He Who Fights with Monsters by Francesco Artibani and Werther Dell’Edera
Ablaze (August 30, 2022)
144 pages; $24.99 hardcover
Reviewed by Joshua Gage
Francesco Artibani has long worked for the Walt Disney Company Italia, where he writes many tales for Topolino, PK, and W.I.T.C.H., of which he’s been a scriptwriter and story editor for three years, and has created the science fiction series Kylion. Werther Dell’Edera is an Italian comic book artist who provided interior art for the unreleased comic Aliens: Colonial Marines – Rising Threat for Dark Horse Comics, as well as Marvel Comics, and BOOM! Studios hit Something is Killing the Children. Their newest collaboration is the WWII graphic novel He Who Fights With Monsters.
The novel begins in 1945 in Prague. The Russians are taking over, and puppet master Glonek wants to entertain a Russian Lieutenant with a tale from the history of his city. The rest of the graphic novel is about a young Jewish doctor, Dr. Radek Molnar, and one of his patients trying to survive the Nazi invasion without being caught. To aid their resistance, they create a golem, which seems to work well, until it doesn’t.
This is not the first novel to combine the horrors of WWII and the golem myth, and I’m sure it won’t be the last; however, the tale itself is intriguing enough to keep readers moving. Furthermore, Artibani throws in a few twists to keep readers surprised and engaged, as well. Of course, Dell’Edera’s art is as beautiful and striking as ever. The palette chosen is very dark and drab, immediately bringing the ugliness of war and ruin to life for the reader and adding suspense and terror to the book.
Overall, He Who Fights with Monsters is an interesting moral tale laced with myth and horror. It’s a clever retelling of the golem mythos, and the artwork provided by Dell’Edera is striking and haunting. Horror readers will thoroughly enjoy this graphic novel.