“Written and illustrated by Ukrainian creators” these idealistic stories within PEREMOHA: Victory for Ukraine (Nepemora) show the strength of the little person and how the horrors of war unfold. The stories follow the civilians and soldiers front and center. There are war images, some language (though some is “bleeped out”) and just the idea of war could be triggers, however, overall, things are well done and not graphic for graphic sake. Most of the action happened in 2022 so it has become a piece of history and not current events, but of course it is still happening.
Tokyopop’s collection could be “any war” as war is hell and here are the civilians, the people who are having their home destroyed by an enemy. Ukraine is getting more than its fair share of war is Hell, but the overall feeling gave me World War Two vibes. Yet, due to some of the modern technology we know it is recent. Things are extremely patriotic and even when there is potential for things to not end well, they are ending well for the Ukrainian people anyway. The people are meant to cause emotions in the reader, such as the stories about two grandfathers. One is the Grandfather and his adult granddaughter fighting side by side, and her going back to fight alone after he’s injured. The other is the grandfather who tells the story of the Tractor that stopped the invaders. This tractor happens to have the same mustache and name as he does, but we learn this only after the picture the child granddaughter drew is shown to a soldier who says it was a perfect likeness. The colors used tend to be more earth tones and are darker images. There are a lot of details even in the ones that are slightly simpler. There are various styles of artwork and the illustrations mostly fit the somber mood. However, there is one that makes caricatures of the Russian soldiers and their civilians, but most Russian soldiers are cruel, evil, ugly looking.
You get a look at the culture of the Ukraine, some of the history (the comment of 350 years and still fighting the Muscovites is telling), and I was curious why grandfathers and granddaughters were a strong theme (there is another story where a great-granddaughter was showing weapons her great-grandfather had used in a previous war. Of course, I figured its message was that their weapons are outdated, sparse and they had to use whatever they could get, but why another granddaughter?). One of the interesting pieces is how the war is being fought. Some people are using traditional weapons (guns, molotov cocktails, planes, tanks) but there is one story where the Hacker is the soldier and the way they fight is “getting the story out” and how dangerous even that is. I enjoyed this graphic novel, yet it was missing something for me. I liked what was included (maps, information about the creators), but I guess I was just looking for a “bit more” but I’m not sure what that was, honestly. I am hoping that a portion of the proceeds are going to the charity RAZOM, but even if it isn’t, this is still an important book to read.