Charley's War
Volume III - 17 October 1916 - 21 February 1917 (Hardback)

Author: Pat Mills
Artist: Joe Colquhoun
Titan Books
RRP: 14.99, US $19.95
ISBN-13: 978 1 8457 6270 4
ISBN-10: 1 84576 270 3
Available 20 October 2006

In 1916, Charley Bourne lies about his age to enlist and fight on the battlefields of France He has survived four months on the lines so far, but is facing the most dedicated German counteroffensive yet: the attack of the "Judgement Troopers"...

The latest volume of Charley's War covers the period between 17 October 1916 and 21 February 1917. It takes us through Charley's final days in the trenches - where he is helping defend the British position against the most ruthless of German forces - the "Judgement Troopers".

It also sees our hero return home, to Blighty, and follows him as he has to readjust to life after the atrocities he's witnessed. As with previous volumes, this collection doesn't show a one sided view of the war. It shows that both sides were responsible for some pretty diabolical acts, and that both sides thought they were doing the right thing. While the Germans use of gasses in the trenches is seen as barbaric, so too is the British use of machine guns.

While the stories are incredibly well constructed, it is the artwork that stands out as the main attraction. While this collection is reprinted in A4, there are still images that I wish could have been blown up much bigger so that we could get a better look at the fine detail.

Extras in this collection include an interview with artist Joe Colquhoun, constructed from the only known interview he ever gave; a feature on the reality of the bombing of Britain during the First World War; and a strip commentary, by author Pat Mills, that breaks down some of the issues he had with each chapter. This also reveals the real history behind some of the events that happen in the strip.

This, third volume, is an absolute winner from beginning to end. The only problem I had was that it ends on such an exciting cliff-hanger.

Pete Boomer

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