Writer(s): Robert Venditti & Kevin Maurer.
Penciller(s): Andrea Mutti.
Colourist(s): Lee Loughridge.
Letterer(s): Clayton Cowles.
Release Date: May 14th 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Historical Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
During World War II, there are countless monumental events that are repeated and hammered throughout our education as quintessential components to what led to one of the most disastrous massacres in the history of mankind. Among those events is the Operation Neptune, also known as D-Day. This seaborne invasion has been reimagined and reproduced numerous times on the big screen for everyone to understand the complex, intimate and stressful period lived by soldiers and citizens alike. While the context is known by many, it is trying to understand the emotions felt throughout that stretch of a couple of days that really resonates with everyone. Not only was the future obscure to all those who were there, but it was also riddled with life-defining decisions that could lead them just about anywhere, including the grave.
What is Six Days: The Incredible Story of D-Day’s Lost Chapter about? Taking place on June 1944, right in the midst of the D-Day campaign, this graphic novel recounts the true story of a World War II battle held in the small village of Graignes, France. For the duration of six days straight, a group of American soldiers find themselves at the heart of enemy grounds and is sheltered by French citizens while knowing that such a gesture would result in death if Germans were to find out. This story revisits the combined efforts for survival of American paratroopers and French citizens as they face merciless enemies in this quiet little town. Through crystal clear understanding of humanity, this story allows readers to applaud the ingrained heroism that we all possess in us when facing the impossible.
The first thing you notice with this graphic novel is its absence of long bubbles of dialogue and narrative. The intention behind this decision is clear from the start as Robert Venditti and Kevin Maurer wish to let the artwork speak for itself and convey the emotional weight that comes with this war. From questions of loyalty to brutality, there isn’t an instance throughout this story where the psychological state of the soldiers and the citizens aren’t discretely explored as they face incredible threats ready to assault them when they least expect it. The exploration of friendship, romance and religion are also quickly covered, while the story tries to portray the devastating battle that took place in Graignes, France. Although a happy outcome is what is wished by many, the denouement obligates us to understand that life has simply never been fair for many.
Thankfully, the artwork works wonders with the overall theme in this graphic novel. The blurry and hectic panels, especially during the action scenes, offer the readers the impression of reliving history and the complete emotional spectrum that comes with World War II. While happy moments made you smile, the terrifying moments made you dread for the lives of all those that were implicated during this event, whether they wanted to or not. The colours are also respectful of the era in which it takes place and the use of large panels allowed the artists to fully explore the repercussions and overarching doubt and misery that hovers over this era. In fact, the ragged-edged of despair is felt through the art and helped introduce all the themes that the writers wanted to incorporate in the narrative.
Six Days: The Incredible Story of D-Day’s Lost Chapter is a stunning true story of survival during the D-Day campaign told through a rare medium and with unprecedented research to support this tale.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!