Commando 4955 - Midnight Mission

Midnight Missions and Pony Soldiers! New Commandos ride out

Here’s our regular intel on the latest issues of DC Thomson’s war comic Commando (Issues 4959 – 4962) – on sale from 6th October 2016 in all good newsagents and various digital platforms.

By the way, our secret agents tell us that some WHSmith stores, perhaps hell bent on ensuring no-one buys comics, have taken to hiding Commando behind (or even under tve counter), claiming they’re probe to being shoplifted. 

If you don’t see Commando on display, ignore all the other even smaller items they do have on display we’d suggest are more liable to such illegality – chocolates, pens, etc. for example – and ask if thay have the comics in stock. 

It might just be they’re trying to give you a World War Two-inspired “under the counter experience” of course, but since you might also need to ask if they have 2000AD lurking there, too, that’s unlikely.

Yes, we think it’s a really stupid decision, too, but nothing WHSmith management does these day to confound its customers really surprises us…

Commando 4955 – Midnight Mission
Story: George Low
Art: Vicente Alcazar
Cover: Ian Kennedy

Flight Sergeant Nick Nolan was a reliable, thoughtful type. He yearned to fly a fighter like a Spitfire or Hurricane but his superiors reckoned he “didn’t have enough fire in his belly”.

Nonetheless, he undoubtedly had skills so Nick was selected to transport secret agents and supplies into German-held France. Aboard his Westland Lysander, the pilot never knew what dangers might spring from the darkness – dangers like a marauding Junkers 88 Night-fighter out for the kill!

Commando 4956 – Fortress Of Fear
Originally Commando No 261 (May 1967), re-issued as No 931 (May 1977)

Story: Spence
Art: Quesada
Cover: Segrelles

“Subito! Quickly! Across the road, no noise, no lights — the German lorries come. In them are the captured British Commandos sent to blow up the secret arsenal beneath Castello Santuzzo.

“These men are trained to do what we can never hope to. They must be freed and aided. Who knows, it might be that in return they will make sure that at least one Commando knife slips into the black heart of Kommandant Von Schneider.

“He has tortured and killed too many of us. His time has come. We, the mountain men of the Italian resistance, will make it so.

“So quickly, quietly…”

“In order to fight a Nazi threat, a squad of British Commandos form an uneasy alliance with a ragged resistance group hiding in the Italian hills,” notes Deputy Editor Scott Montgomery of this re-presented tale.

“What’s different about this book is that the back cover blurb is written in the first person – from the point of view of one of the resistance men. It’s quite a rare occurrence but is certainly effective in conveying immediate drama – and I’m surprised that Commando hasn’t done this kind of thing more often.”

Commando – 4957 – Yuri’s Return
Story: Stephen Walsh
Art: Manuel Benet
Cover: Manuel Benet

Yuri Muryavev, a retired “Shock Force” Spetznaz Commando, had settled in the UK but, after the collapse of communism, he returned to his Russian homeland. Wishing to do honest work, he took on a job offer to provide security for an aid agency operating in South America.

However, Yuri did not realise that he was in the employ of Anatoly Speck, a sinister Russian billionaire who had plans to wreak havoc upon the world.

Now the former soldier faced a danger even greater than ever before and only he could stop it…

Commando 4958 – The Pony Soldiers
Originally Commando No 2457 (March 1991)
Story: Ian Clark
Art: C.T. Rigby
Cover: Phil Gascoine

Horses against tanks and aircraft? Not a recipe for success, you’d think. But that was the best that was available for a gallant band of guerrillas – men and boys – battling against the Japanese in the Philippine Islands… as they waited for the Americans to return and set them free.

“We’ve been very fortunate throughout Commando’s 55-year history that our versatile artists can draw anything – from tanks to battleships, aircraft to infantry,” notes Scott of this story. “But, unlikely as it sounds, a few artists have told us that horses are a challenge to draw well.

“As a non-artist myself, I’m not sure why this might be – presumably the amount of detail required to render each beast must be very time-consuming. So I can only imagine how an illustrator might shudder when they read scripts with words like: ‘A horde of cavalry riders storm across a crowded battlefield…’

“However, as you will see, veteran Commando stalwarts C. T. Rigby and Phil Gascoine rose to the occasion.”

Are you sure you don’t mean ‘ridden to the occasion’, Scott?


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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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