Review by Frank Plowright
When Chris Stavros was shipped over to liberate Europe in 1944, he accepted he might die, but didn’t expect a telegram informing him his wife had perished in a car crash that injured his son. Neither would he have expected much else of what he experiences in Light Brigade, which really kicks off with an offer Stavros can’t refuse around quarter of the way through. That’s when Peter J. Tomasi’s delivers a crash course in heavenly lore. It all makes sense as explained, but the brief version is that throughout history fallen angels have been gathering forces, and can now initiate an attack on heaven. Stavros and his fellow soldiers now have a key part to play in ensuring that doesn’t happen as Light Brigade.
Light Brigade is pretty high concept, but everything moves at a very leisurely pace. Tomasi first introduces the Light Brigade members in what’s a decent enough conventional war story, before a sequence explaining the gist of the plot. That over, it’s back to conventional war missions for half the book, some of them featuring what are ostensibly German troops, before the Light Brigade take another step forward in preparation for the final battle occupying the final chapter. It’s been a long time in coming. Part of that is because apart from Stavros and Marcus most of the cast are surface deep, relying on a single trait to define them, such as a simple solider who takes inspiration from the comics he carries around with him and draws insignia on t-shirts. The central emotional drama is one of faith, faith destroyed and faith renewed, but, again, it’s not given any significant depth.
Where Light Brigade is blessed is by having Peter Snejbjerg drawing it in his precise style that’s able to make anything look interesting. He’s one of those extremely rare artists whose work never lacks definition when there’s nothing out of the ordinary to draw. He always comes up with an expression, a background or a detail that draws the eye, and is helped by some exceptional colouring by Bjarne Hansen. Snejbjerg’s at his absolute best during the finale, which has the implacable quality of the foes faced in a video game, but in the end, Light Brigade covers much the same ground Garth Ennis did in Hellblazer, but not as interestingly.