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Army @ Love: The Hot Zone Club

by Rick Veitch and Gary Erskine

Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

Format: Softcover, full color, $9.99

ISBN: 978-1-40121-474-6

Reviewed by: School Library Journal

 

This satirical story takes place during a U.S.-led war in Afghanistan in "the not too distant future." Colonel Healey, a former high-ranking corporate executive at a top cola company, is charged with heading the new "Motivation and Morale" department. Using his background in the "deep-psyche consumer profiling" of young people, he creates a horrible and ingenious way to retain and recruit new soldiers in a long, unsuccessful war: make it "an adrenaline junkie's dream." That is, fill it with enough sex, power, drugs, money, and technology to create a violent Dionysian frenzy to rival any hyperrealistic video game or MTV spring break. Given this overarching plot, the action is fast paced and the nudity is frequent. There are, however, enough interesting (albeit untrustworthy) characters, puzzling twists, and enticing relationships to keep the story grounded. Frames are playful as well as dynamic, and Erskine's inking is vibrant. Veitch posits some interesting critiques that provide an invitation to mature teens to examine consumer, moral, and political culture in the United States. While the promise of titillation may draw them in, this future is a dark and schizophrenic place, and thought-provoking discussion will surely follow. –Shannon Peterson, Kitsap Regional Library, WA