THE STORY: "Army@Love" by Rick Veitch (W/A) & Gary Erskine (A) - DC/Vertigo
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A New Jersey National Guard unit in the fictional country of Afbaghistan becomes a petri dish for new military marketing and morale-boosting strategies, mostly thanks to the office for Motivation and Morale (MOMO), run by a toothy-grinned man named Col. Healey. In an over-the-top acidic satire about modern warfare and the efforts that drive military PR and recruitment, Veitch's story follows two soldiers, Flabbergast and Switzer, who get frisky in a war zone and christen their new derivative of the Mile High Club to be the Hot Zone Club.
Affairs, political power plays and absurd ringtones pepper the series as it explores the unsavory overlap that can occur amid corporate interests, modern war and media over-saturation.
WHY IT WORKS: "Army@Love" is an R-rated modern update of "M*A*S*H" for the age of cell phones, Twitter and Blackwater. It's extremely contemporary and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to boorish self-interested characters and raging distrust of marketing within the military.
WHY IT DOESN'T: Doing comedy about something as serious as life and death in wartime isn't an easy sell. Though it's about a topic that hits home almost universally, an adaptation could easily strike soldiers and their families as insensitive if it fails to represent the human side of war like "M*A*S*H" did.
Any adaptation would be instantly controversial, but it would also need to be attractive.
WHAT TO DO: Casting this movie would be tricky because you need actors who can pull off obscenely shallow lines with straight faces.
Kevin Spacey would be a perfect match for Switzer's crooked white-collar criminal husband Loman. Ashton Kutcher would fit Flabbergast's demeanor, and Switzer could believably go to Sarah Michelle Gellar, who's capable of being intermittently tough and frivolous. The final product would be a biting R-rated black comedy with aloofness of "Hot Shots!" but be able to use its humor effectively in the scope of its war satire along the lines of a movie like "Three Kings."
LAST WORD: The hot-button subject matter is a controversy magnet, but this Vertigo series did war satire as well as any comic or movie yet, save maybe "Doonesbury," and did so with a keen eye for the media's role internationally in defining how people understand horrific armed conflicts.
Getting it right would be a challenge, but few adaptable stories in comics right now are nearly as timely.
Would you like to see "Army@Love" adapted? Let us know your thoughts on how to do it in the comments section or on Twitter!