Diving into familiar territory, like the Dunkirk retreat, the latest issues of DC Thomson’s Commando war comic (Issues 5039-5042) also feature many surprises like the air battles fought over the Burmese jungle, the battle torn streets of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, and even, perhaps, a glimpse of the future…
Commando 5039: Home of Heroes – Saved in Time!
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Morhain & Rodriguez Cover: Ian Kennedy
After being struck by lightning while parachute training, Frankie Walsh had a supreme advantage in the Second World War: he could see the future!
Alan Hedben’s latest Commando story is a mixture of action battles and Science Fiction intrigue. Frankie has premonitions of plane crashes and German ambushes, allowing him to save the day in the nick of time. But how are these forewarnings possible? And who is the mysterious man who seems to be behind them?
A classic Commando pairing, Morhain and Rodriguez deliver the interior artwork, using jagged panels to signify the transition to Frankie’s premonitions, the serrated edges filling the reader with unease as the potential and deadly fates of our heroes are revealed. And, wrapping up this neat little package is Ian Kennedy’s cover, showing a mysterious figure garbed in a suitable science fiction get up, while keeping the Commando theme in check with planes and parachutes falling disconnected around him.
Commando 5040: Gold Collection – Hoodoo Mission
Story: Feldwick Art: Bielsa Cover: Ken Barr
Originally Commando No 350 (August 1968)
“Then came then savage confusion of the British retreat to Dunkirk…”
A Dispatch Rider during the British retreat, Mike “Wheels” Riley left his post to save injured men on the road to Dunkirk. But they were already gone. When Riley catches up with his C.O. he’s told more men died because of his absence. Tormented by guilt, Riley transfers to the Tanks Corps. in North Africa, but it seems that the ghosts of his past still haunt him in this Gold issue classic from Feldwick.
The interior tank shots from Biesla really stand out, captivating the reader in the dark claustrophobia of metal and machine, as well as the men who rode in them. Meanwhile, Ken Barr’s thrilling cover is exactly the opposite, showing Riley as completely exposed and vulnerable, fleeing a firing Junker as he races towards us on his trusty motorbike.
Commando 5041: Action and Adventure – The Reporters!
Story: Ferg Handley Art and Cover: Carlos Pino
Focusing on the Spanish Civil War, “The Reporters” looks at the intermediate period between both World Wars, as tension in Europe rises. Here, while three internal armies fight to gain control of Spain, English reporter Pete Beckford and photographer Owen Carver try to cover all sides, interviewing the different factions. But, in a metafictional twist, Ferg Handley’s story becomes less about the actual war, and more about the imposed objectivism of those involved in documenting war, as bias and opinion are repressed… even in the heat of battle.
With loving attention given to the Spanish street signs and graffiti in the background, you know that Madrid native Carlos Pino truly enjoyed illustrating this issue, and his cover is equally dynamic, centring on both our heroes and their weapons of choice; the purple of the title beautifully mimicking the purple of the torn flag behind them.
Commando 5042: Silver Collection – Squadron Pride
Story: Ian Clark Art: Jose Maria Jorge Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No 2645 (March 1993)
As expected in an issue titled ‘Squadron Pride’, Ian Clark’s story focuses on an ensemble rag-tag team of pilots and ground crew, determined to prove their worth fighting the Japanese in Burma.
With search lights criss-crossing in the background, illuminating smoke, fog and the action of the aerial battle, Ian Kennedy successfully manages to bring colour to this nocturnal scene, the blues and greens complimenting the colour of the aircraft, while contrasting the red and orange of the flames engulfing them. And featuring such terrific night battles, Jose Maria Jorge’s interior artwork really shines in this issue. The black mass of night sky around the lone Brewsters really adds to the tension, where anything at all could be lurking in that blackness – and it often is!
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