I’ve been reading some Enemy Ace lately. It’s about a German fighter pilot in WWI. It’s beautifully drawn by Joe Kubert. Focusing on an enemy soldier means that the audience can’t be expected to root for the protagonist, so it focuses on the duty and monotony of war. Von Rittenhammer goes up every day and takes down his foes, but does so in a mechanical, resigned way. He respects his enemies, and knows that his number could be up at any time. Often he reminds himself, and us, that “the sky has no mercy!” He has a strict code of honor. In one story, he guns down an opposing plane that had run out of ammunition, and he’s tortured by the fact that he killed is opponent in an unfair fight. It’s reminiscent of more philosophical samurai tales. His fellow Luftwaffe pilots are awed by him, but also creeped out by how efficiently and coldly he carries out his deadly duty. They frequently call him the “human killing machine.” Enemy Ace’s only source of solace are the night-time walks he takes in the forest with a wolf: they have a poetic connection because they both kill of necessity. The edition I’ve been reading is the black & white Showcase, which lets Kubert’s lush linework shine.