Fantagraphics. Jan. 2021. 380p. ISBN 9781683964155. $39.99. Rated: Mature.
In 1964, Sgt. Elias MacFarland identifies Bobby Bailey as a candidate for a secret military program dedicated to creating superhumanly powerful soldiers using research stolen from Nazi scientists at the end of World War II. After a series of agonizing procedures, Bobby is transformed into a hideously deformed, hulking beast. When he escapes the military facility where he’s being held, the stage seems set for a thrilling sf/horror-infused manhunt, but Windsor-Smith (Conan the Barbarian Epic Collection: The Original Marvel Years) defies expectations by flashing back to the late 1940s in order to focus on the abuse Bobby and his mother, Janet, suffered at the hands of his father, a veteran haunted by the atrocities he witnessed during the war. Further leaps back and forth through time detail Tom’s wartime experience, reveal the intertwined fates of the Baileys and three generations of the MacFarlands, tracing the tragic arc of a doomed romance between Janet Bailey and a man she meets while Tom is overseas with aching tenderness.
VERDICT This exquisitely illustrated epic bursts with emotion, insight, and empathy. Five decades into his already influential career, Windsor-Smith has created his magnum opus.
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