World War II was a harsh, harsh time. And the men who did the best in World War II, the men who thrived as much as they could in the war, were tough, tough men. As we find out in this book, one particular man really thrived during the war; one very tough man, the epitome of an alpha dog: Major Eazy, member of the British Army.
Eazy is as hardcore as they come. He's the kind of man that makes Sgt. Rock and Sgt. Fury look like wimps. Eazy is so arrogantly self-confident — and so often right — that it almost becomes a cliché to see him take a course of action in one of these stories; actions that initially seem completely insane but end up being completely logical.
We see Eazy shoot lovely peasant girls who want to give flowers to the British soldiers, and we see Eazy double-cross American officers who deprive civilians of needed food. We see Eazy sneak into German camps on mysterious missions and we see Eazy defy direct orders from his superiors to save his fellow soldiers and his fellow civilians. Because Eazy always knows better than anyone else. He is the wisest and he is always the toughest among his peers.
Eazy is fearless — he faces flamethrowers and rogue planes, drives at insane speeds around mountain passes, defies any orders that annoy him, thinks nothing of charging directly into an onrushing tank in order to singlehandedly transform a battle, and generally seems to be the only man in the British Army who has the wisdom and insight to fight a battle correctly.
This book is a bit dizzying, to be honest. It's so full of grit and machismo and top dog antics that Major Eazy often seems on the verge of self-parody. He's such a self-satisfied prick and so convinced that he's right at every possible moment of these stories that the beat and rhythm of these tales becomes kind of oddly overwhelming. Again and again, we see Eazy facing a moral dilemma, only to discover that he can solve that dilemma because he's smarter than anyone else and can shoot a gun better than anyone else
Part of that dizzying feeling comes from the fact that this book contains about three dozen self-contained three-page stories. There is a larger story arc in these stories — we track the progress of the British Army in conquering German-occupied Italy as the book progresses – but each story is self-contained. Because each short-short is so self-contained, it feels jarring to read these tales one after the next. What might feel exciting and wish-fulfilling and satisfying when read as one short tale mixed with several others, becomes repetitious and obvious when read all together.
That makes for intensely tight stories, of course. Three pages makes Eisner's Spirit stories seem luxuriously long, let alone compared to the average Marvel Comic today, and makes for a whole lot of panels and words on each page. Each story feels completely crammed with material — a surplus of words, set in teeny tiny typeface. There's a short blurb that sets up each story that is must reading, but which looks like it's set in about four-point Times New Roman. My rotten eyes hated the strain they had to endure to try to read those blurbs. And other text is also set quite small, which also makes them quite hard to read. (Major Eazy would have done something about the typeface if he had a chance to confront the editors of Battle magazine!)
The problems with the tiny typeface are made worse because of the often extremely muddy reproduction throughout the book. It seems like many of the original stories were at least partially published in color, to judge from the extremely gray reproduction in some of the first stories in the book. Titan's editors seemed to have trouble converting that color into black and white, as there are pages in some stories that look awkwardly bad. As the book progresses, the art looks a bit better but there are still places where the linework appears washed out and details are hard to discern.
But despite my problems with the production aspects of this book, I really enjoyed my time spent with the ultimate alpha dog of the British Army. Major Eazy may be a bit of an unrealistic character, but I really enjoyed his larger-than-life antics in the Army. Stick it to the Man, Eazy, no matter if the Man is German, British or American. You're always right, and I love you for that.