Comics You Should Be Reading

Unknown Soldier (DC/Vertigo) by Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli

I wanted to post a piece of Unknown Soldier fan art that I drew, but I haven’t quite finished tweaking it yet, so a demand that you read the books will have to suffice. The Unknown Soldier is a new series that takes the title and premise of an old DC series and transplants it into modern-day Uganda.

The Unknown Soldier was an old DC character that I don’t really know much about. From what I understand, the soldier’s real identity was never revealed. In Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli’s new series, we know exactlywho the soldier is right from the first issue. Dr. Moses Lwanga, a Ugandan born and American educated doctor, returns with his wife (also a Ugandan and a doctor) to their native land as part of a third world medical program that I don’t recall the name of off the top of my head. After killing a child soldier with his bare hands and having his face severely damaged, Moses starts hearing another voice inside of his head. The first story arc, which lasted six issues and was called “Haunted House”, deals with Moses’ slow transformation into the Unknown Soldier.

Despite being a giant history nerd, I know pretty much nothing about Uganda. Dysart clearly anticipated this, and included a condensed history of Uganda (with a focus on the events that led to the civil war which the story is set in). Along with the history is a glossary of terms used in the book that would be awkward to explain in-story. This is great, because it adds some really helpful context to the story without bogging it down. Dysart also maintains a blog that adds more background information about Uganda and the chaos in Africa in general. It’s good stuff, I recommend it. Check it out at

Ponticelli’s art is perfect for this book. There’s a certain rugged surrealness to it. My favourite detail is that the AK–47s look huge and scary. Especially in the hands of the child soldiers, where they look even bigger. The guns look like they’ll send the kid flying with their recoil, which just makes the whole situation seem even more scary and insane.

A trade paperback collecting the first six issues of Unknown Solider should be on the way within the next few months, based on typical comic release schedules. Check it out, it’s one of the best books on the shelves right now.

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