When I read the preview for this series in Comic Shop News a few months back I thought what an awesome idea! A ‘What If?’ story dealing with one of the most significant events in American History, World War II, and it poses the question; what if the United States invaded Japan instead of dropping the A-Bomb? Storming Paradise explores that thought, and delivers the neccessary exposition decently in its premier issue.

A brief synopsis:

The American test of the A-Bomb has failed as it has literally blown up in the faces of its test crew. This plunges the reader into the thick of the Americans planning for an invasion of the Japanese homeland, as well as the Japanese preparing for an imminent assault by the Americans.

We are introduced to many characters: A Japanese superior officer, the American brass, two American soldiers who seem to have the potential for being our main characters, an American man who has run from his calling to be a soldier, an American missionary stationed in Japan, some Germans, two recon pilots, and yes, General Patton.

While this issue didn’t necessarily rope me in for the long haul, being short on action and long on exposition, it definitely did not turn me away either.

Some thoughts on the issue:

-Chuck Dixon did a good job with the script. He delivered the expo while giving a good sense of the period. I appreciate how he wasn’t afraid to use the lingo of the time. While it is far from politically correct, it is historically correct and that does not go unappreciated. Ballsy move Mr. Dixon.

-Butch Guice’s pencils were pretty good, but I would have preferred the cover art to reflect more on the interior art. Still, he delivers and his rough edges nearly give the illusion of an old World War II documentary, which is fitting. As with any military comic, it isn’t easy to tell characters apart. It’s simpler for G.I. Joe as they can play to the archetype of their character in the costume (Wild Bill is dressed as a cowboy practically 24/7, so it’s pretty simple to identify him), but for a ‘realistic’ comic like this, only small details differentiate the characters. It was easy enough to track the characters in this premier issue, but only time will tell if this stays the same once the troops start storming the beaches in full battle regalia.

-Carrie Strachan delivered with the coloring, and since there is no inker credited, I’m assuming she inked as well. If that’s the case, she must have had a good time inking because this issue is very heavy on shading and shadows. I think it worked because it set a dark mood for the issue, but as previously stated, it was slightly hindering when attempting to figure out who is who.

-This issue had some great one liners:

“There is no honor in death delivered by machines.”- Japanese General

“We’re looking at over a hundred thousand dead before this bloody mess is over. And those poor damned Japs? A million or more of them will be rejoining Buddha.” -American General

“The only thing I’m worried about- is hosing those little yellow bastards out of the treads of my tank.” – General Patton

-The paper feels really nice. It isn’t the glossy pages we have been accustomed to with recent books, rather it’s more of a papery texture. Which I like.

The final word:

While I’m not completely attached to the characters yet, Storming Paradise is staying on my pull list. If you’re a history/military buff, this book is for you and is a must read. If not, it’s still entertaining enough to stick with. Things are only going to get better since paradise has yet to be stormed. . .

3/5 stars

Storming Paradise #1