Cover Image: PEREMOHA: Victory for Ukraine

PEREMOHA: Victory for Ukraine

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Member Reviews

Let's start out by saying that the intentions of this book are unassailable - Russia's completely unprovoked attack on the Ukraine is unconscionable, a crime against humanity.

And then there's the book itself, which is mostly written by one author, with the art divided up between several artists - all of them Ukranian. Are these the best stories? No. They become a bit repetitive, and they are, in essence, propaganda. Propaganda from the right side of a horrific war, absolutely, but still propaganda.

Most of the stories are in-war spins on superhero origin stories, and the odd more humorous story.

The art fares better, is more diverse, and overall is pretty good. Even better when you consider all of this work (including the writing) has been done during an actual war.

All in all, 3 to 4 stars for its content, and 5 stars for its intentions.
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Well I didn't care if this came drawn in blood and stained by the sweat of the frontline, this book about the invasion of Ukraine as seen from Ukraine might as well just not exist.  It's shite.  The main author has a fixation not on good war comics or anything else, like heartfelt journalism or anything useful, but myth – so in the first story a bell-ringer in the cathedrals of Kyiv reports to a friend about a phantom fighter pilot and his manoeuvres against a Russian jet, in the second a woman proves to have super-powers against the invaders where their tanks are concerned, and again later on the surprise defeat of a Russian warship attacking a piddly little island is down to a legendary artefact and a pure heart.  The art is as brash and cartoonish as the nonsensical mythologising we get, and anybody who thinks this will help any of the displaced millions or the Ukrainian soldiers facing a winter war as I type needs to give their heads a wobble.

Much, much better – and yet still heavily flawed – is a look at Russians and what they manage to achieve when they go a-looting the deserted homes they've created.  I say flawed because once the initial joke is over and done with it still continues, and by names and signs and places mentioned it just seems to be for the Ukrainians who made it and those who might possibly have the leisure to read it.  Which is the point to be had with the entire thing – the myth is for Ukrainians, and not for the western audience.  It's not helpful, informative, entertaining or anything necessary to justify its existence – it just pampers one small mythical strand of the Ukrainian mindset and ignores the reality of so many lives.  So even its inherent, bulging-at-the-seams optimism is really misguided and not worth thinking about.

My advice?  Ignore this.  Consider how much – or how little – buying it would actually put in the charity box from the publishers, double that amount and donate that yourself directly to the cause.  That way the people who need to benefit will do so, you will save half an hour of your reading life, and the naive nonsense here that just cannot hold a simple idea about the reason for its existence and its intended audience can fester as it should.
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This is a collection of short graphic stories that take place within the first five months of the Ukraine invasion. All the artists and all the authors are Ukrainian telling the stories as they or their friends and family have lived them. This compilation is fresh because each story is different, recognizable from the news. My favorite chapter is the one with the tractor. I remember the news telling of tractors pulling tanks, and in this you see the tractor as a character (similar to Cars movies) get really mad that these tanks are tearing up the land.  Tractor is going to go get them. This is set up to be a book not only to share what’s going on but to help raise funds for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.  For something that was put together in very little time it’s fantastic.
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Here’s the thing — if you expect to see me review this with any objectivity, that’s really not going to happen. It’s been over 6.5 months since Russia invaded Ukraine and has been trying to blame the victim for the actions of the aggressor. 

This can’t be justified, understood or forgiven.

Not after Bucha. Not after Mariupol. Not after any of this horror.

Russia should do exactly what was suggested its warship should do to itself. 

So in short, this will be a non-objective rating. I wouldn’t care if the pages were blank except for a variety of curses aimed at the invaders that in their own country are jailing people for calling this war a war. (Actually, I’d probably have been jailed over there for this review. Great place, no?)

So read these 9 very short stories, more sketches than anything, all united by refusal to give up. And that’s brave and necessary.

5 stars. 

Buy this book, show support for Ukraine. Don’t stop caring, even if prices are high or you’re looking at a cold winter in your home. However bad you think you have it, there are devastated places in Ukraine that have it much worse than you do, and they need help, support and prioritizing what’s right over what’s comfortable.


Thanks to NetGalley and TOKYOPOP for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The drawings are nice, colourful and detailed.
Historical references and Ukrainian tidbits. 

Writing is sometimes too fantastical that it's hard to take it seriously as an adult.
Strong bias towards Ukraine, brushes over the far right. I don't why, but it seems the comics give me the impression that the characters accept them, but it is a thin line with toleration. 

Maybe give it to your kids? But I'm afraid they may come away thinking every Russian is some kind of genocidal maniac.
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Perehoma is a well-written and designed comics anthology with a literary quality and social purpose. Well worth reading, sharing, and supporting — an ideal for readers from young adulthood on.
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With nine short stories, this anthology of war stories in comics format was a mixed bag for me as some of the stories were good, some needed more polish, some would've been better left out or published on their own.

I understand that, with the aim being to support Ukrainian artists that are in very strained economic circumstances right now as well as the fact that the Russo-Ukrainian War is still ongoing, there probably wasn't enough time to work more on the stories as needed. If I were an artist and my country was being bombed day and night, I wouldn't have all the time in the world to create my stuff at a leisure pace either, more so because in times of war art isn't a priority people are going to spend money on, with food and shelter and safety being priorities. I also do get it that art is an outlet for all the stress, pain, rage, and trauma Ukrainians are experiencing on a daily basis, which explains the narrative choices made in this collection that would otherwise have a different, likely less kind, interpretation of the authors' intentions.

That said, I'm going to focus on the better stories and offer what constructive critique I can provide. For me, out of the nine short stories, these were the best:

by Oleksandr Koreshkov & Denys Fadieiev
The opening story is about the aerial dogfight between a daring Ukrainian pilot and a Russian jet fighter over the skies of Kyiv from the POV of a citizen on the ground that observes their confrontation and is saved by the actions of the pilot. It goes by too quickly, and leaves a few questions unanswered, such as how does the narrator on the ground know this is the Ghost, and I wish the dogfight had been shown for longer.

by Maksym Bohdanovsky & Denys Fadieiev
This was the most original plotline, in my opinion, and had a story you won't read about in the media nor will make it into memes all Westerners know about like the tractors and the Ghost. It's about how an old grandpa that's manning a checkpoint on the road with just a rifle, a walkie-talkie, and a dog for company manages to trick a column of Russian tanks into climbing a seemingly harmless hill to circumvent his checkpoint, only to end up being shelled on there by the Ukrainian artillery for their trouble. The historical lesson the old grandpa gives by the end is interesting, though the dialogue in that part feels a bit forced. This story is simply the best, the most credible without a need for literary embellishment, and that shows the value of ordinary heroes.

by Kyrylo Malov & Denys Fadieiev
The last story, it's about a group of partisans equipped with old weapons, mature and young both, bent on ambushing and blowing up Russian troops that must cross by in their way to the front. It's the most "war movie" of all the stories in the sense that it has the hallmarks of an adventure film, from action sequence to dialogue. This felt like a chapter in a larger story, and I wish the ending had been more somber given the plotline.

And as an honourable mention:

by Bohdana Vitkovska
This was weirdly childlike for the anthology and didn't quite fit with the rest in terms of tone and genre. But on it's own it's a good story, and very sweet, that tells the tractor-towing-Russian-tank meme (that really happened, several times) meme using a sentient tractor called Taras. It is similar in style to Thomas the Tank Engine, which is why I think this story in particular should be its own book. Expand it, polish it a bit, and republish it separately. It'd be a hit with children, I'm sure, and it'd be a good opportunity to teach children outside of Ukraine (but I'm sure even Ukrainian kids would like it) about the war, why it happened, and why it's important to support the victims of the invasion.

The rest of the stories weren't bad exactly, just rushed and in need of polishing as I said. I think the only one I didn't like was "The Witch," because the plot was over-the-top and the fantastical style (it has magic) felt so out of place compared to the rest of the stories, all of which are inspired by or allude to real events. Though I imagine it could be meant to mock the claims by Russians about the existence of witches in Ukraine; over-the-top claim is met by over-the-top story, I guess. I also felt that the story entitled "Looters" had a style of drawing that didn't quite fit in with the rest because it was cartoony whilst the rest go for a semi-realistic (as in, non-cartoony) comics style of drawing; but I wonder if the cartoonish style was also deliberate due to how hilariously cartoon villainy-like the real stories of Russian looting sound.

To conclude, I do think this gives a good feel of how the future war stories (and films) about this conflict will be. 3.5 stars!
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