Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"I really need your help. I don't have anywhere else to go.
"I got shot, but I can't fix myself up. It's these gangs. They control all the medicine.
"They know that they're the only option.
"So they do whatever they want to us. I can tell you're a vet, too.
"I'm sorry to come here begging for help, but I'm lost..."
She's a people person, our Jun. Here are her discharge notes from the publisher's medic to tell us why...
"After returning home from an unpopular war, Jun becomes an outsider in an indifferent world. Alone, desperate, and suffering from wounds both mental and physical, she seeks relief in the illicit drugs she manages to purchase or steal. Jun's tough exterior served her well in combat, but she'll need to nurture her vulnerability and humanity to survive at home.
With the support of her fellow vets, the kindness of a stranger who refuses to turn away, and the companionship of a dog named Red, Jun learns to navigate the psychological trauma that she experienced in the war."
Urmm... I think you forgot the one-woman crusade on the drug gangs that in fact forms a not insignificant part of the story...? It's all a bit John J. Rambo in the classic original First Blood film about a disaffected Vietnam veteran returning home to a country that doesn't want him mixed with Charles Bronson in full-on Death Wish wiping out the bad guys mode. A quiet reflective musing on the terrible toll PTSD takes on soldiers, this is not. Though Jun's PTSD does indeed give perfect credence to her current situation and emotional turmoil.
I just wanted to be clear that this is primarily part action yarn, part redemption story, albeit with sufficient time given to the PTSD aspect of Jun's bundle of problems that it does more than just pay lip service to it. But as a work of pure fast-paced fiction I certainly enjoyed it.
The excellent art is a heady melange of many, many, many current contemporary creators such Jen GARBAGE NIGHT Lee, Bryan SECONDS O' Malley, Enrico VENICE CHRONICLES Casarosa etc. etc. (I really could go on and on) but manages to achieve its own fluid style, ably abetted by truly excellent colouring that really consolidates what could otherwise be perhaps a touch too light and gentle linework for such kinetic activity. I did find myself occasionally losing my thread, which might be down to the actual sequential storytelling itself, but it's a small-ish criticism and actually perhaps given the main protagonist's issues a tiny loss of occasional coherence isn't entirely inappropriate...