Graphic Novel Review: Chosin: Hold the Line by Richard Meyer, et al.

Chosin: Hold the Line is a vibrantly illustrated story about a company of Marines sent to the Chosin Reservoir during the winter of 1950. Forced to face waves of North Korean soldiers and Chinese “volunteers,” Fox Company struggles against overwhelming odds even as promised reinforcements are nowhere to be found. In this frozen hell, the cold is just as fatal as enemy rounds, but the Marines remain stalwart.

When Battalion realizes their efforts are hopeless, they are ordered to withdraw to the coastline. The fight continues as the enemy is relentless, and the Marines are given no respite during their journey.

With a compelling plot and an excellent pace, Chosin: Hold the Line will satisfy all but the most jaded reader. While the character development is slight, the format of the graphic novel in general does not lend itself to too much detail in that regard. At the forefront here are the illustrations, which realistically depict the horrors of war. The characters themselves are presented with exaggerated facial features, which while lacking in overall verisimilitude, is actually quite useful for keeping track of who’s who. Additionally, the weapons and equipment are faithfully rendered and instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with that era of warfare.

The story also takes the time to look at the perspective of some of the enemy forces, adding a human element to what would otherwise be limited to faceless hordes swarming the Marines. There is also an additional short story, To the Sea, which follows two young Korean refugees caught in the middle of the conflict, a summary of the Chosin campaign, and a number of maps and photographs included, which I found unexpected but very much welcome. I am looking forward to more work from Meyer and his colleagues.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Though my Kindle reader was very slow to load each page (Samsung Galaxy Tab 2) due to the large file size, this is not a reflection of the work nor have I included this minor inconvenience in my rating. It is also worth noting that the Kindle version is not available on Windows readers on OS 7 or earlier, which is disclosed on the “available only on these devices” tab on the Amazon page. If you are limited to a computer running Windows 7 or earlier, you will have to order a hard copy. Still it looks great on my Galaxy Tab, and I am sorely tempted to order a hard copy, too.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JGEZSTE/

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About David Kantrowitz

I am the author of Reckless Faith, The Tarantula Nebula, and Bitter Arrow, a science fiction adventure trilogy, as well as The Fox and the Eagle, a stand-alone sci-fi adventure. This blog will feature new fiction as I create it.
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