Review – Burning Fields #3 (of 8) (BOOM! Studios)

BOOM_BurningFields_03_PRESS-1Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Authors: Michael Moreci & Tim Daniel
Artist: Colin Lorimer
Release Date: 18th March, 2015

In the third chapter of BOOM! Studios’ military horror series Burning Fields, we are allowed to find out a little more about the backgrounds of our two primary characters. We learn about Aban Fasad’s somewhat ‘chequered’ past, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of the events which brought Dana Atkinson’s previous career to an end. Writers Michael Moreci and Tim Daniel are gradually drip-feeding us information here, focusing on setting the scene and drawing us into the dark, immoral world they have created. The mystery only deepens in this issue as Dana and Aban try to track down the person responsible for the ritualistic murders, with an exchange with the mysterious ‘Brotherhood of Ninurta’ only offering up more questions than answers – for the time being, at least.       

The whole book is being treated like one giant pressure cooker, with all manner of outside influences crushing down on our characters as they try desperately to find answers. Chief among these influences are Decker and ‘The Verge’, who continue to serve as a conduit for all of the ill-feeling directed towards Private Military Contractors around the world, conducting their affairs with disdainful arrogance and showing just how scary an organisation can be when they are completely devoid of accountability. Truly a law unto themselves, it’s difficult not to feel your hands balling into fists as they continually look down their noses at the Iraqi people.

Moreci and Daniel also provide a surprisingly insightful look into the nature of faith itself during the course of this issue, with the conflicting belief systems of Aban, Dana and the Brotherhood of Ninurta all giving different perspectives on the same base instinct. While the drama and horror elements are undoubtedly present in this series, Burning Fields also provides a far more intelligent look at religion, Middle Eastern politics and the subtle nuances of human motivation than a lot of readers may have been expecting, giving the whole series a far greater resonance than if it were merely another ‘slasher’ comic.

Colin Lorimer’s artwork continues to shine on this title with his heavily inked, heavily shaded figures and oppressive, stifling atmosphere.  Everything is dirty, everything is grimy, and you can almost taste the dust on your tongue as it’s stirred up by the rumble of approaching military vehicles.  Joana Lafuente’s colours play just as big a part in setting the tone for this series, it has to be said, shifting her palette subtly to match the storyline beats. In particular, her use of the colour red during one incredibly chaotic exchange where bullets start flying is brilliantly implemented, giving the already frantic scene an additional sense of urgency.

Three issues in, Burning Fields continues to draw the reader deeper and deeper into a murky, oil-soaked world of immoral PMCs, shadowy politics and a faintly supernatural horror lurking just on the periphery.  Moreci and Daniel are taking their time drawing back the curtain completely, but the brief glimpses they’ve given us so far into the horrors lurking in the oilfields of Iraq are more than enough to make this series absolutely essential reading.

Rating: 5/5.

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576682_510764502303144_947146289_nThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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