Sunday, May 02, 2010

Surging Waters, Bursting Dam, Drowning Soldiers, Cheeky Gerbil

Commando #4281: Battle of the Blue Nile [by Alan Hebden and Keith Page]

Commando picture library publish self contained war stories. They were a real feature of my mis-spent youth and I am always slightly surprised that they are still going. I tend not to bother with them much these days, as they are like a relic of a by-gone age in their unsophisticated approach to war comics. I only really go near them when they break away from their obsession with the Second World War (there was a very interesting one set around the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune a while back)

This one is set in the Second World War, but it is set well away from the usual theatres. In fact, this one involves the largely forgotten East African Campaign, in which the Brits went up against the Italians in Ethiopia and Somalia. My own interest in that part of the world impelled me to buy this, together with Alan Hebden's generally reliable track record as a writer of enjoyable adventure comics.

The story sees two British Empire officers travelling into Ethiopia with an exiled prince and his bodyguard. Their mission is to foment revolt against the Italians, but they find themselves uncovering a sinister plot to win the war for the Axis by changing the course of the Nile.

It's all hokum, but I enjoyed the Ethiopian setting. Portraying the Italians as serious enemies, and not the joke they usually are in war comics, was a welcome change – true to the tough fight they put up in the real East African Campaign.

An inuit panda production

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