But don’t confuse this with laziness or a lack of enthusiasm. Eazy is really just conserving his energy for when it counts. He has a Batman-esque ability to calmly deduct the solution to a problem while everyone else is freaking out, waving their terrified arms in the air. And when it is time for action he dispenses his own brand of “justice” both brutally and indiscriminately. No bad deed goes unpunished. Major Eazy kicks all kind of arse.
To find out what I thought... join me after the jump!
The first thing that hits you is the striking black and white Ezquerra art. Much like Eazy himself, it’s not pretty, but it’s perfectly rugged and visceral and you feel every punch and explosion. It feels well researched too with every car, plane and tank rendered in exquisite, gritty detail. The reproduction quality of these 35-year-old pages isn't always great, especially on some of the grey tones pages (which I assume were originally printed in colour?) and they can sometimes look a little fuzzy or have faded text, but the pure black and white work is mostly crisp. You’ll also have to get used to the ugly typeface pasted into the speech bubbles which was perfectly normal in British comics of the time,but feels clumsy when viewed next to the beautifully hand-lettered American comics also released in the seventies.
But the greatest appeal for me is the Major Eazy character. Often mistaken as a hooligan, he’s actually extremely shrewd and uncompromising with an extensive knowledge of strategy and weaponry that far exceeds his constantly astonished peers. He’s incredibly racist and dismissive: everyone is a “kraut”, “jerry”, “yank” or “eye-tie” and although he seems to kill Germans with enthusiastic efficiency, he’s not afraid to lay into his allies either if they're foolish enough to cross him. In one story an American pilot mistakes the British for a German convoy and starts firing at them. Eazy wastes no time in blowing up the plane and when more American troops arrive to exact vengeance he lays the smack down on their commander until his point of view is understood.
At times it’s all a bit confronting, but I found Eazy to be an instantly likeable and entertaining anti-hero. In every single short story you know that it’s only a matter of time before he does something unexpected and awesome (and probably violent) and there’s joy to be had in seeing it all explode. We don’t always initially know what he’s up to, so his actions often seem reckless and outlandish, but, by the end, the method to his madness is invariably revealed.
If you’re a connoisseur of older comics then I think that Major Eazy: Heart of Iron is definitely worth your time. Not only does it have value as a preserved artifact of our past, but it’s also a damn entertaining read. I also found it somewhat refreshing to read war comics that weren’t from a jingoistic American perspective. The British bring with them an irresistible irreverence that kept me chuckling through the horror. Recommended!
You can find out more about Major Eazy at Titan's site.