Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Combat Encounters Of A First Rate Kind!

Not apparent in this here cover shot, but that's the pun-tastic tag line to this issue of Battle Action from June 1978.
Behind the rather odd Ezquerra/Western/Cooper montage cover, we find:
Joe Colquhoun on "Johnny Red". Need i say more? Not really, but i will. His art here is truly up there with the best he did on Charleys War, raising this rather pedestrian episode up tons of notches. Only thing noteworthy in the script is this mouthfull from a Spitfire pilot, who warbles on while having a dogfight with Johnny. Talented multi-tasker and no mistake: "Its no use running Redburn! I know you're wounded and my spit can fly rings round that soup strainer you call a plane! You're coming back to face the music!"

Next up is "Hellman" and, again, top notch art from, for me, the best artist there was for this character - Mike Dorey. He always did incredibly gritty art but here, with these tales set on the Eastern Front, it suits the strip even more. And this train crash here also shows how well he could do action. Quite stunned to re-read this. From his very first tale, Hellman's been seen as a decent German, appallled by the Nazis in control. Its been a running theme, with him equally fighting them as much as the Allies. But here, we have a tale set in a concentration camp. A brave move, although we never see any of the inmates or the atrocities, the horror felt by Hellman's troops is handled well, and is played as straight as could be.

Skipping over "Spinball Wars" (as ever), we've "Major Eazy". Its not that good really - four pages telling the tale of Eazy and co going into the desert, blowing up a bit of road, covering it with sand, then waiting and watching as the German tanks roll over it and sink. Nice art by Carlos though - but who thought coloured speech balloons were a good idea?

"Dredgers" kinda dull, with so-so art from John Cooper.
"The Sarge" was good, with nice art by Mike Western and the squabbling of The Sarge's troops was similar in feel to the lighter episodes of Mike's ultimate gig, "Darkie's Mob".
All in all, an okay issue.
The most elongated utterance i've yet come across with a Russian "AIEEEEEEEEEEEE!" from Dorey's train crash in "Hellman".
A "Naieeeeee!" from a bloke run over by a bike in "Spinball Wars". Also there, we've a "Aieeeee!" from his team mate being blown up.
What is it with elongated one's this time? "The Sarge" has "Aieeeeeee!" fron a sniper being shot out of his tree.

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