Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Simon Coleby
Release date: 27th January 2016
‘Dreaming Eagles’, packed with history and heart, is a strongly character driven piece from writer and creator Garth Ennis. The narrative is cleverly constructed as a simulacrum; it presents the true story of the Tuskegee Airmen through the fictional tale issued by a father to his son, as he recounts his experiences as an African-American military pilot during the Second World War.
The initial issue provided subtle and clever exposition, introducing the characters during another historical conflict: the civil rights movement in 1960s America. Reggie Atkinson is prompted to speak to his son – who is youthful, angry and actively caught up in the violence of the race riots – to convince him that there are other ways to fight for human rights. This issue continues Reggie’s storytelling, which beautifully frames the narrative of the main story, as he recounts his time training with the Tuskagee Airmen to his son.
The comic captures the disgusting difficulties experienced by the men during the war, including unfair disciplinary action, inadequate machinery and attempted internal sabotage. From this, the book reveals how the men suffered, knowingly, through all of this because they understood how important their roles would be in influencing the development of racial equality.
The level of historical detail is very much appreciated by the reader, from Ennis’ precise use of technical terms and dialogue, to Simon Coleby’s painstaking rendition of the aircraft, uniforms and military locations. John Kalisz’s neutral colours compliment Coleby’s heavily shadowed panels perfectly and, without romanticising the subject matter, splashes of primary colour lift the scenes to bring the period to life.
A meticulously researched piece, the comic is an account of an incredibly significant group of men and their individual fight in a wider war against tyrannical power and prejudice. Their lesser-known story is one of sacrifice and resilience, and this book is a respectful testament to its importance.
The writer of this piece was: Rebecca Booth
Rebecca Tweets from @rebeccalbooth