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Review: Robert Young Pelton's 'Roll Hard'

War correspondent and world-renowned adventurer Robert Young Pelton's graphic novel "Roll Hard" can be read cover to cover in a matter of an hour—pretty standard fare for a graphic novel. That said, the artwork and writing are first rate, and though you may read it in an hour, you'll be back to read it again later. "Roll Hard" portrays an intimate snapshot of the lives of Blackwater contractors who regularly ran Route Irish—one of the most deadly passageways in Iraq in 2004, affectionately referred to as "RPG Alley." Pelton, himself portrayed as a character in the graphic novel, rides along with the crew, sharing the constant danger and narrowly surviving more than a few close calls. What elevates this work from merely an action-packed comic to a poignant work of art are Pelton's efforts to understand the motivations of the contractors he's embedded with beyond their obvious monetary gain. What he and the reader eventually unearth is the revelation that these men are not bloodthirsty mercenaries as the public tends to think, but are instead driven by a sense of patriotism, honor, and loyalty to family and their comrades. Tucci's artistic talent only magnifies the sense of unrelenting danger and clearly portrays the unforgiving environment Pelton and the men from "Mamba Team" must overcome to survive.

You can find this and other works written by Pelton on Amazon.

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