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Posted on Jan 26, 2007 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

Common Foe – Comic Review

By Paul Glasser

cover.jpgComic Review: Common Foe
Publisher: Image, Writers: Kevin Griffin and Shannon Denton, Artists: Jean-Jacques Dzialowski and Federico Dallocchio, Issue: 4 of 5

After a year-long hiatus, Common Foe has returned. The future of Common Foe was uncertain, after the original artist, JJ Dzialowski, left the project in 2005. After a long delay, he was replaced by Federico Dallocchio in late 2006.

Common Foe examines the uneasy coalition between two groups of American and German soldiers who are trapped in a ruined French town. The two squads are battling for control of the village in order to deny their opponent the use of the roads. During a lull in the fighting, a sinister new enemy emerges on the battlefield. A German soldier inadvertently disturbs a horde of monsters that erupt from an empty well located in the middle of the nameless town. The well is adorned with crucifixes, which implies a religious taboo has been used to banish the creatures.


Drawn by the sounds of battle, the thin, lithe killers explode from under the ground, quickly overrunning both the American and German positions. A small group of survivors emerge from the initial encounter, and struggle to survive. The two parties create an uneasy alliance, but the mutual hatred is only temporarily forgotten.

The overall atmosphere is dark and foreboding. The town is shrouded in shadows and the streets are strewn with rubble. Intense urban combat has demolished many of the buildings and a thick pall of smoke hangs over the village. The original art of JJ Dzialowski portrayed the soldiers in as a mass of shadowy, undifferentiated figures. It was hard to tell one soldier from another because their helmets cast dark shadows across their face. Dzialowski also drew in an unrefined style which presented a vague image with rough edges and lines.

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The monsters were lean, with sharp, needle-like teeth and small, sinister eyes. When they attacked, the background was colored in deep red to highlight the bloody encounter. Combat came suddenly, with a shower of blood. The darkness was only pierced by the flashes from muzzle rifles, which created a chaotic scene. The sinister devils pursue their prey relentlessly throughout the village.

Dallocchio brought a more detailed look to the book, and made it possible to differentiate between the faces of the surviving soldiers. He also drew the camouflage smocks of the German soldiers with beautiful attention to detail. The monster also became more humanoid in appearance, with shorter, thicker limbs, and a rounded torso and head.

Despite the fact the there is only one issue left, the plot has not progressed very far. A lot of things must still be resolved, although a flashback in issue one provides some hint of what will come. The uneasy alliance was formed in the final pages of issue four, and the small party of survivors has a lot of ground to cover if they hope to escape.

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