Review: '68 - Hardship

‘68 is a series of comic book stories revolving around the Vietnam conflict and well, the undead. Overall it was a fun series but is there more to tell in that zombie ridden faux time line? The one shot from the same creative team entitled; ’68: Hardship says hell yeah solider. Teddy Calhoun is vet returning from one of the worst experiences any human could go through, war. Now in Hitchcock County Teddy sits on his family’s farm land while he faces a few questions from the local authorities about a call that they received regarding his sick mama. As the law makes their way towards the house to investigate, they’re greeted by a claymore that Teddy has left behind the front door. The explosion obliterates the three law men, thus leaving Teddy to continue on his way. Unbeknownst to the rest of the Hitchcock County, Teddy is suffering from battle fatigue and schizophrenia. So everyone is the enemy, everyone is “Charlie”, that special kind of undead Charlie ’68 is known for.

image-68-hardship-issue-1Teddy returns to the barn to find out that his scared little brother Jake had made the call to the sheriff. Teddy scolds him and rants about the fact that he needs to stay off the radio because "Charlie" watches the radio. Jake agrees and then informs Teddy that he believes that their mother is dead. In denial Teddy tends to his “dead” mother and gives her some “medicine” that he has found. As their mother feasts on the medicine, Teddy struggles to deal with a few more memories that his little brother’s comments conjure up, memories of Linda, Teddy’s ex-girlfriend. Flustered, Teddy leaves the barn to clear his head. As he surveys the farm he sees a group of Viet Cong approaching the barn, so with the help of the farm’s thresher he lays waste to the threat. His victory is short lived because in the distance a tornado begins to brew, but before it can touch down,Teddy retreats back to his mother and brother in the barn. Teddy opens the door just in time to see his little brother pull the trigger on their mother and blow her away.

Damn, ’68 was one hell of a year and Hardship was one hell of a read. For a genre that is completely fucking tired and played-out I found myself really digging the creative team of Mark Kidwell, Jeff Zornow and Jay Fotos and their zombie adventures. As corny as it sounds, Hardship and the ’68 series as a whole is the best example of zombie books written by zombie fans, for zombie fans. Hardships could have gone many different directions. It could have been a dramatic, a heavy character piece or it could have been a balls out gore fest—the real truth is that either one would have worked. I would of loved to have read a massive build up with Teddy on his tour and coming home as he slowly sinks deeper and deeper into his schizophrenia. But that’s just me, but fear not ’68 fans, they went in the notorious ’68 balls-out direction. It also raises the question, is the universe of ’68 growing into something that will hold a deep and rich experience with each new story told or is it going to play itself out and start to suck ass? Here’s hoping it’s not the latter.

Score: 4/5