Battler Britton

Author: Garth Ennis
Artist: Colin Wilson
Titan Books
RRP: 12.99, US $19.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 560 6
ISBN-10: 1 84576 560 5
Available 22 June 2007

As the Nazis rain terror throughout Europe, Allied forces are on the run in North Africa. It's October 1942 and Rommel's Panzers are unrelenting in their pursuit. Wing Commander Robert "Battler" Britton of the RAF and his squadron have been dispatched to a remote American airstrip to spearhead a joint action against Hitler's war machine. Now these two groups of reluctant allies must somehow put aside their mutual distrust and work together... a task that is much easier said than done...

First published in Sun comic in 1956, the adventures of Robert "Battler" Britton - an ace British pilot in World War II, whose quick temper made him as dangerous on the ground as he was in the air - thrilled kids all over the UK. We rejoin "Battler" and his crew in October 1942, as they have been dispatched to an American airstrip in North Africa, to spearhead a joint action against Hitler's war machine. Now they need to survive the taunts, the threats, the assaults... and that's just from the Yanks.

Garth Ennis takes this obscure 1950s comic creation and breathes new life into it, Most of the action comes not from battling the enemy, but from the infighting amongst the British and American troops who are supposed to be on the same side. There is the occasional dog fight, but it's the relationship between the two allied forces that really carries this collection.

Colin Wilson's art work is well suited to the script. He's incredibly gifted at bring life to not only the action of the combat sequences, but also the more mundane ground control sections. And was that a wink to Clive Dunn in Dad's Army I spotted? Chiefy not only looks remarkably like Dunn, but his catch phrase: "We're all doomed" is surely a play on Lance-Corporal Jack Jones's: "Don't panic!"

This is an enjoyable collection that will find pride of place in anyone's collection.

Pete Boomer

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