Volume 1 - The Hot Zone Club

Author: Rick Veitch
Artists: Rick Veitch and Gary Erskine
Titan Books
RRP: 7.99, US $9.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 674 0
ISBN-10: 1 84576 674 1
Available 21 December 2007

They say that war is Hell, but that's just because they haven't signed on with the military of the future - where the top priorities are Motivation and Morale. Sure, we're bogged down in some dusty Middle Eastern quagmire, hip-deep in hostile hearts and minds - but the booze is free, the palaces are rocking, and when the RPGs start flying and the adrenaline starts pumping, that special someone could be waiting for you right in your own foxhole. Have you got what it takes to joint he Hot Zone Club? Sign up now and find out...

The Hot Zone Club reprints issues #1-5 of the Army@Love comic book series. In the near future the war on terror is not going so well. Recruitment in the armed forces is at an all time low - that is until some bright spark has the idea of getting the multinational companies, who are the first to profit from war, to provide funding for the army - funding that turns a tour of duty into one big party. The main reason that more men are recruiting is thanks to the decision to actively recruit women and have mixed squadrons. The end result is that after a hard day of blowing the cr*p out of the enemy, the soldiers could look forward to free booze, food and sex.

When new recruit Switzer is saved by Flabbergast whilst in the middle of enemy fire, she tells Flabbergast that there is a private club called The Hot Zone Club. To be come a member you need to get down and do the dirty whilst in the midst of combat fire. After Flabbergast and Switzer do the deed, Switzer reveals that she made the whole thing up - and so the first members of the club are born.

As news of the club spreads, so too do the members. And, once the powers that be discover what is going on, instead of shutting it down they get behind it and make it a club to be proud to join - issuing official patches to those who are in it.

In this volume the introduction of the main characters is neatly handled. All are somehow interwoven together, so that people back home and on the front lines have an interesting connection to one another. There's plenty of humour and tragedy too. There's the weird Secretary of War who has the strangest of hobbies, and there's poor old Allie, who isn't happy with anything in her life and has already made a few suicide attempts.

In the end this story is one that will, hopefully, grow into something much bigger. This is certainly a great way to kick-start the series though.

Nick Smithson

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