The Foot Soldiers
by Jim Krueger
(AiT/Planet Lar, 2001)

Imagine a world where all heroes have been slain, all hope has been lost and harsh law is enforced by human/mechanical hybrids. It's a dark vision to be sure, but also the setting for a very exciting, extremely different kind of comic book story, The Foot Soldiers.

Created and written by Jim Krueger, the tale is one of a bully, a liar and a blind cripple who are granted shoes and rags with unusual powers (keep reading), and with these new "weapons" they begin a campaign to free the people from the tyranny of the B.T.L., or Bio-Technic Law. Sounds strange, I know.

In fact, when I began reading the first issue a few years ago, before the collected edition was released, I didn't get it right away. But soon, I began to realize what the story was really about: ordinary people, with very human flaws, becoming heroes.

Some will call it a superhero tale. Fine. Do that. But if that's all you see, you don't see it all.

Foot Soldiers goes deeper, giving us a look at ourselves, and our own shortcomings, as well as how to overcome them.

As soon as the reader is introduced to the characters, you start to care about them. Johnny Stomp, the bully/hypocrite of the trio, is most worthy of notice. His brash fearlessness in the face of danger, coupled with his inclination toward intimidating his own "teammates," makes for very interesting and complex characterization.

Readers will also be taken aback when they read Krueger's account of this particular character's ignoble beginnings in the back of the trade paperback collection. Mike Oeming handles the art chores and does what very few artists can; produces 150 pages of black-and-white panels in such a way that I never wondered what I was looking at. Great stuff!

- Rambles
written by Mark Allen
published 3 January 2004

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