Son of Hitler is an upcoming original graphic novel from Image Comics, and is the “never-before-told tale” of the Führer’s secret child.
During the final years of World War II, a British agent discovers a secret that could secure an Allied victory: Hitler has an illegitimate son in Occupied France. She recruits him for a mission to end the war, and thus begins a tale full of suspense, twists, and turns.
“Based upon one of history’s most intriguing rumors,” the story is written by Anthony Del Col and newcomer Geoff Moore, with art by Jeff McComsey. Letters are by Jeff McClelland and Shawn Aldridge.
If you’re a fan of historical fiction, spy thrillers, and suspense, you need this graphic novel. Del Col and Moore have written a tale that keeps you on the edge of your seat, just itching to turn the page. You never truly know how the story’s going to go until it’s over. They play around with a non-linear structure and drop little details here and there to keep you interested and keep you guessing. It’s highly engaging storytelling.
It’s also very tight, well-paced storytelling. By jumping around in time, and using different points-of-view, Del Col and Moore have trimmed off any fat the story may have. Instead, it keeps moving forward, and keeps you reading straight from beginning to end. Again, the two know how to engage their readers.
The story plays into many of the same themes found in the best war fiction: purpose, identity, and the cost of war on one’s soul. These aspects make the characters more sympathetic and relatable, and give the reader reasons to become emotionally invested in the outcome.
McComsey creates the perfect atmosphere for historical fiction. He uses two different styles of black-and-white, though one could technically be called blue-and-white. They both give Son of Hitler a more authentic feel, but the blue is especially effective. As said in Image+, “McComsey bathes each panel in cool blue hues that replicate the sensation of peering into memory.”
And if you think using black-and-white lessens the effect of the coloring, think again. It strengthens it. Color is factor numero uno in creating tone in comics; it’s the first thing the reader notices when he or she looks at a page. McComsey masterfully plays with the shade of the black/blue depending on the emotional effect he’s looking for, and it works. The fact that he’s only using a couple of colors forces you to focus on what he wants you to focus on.
Son of Hitler is more drama than action, so the ability to convey emotion through the art is crucial. However, when the action does hit, it hits hard. The violence is brutal, and it’s great. It’s so much fun to watch Nazis get the shit kicked out of them in gory detail. The sound effects feel ingrained in the art instead of just layered on top of it, which heightens their effect and adds a grittiness to the work.
Let’s talk about McComsey’s cover as well. Cover design is such an overlooked skill, but it’s so important in today’s comics market. Yea, yea, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but when your comic is put up on a wall in a sea of other books, a strong cover can really help sell it, especially for new, original projects. The bold red from the Nazi flag makes this cover pop right away. When you add good ol’ papa Adolf getting strangled, and from the point-of-view YOU’RE the one doing the strangling, you have a book that demands to be picked up and flipped through.
Son of Hitler was one of the most anticipated books announced at this year’s Image Expo, and it does not disappoint. From its gripping story full of suspense and intrigue, to its gritty and powerful artwork, this is going to have comics fans talking for a long time.
Son of Hitler hits stores on May 30th.