The Red Star: The Battle of Kar Dathra’s Gate – A Comic Review

Posted on September 24, 2007. Filed under: Reviews |

 The Red Star Cover

The Red Star:  The Battle of Kar Dathra’s Gate – A Comic Review

It isn’t often that a comic book truly shows what this medium is capable of.  Christian Gossett’s (Art of the Darkness) book The Red Star: The Battle of Kar Dathra’s Gate goes above and beyond what a comic usually is.  From writing that reads like poetry to the tale of an epic battle to visuals that you can hear, this tale of love and loss, war and redemption does not let you down for a moment.  In this futuristic story a new/old style Soviet Union has arisen in Russia called the United Republic of the Red Star.  This new republic is more than willing to send its young men and women off to fight its wars.  The government sends out hordes to die as it attempts to put out any resistance or rebellion.

The people of the URRS are taught that whatever they do it must be done for the good of the nation.  One of the many proud members of this nation’s immense and technologically advanced military is the young woman Sorceress Major Maya Antares, Warkaster of the Red Fleet.  She is a weapon used on one of the Red Star’s great warships to devastate enemy vessels.  We meet her 9 years after the last war as she is riding a train through a giant cemetery to visit her husband Marcus Antares’ grave.  Marcus lost his life in the last battle against the Nistaani at a place called Kar Dathra’s Gate.  On the way to the gravesite, Maya meets an old veteran of the Great Patriotic War.  As they sit together (next to a sign saying, “Silence Equals Respect”) she begins to recount for the aged soldier, the story of the last few hours of the battle, the time in which her husband died.

  Red Star 

As we are taken through this field of memories the visuals that are captured in every panel come to life.  As the huge warships hover overhead, the stunning illustrations allow for you to hear the thrumming of their engines.   As tanks roll across the battlefield, you can feel the ground tremble below you.  In close quarter combat, you can smell the cordite and sweat.  Sometimes, even Computerized Graphic Images (CGI) can look messy and incomplete but each panel, every visual, leapt off of the page bringing you right into the battle fighting your way through hordes of Nistaani warriors.  There is one panel showing a man as he is firing his weapon, everything in the illustration is in perfect focus except for the barrel of the gun.  Just that small part of the entire picture is blurry, lending to the illusion that it is actually being fired at high rate.

To be honest with you, I don’t even know where to begin with on the writing.  There are so many elements in play at one time it’s hard to imagine that a writer could be so talented as to expertly weave them together so seamlessly.  Writing style aside, I’m stunned by how prophetic it was; I only found out after reading it that it was written Pre-9/11.  There are so many messages, so many truths to these pages that if I were to write on each one I’d have at least a 12 week sermon series.  The story could be seen in many, many ways:  as the struggle between Light and Darkness (God and Satan), the struggle between the Western World and fundamentalist Islam, the struggle between progress and the status quo, etc. 

There was one thing that continued to haunt me as I read this fantastic comic.  While narrating the story of the battle, Maya rails against the government’s use of propaganda to convince the populace that sending its young people to slaughter is the right thing to do.  One line of narration still sticks with me, “…The perfect slave is the one who believes he is free.”  To begin with, a slave has been bought, traded or born into slavery and no longer owns his own life.  Slaves cannot choose to come and go as they please, they are there for their master’s every beck and call.  They are trapped with few solutions for release and the way out is almost always unpleasant.

We allow ourselves to be trapped by temptation time and again.  In Romans 6:12 St. Paul states, “…do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”  Our own desires can make us a slave to all sorts of different things, meanwhile we’re convinced that we are free to come and go as we please. 

People talk themselves into believing that they have control over a situation when they do not.  Those  who practice promiscuous sex or who continue to indulge in internet pornography are fed (or even feed themselves) the lie that they are completely free to do as they like.  But, in reality they can quickly become a slave to their own desires, ebbing and flowing with the tides of their passions.  The propaganda used by the URRS government to convince its young men and women to throw themselves into battle is not unlike the media we are subjected to everywhere we turn.  We even propagandize ourselves, making us think that one can “Quit if I want to.”

Sometimes it takes a traumatic experience such as the Battle of Kar Dathra’s Gate to wake us up to the reality that there is something else controlling us.  A life changing experience that helps to open our eyes to the fact that we are not the ones with the power.  And when that life changing experience comes, people (just as Maya in the story) have to step forward in that new-found understanding.  As the chains slip free, we must resist the urge to slip those shackles back over our wrists and continue with the status quo.  Allow the experience to teach you, to mold you, to help you grow as a human being perfectly made.  Green Flag

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4 Responses to “The Red Star: The Battle of Kar Dathra’s Gate – A Comic Review”

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Gossett, while incredibly talented, did not write “Violent Messiahs”. Some other hack did that. Gossett just did the forward to the book. I’m afraid your credits are wrong.

Thank you Mr. Dysart and I’m honored that you would even come to my blog. Please forgive the error and I appreciate the correction. My (ahem) researcher will be thoroughly punished for this (read: flayed then alcohol poured on him) for not doing a better job on this one. I will correct this mistake and once again thanks for visiting, I hope in the future will can at least be myspace friends :-).

Wow that was a very interesting read. I like the the christian perspective on our perception of desire. In reality win we give in we aren’t doing what we really want but settling for what we know. I haven’t read the comic but now I really want to.

Looks like you are a true professional. Did ya study about the issue? hrhr


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