Monsters by Barry Windsor-Smith

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The year is 1964.

Bailey doesn't realize he is about to fulfil his tragic destiny when he walks into a US Army recruitment office. Secretive, damaged, innocent, trying to forget a past and looking for a future, Bobby is the perfect candidate for a secret US government experiment, an unholy continuation of a genetics program that was discovered in Nazi Germany nearly 20 years earlier in the waning days of World War II. Bailey's only ally and protector, Sergeant McFarland, intervenes, which sets off a chain of cascading events that spin out of everyone's control. As the monsters of the title multiply, becoming real and metaphorical, the story reaches a crescendo of moral reckoning.

A 360-page tour de force of visual storytelling, Monsters' narrative canvas is copious: part familial drama, part thriller, part metaphysical journey, it is an intimate portrait of individuals struggling to reclaim their lives and an epic political odyssey that plays across two generations of American history.

Monsters is rendered in Barry Windsor-Smith's impeccable pen-and-ink technique, the visual storytelling, with its sensitivity to gesture and composition, the most sophisticated of the artist's career. There are passages of heartbreaking tenderness, of excruciating pain, of redemption and sacrifice, and devastating violence. Monsters is surely one of the most intense graphic novels ever drawn.

"In the works for 35 years, Barry Windsor-Smith knocks it out of the park. This book is one of the best of the last decade. This book will be on the ‘Best Graphic Novels Ever’ list with the likes of Watchmen and Preacher. This harrowing story follows a young man, looking for a better life by joining the US military. It’s SO much more than that. The first 50 pages feel like the origin story to a new superhero and then the story flips and becomes one of the most gripping stories you’ll ever read." Dani @ OK