Charley's War
Volume II - 1 August 1916 - 17 October 1916 (Hardback)

Author: Pat Mills
Artist: Joe Colquhoun
Titan Books
RRP 14.99, US $19.95
ISBN 1 84023 929 8
Available 25 November 2005

Charley has made it to the late summer of 1916. Although he has survived the early days of the Somme Massacre, treachery on both sides of the wire - and a dangerous new commanding officer - could spell tragedy for the underage soldier.
Rich in the detailed minutiae of a Tommy's terror-punctuated existence, this latest volume features a new introduction and commentary by author Pat Mills...

Volume II of Charley's War is set between 01 August and 17 October 1916 and builds well on the events that unfolded in the first collection.

What's really interesting about this release is that, once again, the British are not portrayed as the heroes all of the time. In fact, there are a number of occasions when they are shown to be quite barbaric. We are also reminded that the majority of Germans were just ordinary men, like Charley and his team, who didn't ask for this war.

This is refreshing, and a more realistic a representation of real war. It's not the sort of thing you expect, especially from a comic strip that is aimed at the younger generation.

This collection sees the introduction of the first tanks to be used against the Germans. Along with all the British cheering and chest beating, the writer also shows the reaction of the Germans. They accuse the British of being inhumane - of butchering their countrymen in the most despicable manner.

Charley also gets a bit of a shock when he meets his sister's new husband in the trenches. This pathetic individual doesn't really want to be there, understandably, but his cowardly acts could put his team in danger.

Other highlights include Charley being haunted after seeing his friend blown to pieces, Charley leaving a man to die after he had tortured Charley and his friend for disobeying orders, and Charley forced to take part in a firing squad to kill his old commanding officer - a loyal man who was only looking after his men when he gave the order to retreat.

This is another fantastic collection that tries to give an honest picture of the life in the trenches of World War I. This is a must own collection.

Pete Boomer

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