Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dan Hill's "The Unknown Soldier" - سخمت* - by Ray Wonsowski

*Sekhmet:  In ancient Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet was the lion-headed goddess of war, fire, and vengeance.

Panel 1 - Exterior shot, an Egyptian bazaar (photo ref: ).  In front of one stall is a dusty barber's pole.  Next to it, a barber gives a man a shave to another man in an old barber's chair.  The customer is reclined back, and the barber uses a straight razor.  Above, jumping across the alleyway from roof to roof is the feminine silhouette of the new UNKNOWN SOLDIER, her long straight hair whipping behind her.

CAPTION:  Aswan, Egypt.  Today.

CAPTION:  In 2007, the Al-Azhar Supreme Council declared that "the cutting of the rose" had no basis in Islamic law, and the Egyptian government banned the practice soon after.

Panel 2 - Interior, a non-descript room.  The panel should be in the shape of an open doorway, with curtains blowing across it.  Through the curtains we see a girl of about 9 years old in another barber's chair.  However, her "hijab" is coming loose from her head, and her face is contorted with fear.  On either side of the chair, two large Egyptian men hold her ankles, spreading her legs apart.  An older man, his head wrapped in a scarf and dressed in a black robe, blocks our view.  He is sitting on a wooden piano stool, staring into the skirt of the young girl, and he is flashing a scalpel.  A bloody, dirty sink is mounted on the wall behind the girl.  Foreground, the silhouetted head and shoulders of our SOLDIER.

CAPTION:  Some of the fundamental extremists, however, did not get the memo...

Panels 3, 4, and 5 are in one row.

Panel 3 and 4 - Both show the shocked/surprised face of one or the other of the large men that were holding the girl's ankles.  They also both have a throwing knife right between their eyes.

Panel 5 - The older man in the head scarf, now revealed to have a greying beard, has been hit across the face by a blur of motion.  The scapel flies from his hand.

Caption runs beneath captions 3, 4, and 5.

CAPTION:  The back-room operators don't wash instruments.  They reuse syringe spikes.  Girls get AIDS before their first kiss.  Unclean whether mutilated or not, a double damnation.

Panel 6 - The girl looking off-panel past us.  She is getting off the chair and straightening her hijab.  She is still afraid.

SOLDIER:  (off-panel)  Run, child.  Do not turn around.

Panel 7 - Our heroine, the UNKNOWN SOLDIER, her face bandaged tightly, accenting her anger, her dark hair a streak of motion behind her, drives her fist into the crotch of the bearded man.  She is wearing a white blouse and loose flowing linen pants.  Combat boots on her feet.  The bearded man loses his wind with puffed cheeks, and is crying.  An inset panel reveals in close-up her fist pulling away from his crotch, her hand bloody, clutching the handle of the bloody scalpel as she pulls it out of him.

SOLDIER:  العذارى سبعين ليس لها استخدام لالخصي.

CAPTION:  I am the archangel of children, sent by the Prophet...

CAPTION: sha Allah.

(BIG tip of the hat to Dan Hill for his post this week.  A middle-eastern woman Unknown Soldier was TOO good to pass up.  Thank you, Mr. Hill!)


  1. I may be a tad biased here but I dug this. This is exactly the kind of story I envisaged with this character when I cooked her up.

    I'm beginning to think it might be worth spinning off into an original character.

    Good stuff!

    1. Thanks!

      I always liked the idea of the Soldier, but Garth Ennis really opened the door for why the legacy of the soldier should be passed down. Joshua Dysart proved it. I thought your take was as original as Dysart's, with the same potential for showing readers the inhumanity some are capable of...

      I hope you do something with it - it's too good of an idea to get away.

      Thanks again for letting me play with your toys....

  2. This is exactly the kind book that would be amazing for Vertigo. Very nice piece of writing Ray and a tip of the hat to Mr Hill for helping shape this great page with his cool vision of the character.


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