Cover Image: The Battle

The Battle

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Member Reviews

The Battle, Vol. 1 is part of a series that covers the battle of Essling between Napoleon and Charles of Austria. Plenty of action, plenty of drama, and a nice sense of the war. Will have to hunt up the other two volumes. I am glad these are now out in English!
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An excellent wonderful produced, graphic novel. The artwork is fantastic really gives the horror of war in all it gory details. 

The historical facts is really shown in the artworks details and shows the research done by the authors and the artists. 

Looking forward to reading the next books in the series.
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Not for me – people I've never heard of yacking about a bridge to help a war effort for a war I've never heard of in a place I've never heard of.  Apparently it's Napoleon v the Austrians for the Battle of Essling, but as proof of the reader unfriendliness of this we're never told until we read the blurb afterwards, and so I started from zero knowledge and interest, and gained none of either before stopping.
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I know about as much about the Napoleonic Wars, as I got from the Abba song "Waterloo". You know. "My, My, at Waterloo, Napoleon did surrender."

So, knowing only that, I figured, silly me, that I would at least get what was going on in this graphic novel. 

Oh, I got that there was war, and that Napoleon was trying to invade another country. There was even a bit where the rich of the city were watching the battle and commenting on it. But other than that look into humanity, the rest of soldiers fighting back and forth, and raping and pillaging.

My problem is that I don't have a grounding in why this battle is important to winning the war.  I'm sure if I had that background, this all might make sense, as there is a lot of name dropping, as though these names were important. 

Not for me, but surely for others who enjoy war comics. 

Thanks to Netgalley fro making this book available for an honest review.
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This is what Graphic Novels do best. The original,  well researched novel The Battle by Patrick Rambuad has been transformed into an intense sensory overload. Words have been enhanced by incredible art and illustrations to recapture life and death in 1809 and The battle of Essling, Napoleon’s first major defeat.
Split into three comic books; volume 1 his reviewed here.
From the cover: “May 1809: Napoleon’s Great Army is about to cross the Danube using an enormous floating bridge erected in a single night by the French military engineers.”
“The Battle of Essling was the first mass slaughter of modern warfare: thirty hours of a battle with no winner or loser, that left forty thousand strewn across the wheat fields.”
“The Battle is much more than either a historical or graphic novel. It’s a monumental epic.”

Strong words and a serous boast. Yet in a strange way it is delivered. Words and pictures can provide a more engaging and consuming reading experience. I felt the subject although gross and deeply unpleasant was represented in all its horror. You sense the danger and threat of death. You smell the gunpowder and fear of the soldiers; you hear the cannon, fast flowing river and grunts of face to face combat. You are party to strategy, orders under pressure and how a battle can turn.

There is no way a modern person can equate the Napoleonic Wars with 21st century warfare; battles from World War I are much closer to this type of engagement. Yet the words and illustrations gave me a sense of perspective, a place and time for this carnage; reinforced the futility of war but underscored the sacrifice and commitment of fighting men.

I was moved and fully involved in this story and if the second and third volumes match this one then the work in its graphic novel will achieve so much more than just an historical novel.

I liked the background information and the timeframe that grew out of the date of this event in relation to the age of other people the reader would know from the pages of history, science and social living. It was the year Charles Darwin was born and Joseph Haydn reaches is 77th birthday.

For me why graphic novels work.
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First off, it's very rare that you get Napoleonic Fiction in comics.

Second, the amount of detail and research that went into this comic was awesome.

Third, you get little historical fiction in comics at all! I found this a rare treat. It showed the grandness of the French army, but it also showed how Napoleon loved war. Napoleon treated war as a mistress as it never left him.

Though I would have preferred to see Davout's Corps in action, as we show here the French looting and pillaging, Davout was one marshall that forbade this from happening.

I also loved the battle scene depictions, and credit goes to the authors and incredible artist for creating this.

I would love to review more historical fiction comics in the future!
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