Are you looking forward to a new comic book but it’s impossible for you to wait for its release before you know what we thought about it? That’s why there’s DoomRocket’s Advanced Reviews — now we assess books you can’t even buy yet. This week: ‘Son of Hitler’ HC, out June 13 from Image Comics.
By Mickey Rivera. Son of Hitler, an upcoming World War II-based graphic novel from Image Comics, is many things: a spy thriller; a violent over-the-top Nazi-hunting caper; a historically grounded alternate history. The story stretches through the final two years of the second World War, beginning with British special Agent Cora Brown catching sight of a boat carrying surrendering German soldiers docking at the cliff of Dover, England. Agent Brown, it should be said, has one unwavering goal in life: to find and kill Adolf Hitler.
Fortuitously enough, the surrendering Nazis are in possession of top-secret knowledge that they’re willing to exchange for freedom: the whereabouts of the Führer’s illegitimate, orphaned son. Cora, after verifying that the soldier’s intel is accurate, sees this as a perfect opportunity to strike.
When we meet him, Hitler’s progeny is going by the name Pierre and living a quiet, non-murderous life in the German-occupied French city of Lille. He works for the kindly Monsieur Petit, a baker famed for his delicious madeleine cookies which even the Nazis are crazy about. Petit becomes a father figure to Pierre, who lost his mother in tragic circumstances, and teaches him the art of baking. This skill proves useful not only at keeping the boy busy, but also for calming a mysterious virulent strain and explosive and violent anger deep within Pierre. We soon learn that Petit is secret French resistance fighter, and after a series of violent events involving cookies and a lot of blood, Pierre ends up shooting a high ranking Nazi officer straight in the head.
Cora eventually tracks Pierre down, and further ruins his life by explaining who he really is. The story beyond this point is a tornado of twists and turns — a minefield of underground operations aimed at getting Pierre within striking range of the Führer. Son of Hitler’s low-key facade of expertly drawn art hides a story that will surprise you with sudden violence. It takes the tightly-wound suspense of a British spy drama and peppers it thoroughly with a deranged, Inglorious Basterd-style pulp undercurrent. The resulting mélange is an exciting and bloody alternate history which fools you with steadily paced, understated suspense before clobbering you with something unexpected.
Son of Hitler is a visually clean and simple comic. Jeff McComsey’s art is all natural, scanned from drawings done in pencils and paints entirely in shades of blue. His decision go the traditional route adds a layer of organic softness to the story that meshes well with the time period in which it’s set. There’s very little inking, with the exception of regular splatters of blood. The blue hues gives Son of Hitler a fittingly noir tone, as well as the feel of something from the past.
Legends, myths, and speculation about history’s most infamous mass murdering shithead are myriad. One which Del Col and Moore were privvy to is that of Jean-Marie Loret, who alleges that his mother gave birth to him after sleeping with Hitler when der Führer was a soldier stationed in France. Of course, another theory says that Hitler had deformed genitalia that would have made it difficult if not completely impossible for him to have a child, so the jury is out on how likely it is that Adolf made a baby.
Regardless of any allegations of actually blood relations, Del Col and Moore’s Son of Hitler is more about exploring what it means to deal with the more problematic aspects of family’s heritage. How much of yourself can you say is truly yours, and how much is inherited from your genetic past? In about 200 pages of suspenseful storytelling, Son of Hitler looks for answers.
Written by Anthony Del Col and Geoff Moore.
Art by Jeff McComsey.
Letter by Jeff McClelland & Shawn Aldridge.
8 out of 10
‘Son of Hitler’ HC hits stores June 13. You can pre-order with the Diamond code MAR180612.