Weird War Tales (#3) – Various

4 out of 5

A Vertigo anthology series, focused on – as you’d suppose – war, though expanded to include any kind of conflict, and allowing for all kinds of ‘weird’ness as well.

Issue 3 leans in to that weird thanks to Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s New Toys, which is the best version of Toy Story.  A G.I. Joe type figure goes over his battle experience, starting with the confusing – to him – mention of the titular ‘new toys’ by a dying soldier, to his injury and then recovery in a hospital, overseen by a Barbie, to his realization that all is not what it seems…  Grant ends up making it even weirder, of course, taking the Twilight Zone twist to an unexpectedly kooky place.  Quitely’s work looks fantastic here, avoiding his more widescreen tactics and lushly colored by Matt Hollingsworth.

Joel Rose writes over Eric Cherry’s moody artwork (again colored by Hollingsworth) on a sniper versus sniper story.  While the conclusion, in retrospect, is obvious, Rose rather masterfully paces us through one sniper’s hunt for another in a way that distracts from that, and makes the build up very tense, and the ending properly satisfying.

Paul Jenkins’ Run is a little rougher than these two, partially because it’s very exposition heavy, in a way that doesn’t really allow us directly in to the story, and partially because George Pratt’s art, though with a McKeever / Kristiansen expressiveness, is colored in drab blues and browns and greys by the artist, making it rather blase to look at.  But after a couple of pages, you get the direction its taking – a struggle of wartime duty versus common sense and the need to survive – and it becomes rather engaging.