By Lambil & Cauvin
Lambil and Cauvin’s latest from Cinebook takes a look at one of the inevitabilities of war – the wounded. Pinned down by a ceaseless bombardment of Confederate artillery the Union Army is struggling to cope with the injured. They have been ordered to stand their ground and must wait for the enemy to attack. Naturally, this is a cause of deep frustration for Sarge but Blutch likes it just fine,. He’s indulging himself in some rest and relaxation in the form of a card game in the trenches. At least until the latest shell is dropped on top of them. Sarge’s softer side ensures Blutch is rushed for much needed medical attention, but when they arrive it’s bedlam in the infirmary. There are just one doctor and a handful of orderlies. Fortuitously, General Alexander has taken the step of drafting in some female nurses to lend a hand. While this is good news for Blutch, it causes a whole host of problems for discipline and order in the male fighting force. And all the time, the artillery shells keep falling.
I really like The Bluecoats. It’s a difficult balance to represent war and all its horrors but keep the story light and humorous. Lambil and Cauvin, however, manage it every time. They’re not afraid to delve into some of the darker aspects of soldiering, keeping it all relatable, witty, and more often than not, informative. In this story alone we exposed to pain and suffering through being wounded, amputation, and women having to fend off the unwanted advances of men. Any one of those topics is fraught with potential danger when writing for an all-ages audience, but the creators handle it deftly.
Lambil’s cartooning is spot-on, too. He’s extremely gifted as a visual storyteller, maximising the use of angles and body language to get the most out of his characters. His undercover nurse is handled superbly here, largely through the pantomime outrage and frustration the situation generates.
If you’re looking for something with humour and intelligence then you can’t go far wrong with this.
And if you liked that: Check out The Bluecoats page on the Cinebook website and read some more.