Sunday, April 10, 2011

Aaron and Ahmed

Written by Jay Cantor
Art by James Romberger

I was really excited to read Aaron and Ahmed. Here's the pitch: A U.S. Army interrogator at Guantanamo Bay, sickened by the methods used by his cohorts, attempts to suss information out of a high level prisoner (Ahmed) by feeding him estrogen and allowing him various comforts and privileges. The idea is that the combination will cause Ahmed to fall in love with his therapist/interrogator and reveal information he wouldn't otherwise. Pretty crazy, no? Intriguing, yes?

Unfortunately, the bulk of the book didn't live up to its premise. While I really enjoyed some of the high-minded analysis about the motives behind Islamic extremism and the War on Terror in comic-book form, it ended up dragging the plot down.

Things take a turn for the crazy/implausible about mid-way through the book and I don't think that the story ever really recovers. But none of this is to say that Aaron and Ahmed isn't worth checking out: the dialogue is smart, the art is unique and effective, and the treatment of HIGHLY controversial subjects is handled tastefully (I think).

Ultimately, I think Aaron and Ahmed just needed a little more room to breathe: stretch this story out over two or three volumes and the massive amount of happenings, twists, and weirdness might not seem so forced. I dunno. Maybe I was just really pulling for those crazy kids to make it...

2 and 1/2 out of 5 Enhanced Blogging Techniques

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