Sunday, November 11, 2012

30 in 30: Garth Ennis's 303

#11: 303
Storytellers: Garth Ennis & Jacen Burrows
Publisher: Avatar Press
Year Of Publication: 2003
Page Count (can be approximate or in # of issues format): 144 pages


The narrative journey doesn’t have to be A to B to C to D.  You can cut out B and C, streamline the story, and make it better for that.  In 303, the transition between parts 1 and 2 of this story involve weeks of the Russian soldier who is the story’s protagonist cautiously making his way from Afghanistan to the United States without having to go through the security hassle of giving up his rifle, a Lee-Enfield 303 caliber rifle.  We discover some of the challenges met through the soldier’s voice-over captions, but Ennis doesn’t bother showing us that, because it wasn’t pertinent to the story at hand.  Plus, Ennis also did this to take a breath, look at the Russian in greater detail, and fill in some character background.
Play to your strengths.  Jacen Burrows has a clean line and a very realistic style.  With such a style, when dealing with real-life horrors (as Garth Ennis likes to do), don’t be artsy, just be in the reader’s face. Blood, guts, ravaged bodies – just go for it with this kind of style, because it will work well in that context.

NOTES / REVIEW / SYNOPSIS This is a really good character piece that incorporates much of what Ennis likes to write about – soldiers and the death of the American dream.  Because of its economy of pages, I feel like Ennis manages to remain more focused and, as a result, this is probably my favorite work of his.

No comments: