There are few books in the caliber of comic book greatness. Of those, Marvel’s John Paul II, the Killing Joke, and indy Heavyweight Messiah are simply tops. Can Irena, Book One make that distinction? It IS a superhero story after all…
Irena Book One: Wartime Ghetto
Written by Jean-David Morvan and Séverine Tréfouël
Illustrated by David Evrard
Colored by Walter
Published by Lion Forge, LLC
Synopsis: In November 1940, the Germans gathered all the Jews in Warsaw–nearly 400,000 people–into a small portion of the city that became known as the Warsaw Ghetto. They locked the gates and patrolled the area like a large prison–no Jews were allowed to leave, and only authorized people were allowed to enter. Thousands died every month from starvation and disease.
As a non-Jewish social worker, however, Irena was one of a few outsiders allowed inside. She was granted a special permit to check the grounds for typhus and to help contain the disease from spreading outside the ghetto. But she soon decided to use that special access to secretly help the people by smuggling out the innocent children trapped inside.
Irena Sendlerowa really existed.
Poland is the setting of this history. During World War II, she managed to save the lives of hundreds of children by establishing an underground network to save children trapped in the ghetto of Warsaw. While there was artistic license used where necessary to correct gaps or conflicting accounts, this is a true story. The writers based the book on genuine accounts of this amazing story. It’s a part of history that I haven’t specifically heard before.
The art is very child-friendly and the story will remain valuable to pass on as a teaching tool. While the Nazi’s are often caricatured unfairly, the true horror has been greatly reduced for presentability. And even among the villains, there are surprising heroes. It is an even read once you adjust to the pace of the story. To avoid a sense of gloom, the authors flash-forward and even then there is a surprising and tense twist-ending.
Fans of Jack Kirby’s Fagin the Jew or Marvel’s John Paul II will find this first volume to be a must-have.
For an exceptional book, I have to give it an exceptional 5 of 5 stars.
You can find Irena Book One: Wartime Ghetto at your local comic shop at the end of July 2019 and bookstores in the second week of August. You can also find it online and on your favorite book website.
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are those of the individual reviewer