Inferno #1 (Wendigo Comics/Comixology)


CREDIT: Wendigo Comics

Rating: 3.5/5 – Heart Wrenching Tale of the 1941 Jedwabne Pogrom
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Writer Gilad Levine tells the story of the massacre of at least 340 Jews by their Polish neighbors in 1941 Jewdwabne, Poland.  It is a heart wrenching tale that Levine attempts to deconstruct and in some way understand the reasons behind this terrible actions that occurred in this historical World War II tale.

Levine, a former ComicSpectrum reviewer, passed this by me to read in its early stages of development so I’ve read both the script and the final comic, released a couple of weeks ago on Comixology.  I thought his choice of mixing first person narration to set some historical context and then jumping to normal person-to-person interaction for scenes showing the lives of the Jewish residents of Jedwabne in the days before the 1939 invasion of Poland by the Nazis was an effective way to get the story across and begin to make me start caring for these people who I know will have a horrible and untimely end.  Unfortunately, the art does not do justice to the subject matter here.  Pramit Santra’s art has a flat feel and lacks fine detail.  The body language of the people is very stiff and the panel and page compositions unimaginative.  I felt the art held back the storytelling in this issue.

Ultimately, this series promises to explore the reasons behind the decision of the Polish residents of Jedwabne to kill the Jewish neighbors they had lived alongside in peace for years.  There is a complex dynamic between the Polish residents and the opposing German and Soviet forces that both occupied the area at various points that it will be interesting to see explored.  Levine only scratches the surface of these complex issues in this first issue that sets the stage and mostly takes place prior to the start of the war.   I’ll be interested to see how he handles the interactions between all the factions involved as the series progresses.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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