First published within a single compilation volume back in March of 2013, ‘Stitched: Volume One’ was written by Garth Ennis with script and artwork by Mike Wolfer.  The compilation volume contained all seven of the original comics from the first series (issues 1 - 7).

A short eighteen minute film was created by Ennis in 2011 in attempt to promote the original comic book series.  The first ‘Stitched’ comic was published just two months after the film’s July premier at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con.

DLS Synopsis:
When their helicopter goes down in the Taliban-controlled mountains of Afghanistan, the remaining three members of the Blackhawk Idaho-Six Team know they’re in trouble.  With no way of contacting their commanding body, and no support in the vicinity, the three surviving NATO personnel are alone, at least for the foreseeable future.

To add to their dilemma, Lieutenant Pruitt took a serious injury to his leg during the crash.  Lieutenant Cassandra Cooper managed to stop the severe wound from bleeding out, but without proper medical attention, Pruitt’s chances of survival are looking increasingly bleak.

Corporal Twiggs suddenly feels way out of her depth.  She shouldn’t have been there with them.  She’s not ready for combat.  Cooper had smuggled the young Corporal on board their helicopter so that the she could see some of Afghanistan.  Now she’s in the middle of a potential warzone.  Hostiles could be hiding anywhere in the surrounding mountains or lurking in the nearby settlements.

And then the trio hear the faint whisper of a strange tinkering sound.  A tinny hum, whirling in the sun-scorched heat.  They’re on their feet and desperately searching for somewhere to hide.  And then they come across the bloodbath.  Afghanistan fighters, slaughtered and left to rot on the sun-bleached rocks.

Before they know what’s going on their under attack.  All around them, musky cloak-covered forms bearing vicious bladed weapons, shuffle towards them from seemingly out of nowhere.  The trio unleash all hell on their cloaked attackers, but their bullets seem to have little to no effect.

When it seems all hope is lost, a small team of British S.A.S. commandos hear the gunfight and come to their rescue.  With help from their rescuers, Cooper and her comrades are able to fight off the merciless undead by killing a strange robed man swinging a rattling tin can from a chain.

They may now be six strong, but their predicament is still desperate.  Who are these men wearing all-black robes who seem to be able to control the dead?  What sort of black magic is at work to reawaken these shuffling corpses and have them kill for them?

However desperate their predicament may be, these six soldiers know they have no choice but to find the source of this evil and hopefully, whilst bringing it to an end, somehow try to escape with their lives…

DLS Review:

Garth Ennis delivering blade-wielding undead mercenaries slaughtering as they go in the sun-bleached mountains of Afghanistan – now that’s a combination that should instantly grab your attention.  Ennis is a comic book writer who knows a thing or two about delivering uncompromising high-octane, fast-paced and gore-drenched horror.  Take his ‘Crossed’ series as an example.  Rage-fuelled post-apocalyptic hell-on-earth with some of the most over-the-top extreme violence and gore you’re likely to encounter in a graphic novel for some time.

Furthermore, inter-weaving his ‘War Stories’ comics with such unparalleled degrees of visceral extremity, and the whole premise of ‘Stitched’ seems a natural fit.  And indeed, as you’d expect, it all works incredibly well.

In essence what you have is a ‘Tombs Of The Blind Dead’ (1972) style zombie horror, only set in the scorching mountainous landscape of Eastern Afghanistan.  The story gets fully underway from the very first page, with the Blackhawk Idaho-Six helicopter crashing and the resulting desperate predicament becoming instantly clear to the reader.

Of course what we want to see is the shuffling dead coming into play.  And Ennis doesn’t disappoint with getting them straight into the action. Barely a second’s passed before we’re knee-deep in dismembered body parts and swinging sickles.  These undead motherfuckers are one nasty bunch.  As long as that tin can full of pebbles is making a noise, they’ll hunt you down and rip you apart with their blades and bare hands.

But the story doesn’t just sit with that singular plot.  Ennis throws in a Pakistani human trafficker named Emad Homayoun who’s utilising these stitched-up freaks for his despicable business.  Of course, the troops’ wet-behind-the-ears passenger in all this - Corporal Twiggs (aka Twiggy) – has taken it upon herself to locate Homayoun, so she can personally bring an end to his human trafficking empire.

What follows is a no-holds-barred fight for both survival in this incredibly hostile environment, but also a deeply sinister unveiling of a truly horrific legacy that’s been going on undetected in these seemingly barren mountains.

Of course the violence is about as brutal as it comes.  You’ll see Afghanistan children being literally ripped limb from limb, as well as heads and other body parts being blown off willy-nilly.  There’s slaughter and ungodly mayhem on almost every other page.  In fact, the way that these black-robed bastards create their army of shuffling undead is truly horrific.  And you see it in all its vicious detail.

From start to finish this is nothing short of an adrenaline-pumping read which doesn’t shy away from getting down in the dusty sand and delivering an utterly uncompromising storyline.  If you enjoyed Ennis’ ‘Crossed’ series, then you’re going to really dig ‘Stitched’.

The graphic novel runs for a total of 176 pages (which includes a five page ‘Gore cover gallery’).

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Stitched’ instalments:

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