The Night Witches
Garth Ennis, Russ Braun
As the German Army smashes deep into Soviet Russia and the defenders of the Motherland retreat in disarray a unique new squadron arrives at a Russian forward airbase. Like all night bomber units they will risk fiery death flying obsolete biplanes against the invader – but unlike the rest, these pilots and navigators are women. In the lethal skies of the Eastern front they will become a legend – known to friend and foe alike as The Night Witches.
With casualties mounting and the conflict devouring more and more of her comrades, Lieutenant Anna Kharkova quickly grows from a naive teenager to a hardened combat veteran. The Nazi foe is bad enough, but the dreadful power of her country’s secret police makes death in battle almost preferable. Badly wounded and exiled from her own people, Anna begins an odyssey that will take her from the killing fields of the Second World War to the horrific Soviet punishment camps – and at the top of the world high above the freezing Arctic Ocean, the Night Witch finds she has one last card to play.
Reviewed by NPR "With this fiction, [Ennis] does a remarkable service to women's history. There are other books about the Night Witches, but none could possibly be this much fun.[...] Braun and Avina's work is downright glorious. Scenes of ferocious dogfights, with planes peppered by bullets or exploding in midair, are as gripping as they are beautiful." One of Meduza's top 2019 Russia-related books "The women who flew Soviet biplanes in extremely risky missions against the Nazis are already a historic legend, but this graphic novel approaches that history from a new angle. First, it depicts the life of a single "Night Witch" visually, putting readers in the hands of two veterans in the world of comics. Second, it explores the complications of standing (or flying) between the Nazis and the threat of Soviet repressions, complicating a narrative that tends to be purely patriotic." - Meduza "This is equal parts a sharp and enthralling history lesson and a powerful and touching graphic novel." - Publishers Weekly "The Night Witches is a throat punching reality check into the spoils of WW2. Your book shelf is hungry for this entertaining read with its colourful imagery and dramatic illustrations along with the superb writing from Garth Ennis. He writes with a descriptive flow as if you are there with the Night Witches and you can feel the adventure, struggles and the strengths from within these pages. The psychology from his style of writing is an accuracy which is paramount. This book is highly recommended for comic readers, history, military enthusiasts and book collectors, alike." - Anything Geek Culture "I won't spoil the story for its readers, save to say it is beautifully written and illustrated - by the very talented Russ Braun. It truly is moving, horrifying and funny; and that makes it very real. The Night Witches really is a must for anyone who appreciates a story that draws strongly on historic and universal truths." - Hellbound.ca
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