Wednesday, 4 January 2012

This week in... 1976

I thought i'd start a feature that i've been doing over on my Bat-Blog:

That is, to take a look at an issue from this time yonks back.
So i'm starting with this issue of Battle as it has one of my favourite ever covers from that title, courtesy of Mr Carlos Ezquerra. If only what he did here continued inside...
Before we get to that though, the main thing of note is:

A for once interesting tale of "D-Day Dawson". Too have often they're reptitive, standard war tales with the story's hook of the hero having the shrapnel near his heart and not knowing how long he's got, more often than not making him out to be a winging, moany trooper.
Here though we have a classic, barmy notion of causing our hero a dilemma, worthy of Adam Eterno himself - the squad have to infiltrate this German castle to nab samples of the scientists latest creation, mines that explode if any metal goes near them.
So the guys take off all their nailed boots, braces, knives, guns, coins etc.
But, what's Dawson to do? If he steps inside, the shrapnel that no-one knows about would be sure to trigger the bombs. They think he's running away but, good for him, he stumbles on the scientist, dispatches him with a jar of gas and all ends happily as his comrades escape with a couple of the mines.
The other thing of note is "Rat Pack".
Its interesting in that there's a heck of lot happening and the treachery of Taggart's team really comes to the fore here, with Dancer repeatedly trying to bump him off in the tale:
The team is sent to Devils Rock, a one-time French prison island and stepping stone for the Allies invasion of North Africa, and they have to check it out beforehand.
They rapidly find there's a similar German convict team guarding it.
Dancer threatens to shoot Taggart if he doesn't surrender.
They surrender.
They learn of "The Serpent Latitude 42", a torpedo that will attack the approaching fleet.
They're put in prison but Dancer bluffs the guards in letting them out by threatening them with a gun he made out of soap he found in the cell (yes really).
They escape to the beach and find an old convict message carved on a tree letting them know there's a buried raft there.
Once underway, Dancer holds a knife to Taggarts kneck to make him sail towards Spain, where he plans to join their Foreign Legion.
But wouldn't you just know it? Taggart realises they've sailed to lattitude 42. At just the moment the torpedo comes along.
So, the raft stops the deadly device, they're in the water and Dancer's finally had enough and swims over to Taggart to finish him off.
And its at that point the shark arrives.
Should be exciting stuff but he's only there for one panel as Dancer stabs him and "The beast, shocked and wounded, turned away".
Then they're picked up by the Allies.
Sure did rush along, but the sharks a huge disapointment, being only there for a moment and the art is nowhere near what Carlos had promised on the cover:

But its a neat tale nevertheless.
Two "AIEEE!"'s in "Rat Pack" from two German guards (unless its the same guy being very unlucky)
The same expletive from a Japanese guard in "Merril's Mauraders"

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