep 10, 09

bookshelves: africa, graphic, fiction
Read in September, 2009

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 Northern Uganda. He runs into Lords Resistance Army (LRA) rebels (sort of a Christian cult run amok) and ends up with a battered face (hence the bandages). He also snaps. The story then becomes an exploration of do you answer violence with violence, revenge and what does it mean to be human in a world where children chop off limbs and kill their parents and fight out of fear rather than commitment. This is the story of how Moses comes to be the vengeful fighter out to end this crazy war.

And strangely, for a pacifist med school grad, he seems to be channeling a trained secret agent that knows how to fight. That part seems a little far-fetched but maybe there's an answer for that down the road.

Although this is fiction, Dysart did extensive research on the war with the LRA in Northern Uganda and this is a very real (and very violent) depiction of what has actually taken place there. This didn't hang together as a story as well as Persepolis and I felt like it could use some fleshing out. But it did a great job of portraying the brutality of life both in the LRA itself and in its kill zone.

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