Eagles Of Battle Series Begins In Commando

One of the traits of Commando over its 50 years of publication is that it tells one-off stories rather than on-going serials. The title has rarely even had series within its run that reused the same characters, although notable exceptions to this in recent years have been writer Ferg Handley’s ‘Ramsey’s Raiders’ titles and long-standing Commando artist John Ridgway’s ‘H-Boats’ sequence. However it has used themed series in the past to tie a series of historically separate stories together, ‘The Log Of The Lairds’ sequence for instance used a journal to tell different stories from different wars involving members of the same family.

The newly published Commando issue 4655 begins a new themed series with the overall title of Eagles Of Battle which will follow, according to Commando editor Calum Laird, “the inter-linked fates of several families from the South West of these isles – from the days of the Romans to the Second World War.” These stories are written by Ferg Handley and begin with the Roman-era set Eagles In Battle illustrated by John Ridgway which is available now while the second title in the series, The Eagles Return, will appear as issue 4663 on Thursday 19 December 2013.

Eagles in Battle joins the three other Commando issues currently available in newsagents.

4655 – Eagles In Battle
Story: Ferg Handley
Art: John Ridgway
Cover: John Ridgway

It’s true that after 1066, no foreign power has successfully invaded Britain. Before that, though, things were different, as waves of foreign invaders rolled in over the seas.The Romans were amongst the first to arrive, their legions and their War Eagles sweeping all before them. Well, almost all, for in a small corner of the south-west of England resistance was brewing — and that meant battle could not be far away.

With only a few notable exceptions — step forward Ramsey’s Raiders — recurring characters have been rare on the pages of Commando over the last 50-odd years. However we were of the opinion that you, our readers, might like a series which carried the story over more than one issue. With the pen of Ferg Handley recruited to do the writing, we decided that a historical saga spanning many generations would hit the spot. So, here it is, the first episode of a series which will follow the inter-linked fates of several families from the South West of these isles — from the days of the Romans to the Second World War. I hope you enjoy the journey.
Calum Laird, Commando Editor

4656 – Dice With Death
Story: Clegg
Art: Gordon Livingstone
Cover: Ken Barr
Originally Commando No 91 (Nov 1963), re-issued as No 575 (August 1971)

They called him “The Misfit” — and with good reason. For young Tony Stacey was such a blundering fool he had been kicked out of every branch of the British Forces. Why then did the Germans move heaven and earth to kidnap Stacey — why did the Germans whip him away to Tripoli as a vitally important prisoner? What was so special about this dopey, meek-and-mild ex-RAF tail-gunner that they kept half the desert Luftwaffe on the ground until he arrived? Here is the astounding story of one of the most fantastic bluffs of the war…

I think it was Edmund Blackadder who used the expression, “more twists and turns than a twisty-turny thing.” Even if it wasn’t him, it fits this Clegg story well, very well. I’ve read a fair few Commandos in my time and I had no idea where this was going half of the time. I just trusted Commando Editor Chick Checkley’s judgement and went along for the ride. A ride with some excellent early Gordon Livingstone black and whites and a typically action-packed, Ju 88-trashing Ken Barr cover. I trusted that team and wasn’t disappointed. I hope you’ll do the same
Calum Laird, Commando Editor

4657 – The Hostile Jungle
Story: Mac MacDonald
Art: Jaume Forns
Cover: Ian Kennedy

Sergeant Mick Flanagan of the Royal Australian Air Force had his hands full. Not only was his underpowered Brewster Buffalo running rough, but there was a Nakajima Oscar all but stapled to his tailplane, its guns spitting lead. And all the while below him, its green tendrils snaking upwards, lay the jungle…the hostile jungle.

4658 – Riley’s Raiders
Story: Cyril Walker
Art: Ibanez
Cover: Jeff Bevan
Originally Commando No 2238 (December 1988), re-issued as No 3732 (July 2004)

Led by Lieutenant Ted Riley, his Raiders were an elite group of Australian soldiers who had been specially picked for the task of beating the Japanese at their own game — fast-moving jungle warfare. But now the Raiders were about to face their toughest battle, for the Japanese had decided something must be done about them — something very special, and very deadly!

After reading the first few pages, this story seems to be about a golden artefact sacred to a Burmese village and what will happen next as a distinctly dodgy character tries to get his grubby mitts on it However, this soon changes and we’re suddenly thrust into a typically tough Commando jungle tale — one which is certainly hinted at by Jeff Bevan’s moody cover, depicting a misty, menacing jungle landscape lit by a full moon. There’s plenty of gritty action here, courtesy of Cyril Walker’s winning script and Ibanez’s sterling, pitch-black artwork.
Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor

There are more details of Commando on the official Commando website, the Commando Facebook page and Commando merchandise is for sale from the DC Thomson webshop.


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