Drawn in blood-black and mud-gray, Tardi's images confront the reader with violence and suffering more directly than most photographs could or most films would. In telling the stories of some dozen men caught up in a Hell from which there is seemingly no relief and no escape, his intention is to indict the people who made the decisions that sent them there and kept them there. In 1917, French troops mutinied in several locations; though Tardi never mentions these events, they must be in his mind, as he seeks to explain how it could happen. Near the end of the book, he tells of troops brought in from colonized Algeria and Indochina, and contrasts this with these populations' later successful defeat of their French invaders. The very end of the book, though, suggests that the French people themselves have not yet shaken off their overlords.