Posted August 20, 2013 by Toby Alejandria in Comics


The guys over at Archaia Entertainment bring us a story heavily inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s highly-acclaimed film “Seven Samurai”–Rubicon. However, instead of samurais, farmers, and bandits we are given SEALs, opium harvesters, and the Taliban forces. Instead of blades, we get bombs and bullets in this “the-odds-are-bad-but-f**k-it” type of war story.

(NOTE: Rubicon means “A line that when crossed permits of no return and typically results in irrevocable commitment”)

Based on an idea by Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), the story by Dan Capela founding member of SEAL Team Six, written by Mark Long (The Silence of Our Friends) and illustrated by Mario Stilla, Rubicon tells us the story of five paramilitary Navy SEAL operators who’ve been forced upon by circumstance to protect an Afghan farming village from the Taliban who harass them and take away their harvest. Oh, by the way, the “Lions of Panjshir” (the faction formed between the villagers and the SEALs) are heavily outnumbered by the Taliban.

Rubicon is a good attempt, but not that remarkable. Allow me to state what I think about Rubicon:

PROS: Rubicon strives for authenticity, while preventing alienation of readers who are new to the whole genre (terms even). The pacing does not let off—I read it without stopping at all! Cultural differences between Afghans and Americans are somewhat explored.

CONS: People behind it indicated that they were heavily influenced by “Seven Samurai”…maybe a little more than that. It felt like Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece got a minor revamp (see first paragraph). I found it hard to find a character to sympathize with, because they open subplots that they hardly explore (i.e. Hector’s family issues, the romance between the Afsoon and Martin). But I guess, in war, there’s no room for softness. The intense pace of Rubicon is great for easily-bored readers but it can get a tad too confusing at times (who’s killing who!?).

With that said, I think Rubicon will be more than good if it was explored more. Maybe we need a better indicator that this corpse is a Taliban and not a villager. I also think it would be nice if the side of the opposition also got its arcs behind the frontline.

This is far from a travesty, but it has a lot of necessary tweaking for it to be considered as one of comics’ greats.

RATING: 3 out of 5 headshots

Toby Alejandria