It seems like the favor-of-the-month for Special Operations units is the US Navy SEALs and their once secretive TIER-One Special Warfare Group: SEAL Team Six. For many years, the Navy SEALs were known about by some in the general public given the infamy of Richard Marcinko, but it was largely eclipsed by DELTA Force and other units in popular media. That altered with the War on Terror, but dramatically rose when DEVGRU Operators pumped 556 into number-one-shitbag UBL in Pakistan in 2011. An explosion of NAVSPECWAR video games, books, films, TV programs soon followed, packing the collective consciences of the world with deeds of the elite Frogmen, but with some mixed results. The subject of today's FWS review is the 2013 graphic novel that was very much a product of that explosion of interest in Naval Special Warfare, but it fused the iconic Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai film with the conflict in Afghanistan, starring Special Operations of the Navy and Army instead of Ronin Samurai: Rubicon. Published by Archaia Entertainment in 2013, Rubicon was sold by the publishers as a retelling of the Seven Samurai story through the modern war in Afghanistan with American Special Operators defended an Afghan village from the Taliban. Heading this project was a team of talented creators with input from a former founding ST6 Frogman. Originally envisioned as a film, it was translated in a graphic novel to push for a major studio.
The Plot of Rubicon
Bottom Line on Rubicon
Rubicon is a nexus of the ideas, talent, willingness, and time that could have been an opportunity to transform Kurosawa's iconic film into a modern warfare setting. Could have been the object term. This is the deeply painful final assessment of Rubicon, it is flawed on a fundamental level that strikes deep into the basic foundations of this graphic novel. While Rubicon is interesting, it deeply vexes me how this small comic publisher could take this wonderful idea and get it so wrong for no good reason...the nexus of positive elements was there and yet, it could not be realized. The bottom line on Rubicon reminds me what the Oracle said to Neo in the first Matrix film about him having the gift, but it looks like he is waiting for something, like his next life. That is the final assessment of Rubicon, it is waiting on its rebooting that hopeful will live up to the promise of the idea. The real shame of the graphic novel for me is that I really wanted to like it and I just could not get over its many errors and flaws. Reminds me of this girl I dated in high school...
Should You Read Rubicon?
That largely depends on your level of interest in this modern military graphic novel and the price tag. I paid about $6 for the thing at a Books-a-Million in Houston while visiting my mother, and I think that was the right price for it. In the end, I am glad I read and own Rubicon and I think some will enjoy this modern twist on The Seven Samurai....but it is still heavily flawed and if you are knowledgeable about NAVSPECWAR operations as I am then there is just too much wrong to give it a pass. I guess in the end...approach with caution.
Next Time on FWS...