Comic Book: Stitched

A five-man team of American soldiers are on their way to evacuate a small squad of British troops from the mountains of Afghanistan. Their helicopter suffers an engine failure and crash-lands in the mountains, far from home and well out of radio contact with their home base. Two of the crew members die in the crash, and of the three survivors, one has suffered a potentially life-threatening wound to the leg.

They meet up with the survivors of the SAS squad they're there to rescue, but soon encounter an enemy that has it in for both them and the Taliban: the Stitched, undead creatures that tear any human they reach limb from limb, guided by mysterious men in black robes. With little ammunition, no food, no water, and a wounded companion, the soldiers must figure out a way to get out of Afghanistan before the Stitched or the Taliban find and kill them.

Stitched is both a horror comic book from Avatar Press and a seventeen-minute short horror film. In both cases, it's written by Garth Ennis; in the former, it has art by Mike Wolfer.

Ennis's run on the comic ends with issue #7, but Wolfer opted to continue it beyond that point as writer/artist. Wolfer's issues, rather than dealing directly with the plot of the initial arc, follows the path across the world of a surviving tank of the fluid that creates the Stitched, where it is often used as a biological weapon. It appears to have ended with issue #18.

Tropes encountered in this work include:

  • Action Girl: Lieutenant Cooper.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: One might expect that issue #8 would remain in Afghanistan, but instead, it's about the Stitched being exported to foreign markets as weapons. This includes a trader in Sri Lanka and a yakuza in Japan who intends to use them as part of a revenge plot.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The soldiers in the first arc rescue an entire village of women and children from human traffickers, and manage to slaughter both all the slave traders and a good whack of the necromancy cult they were allied with.
  • Black Cloak: The Stitched's handlers.
  • Body Horror: Issue #3 deals with how the Stitched are made. It is profoundly unpleasant.
  • Facial Horror / Eye Scream / Groin Attack: it involves stitching their orifices shut. All 9 of them.
  • Cross Over: Dave and Boz have gone drinking with Kevin Hawkins.
  • Gorn: A specialty of Mike Wolfer's and of Avatar Press's. The book's interiors are mild by comparison to the covers, however.
  • Hidden Depths: Corporal "Twiggy," the nineteen-year-old American soldier, is more or less a total load for the first two issues. In the third, however, she reveals she's been following the stories of human trafficking out of Afghanistan with an eye towards doing something about it, to the point where she knows the name of the head trafficker.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Stitched fill most of the criteria of a standard Romero-style zombie, but can wield simple weapons and display an alarming proclivity towards dismemberment, disembowelment, and creative methods of impalement. Their handlers control them by using a tin can on a length of chain with pebbles inside, and the Stitched lash out in the direction of the cans' rattling sound. As long as the rattling sound persists, the Stitched seem virtually indestructible, to the point of standing up to automatic weapons fire; the only way to destroy them seems to be to still the rattling somehow, then take their bodies apart.
  • Trolling Translator: A serious example. Corporal Twiggy says her translator told the Afghani villagers she was addressing that the Americans were bad people, and if they listened to her they deserved a beating, instead of translating what she said.