Comic Review – Battle Picture Weekly:Souvenir Special

BattleClassicComic

Writers: Pat Mills,John Wagner,Gerry Finley-Day,Eric Hebden,Alan Hebden,Tom Tully

Artists: Casablanca, Carlos Ezquerra,Girault,Pat Wright,Bill Lacey,Mike Western,Jo Colquhoun,Barrie Mitchell

Cover: Don Lawrence

Publisher: Egmont Magazines

Prior to today I had never read the comic Battle Picture Weekly, this is for a few reasons most notability though, that it has not been published for years and even when it was been published I would of been to young to understand what was going on in the comic and lastly I would not of picked it up when I was a kid as it was black and white. None of this matter though as it really has nothing to do with my review I just wanted to share this information with you!
Today when I went to pick up my weekly issue of 2000ad from my local W H Smiths, I noticed that in the kids comic section there was a copy of Battle in the middle of them, so I picked it up and went to the till. As I stated above I had never read an issue of the series but I had heard of it before and knew it was held in high regard by a lot of comic fans.

After a quick bit of research on the internet I found out Egmont Magazines is working in collaboration with W H Smiths to release 4 Special editions of old Fleetway comics which they now own the rights too. Roy of the Rovers was the first release, followed by Battle and later in the year by Buster and Misty. Each of these collections will be 64 pages long and will cost £3.99. More information can be found here Egmont Classic Comics Press Release. http://www.egmont.co.uk/common/upload/press/classic_comics.pdf

Also as a side note, I really think W H Smiths should rethink where this comic is placed in the store. In the store where I picked it up, I found it by chance in the Kids Comic section, really as this is a souvenir special it should be featured with the more adult comics such as 2000ad, DC and Marvel Reprints, especially as the content features death and destruction on nearly every page.

The comic is packed with a wide variety of strips all featuring very different takes on World War 2. The first of these strips is called D-Day Dawson which is about Sargent Steve Dawson and how he is gravely injured with a bullet lodged by his heart. He is given a year to live by a Doctor and and tells Dawson that he will have to leave the army much to his dismay. Luckily for Dawson (not the doctor though) the boat that they are on is hit and all but Dawson die. Dawson is now living on borrowed time and aims to take down as many German troops as he can before he dies in a years time. I thought this was a pretty interesting concept and would of liked to of seen more of the character. The next strip after this is about a group of soldiers called the Rat Pack. Essentially they are the Dirty Dozen except there is only five of them! They are very brutal and will stop at nothing to fulfil their mission.
Another interesting strip in the comic is called Day of the Eagle which features a British intelligence agent Mike Nelson sent into Germany on a mission to kill Adolf Hitler. The German forces are aware of this and have wanted posters all over Germany with Mike’s face on them. Mike is on the run and by pure chance is able to capture and impersonate Hitler’s own Astrologer Herr Rochman, which eventually leads to Mike being in the perfect position to complete his mission only for things to get in the way and to stop him. Also it was the only story that made me shout out at the comic as it ends on a cliffhanger and I was so annoyed that I will probably never find out what happens at the end!
Lastly a strip that really impressed me in the comic was called Drop into Hell which is a story which is told from the German 3rd Parachute Rifle Regiment troops point of view. Most of the unit are slaughtered in the comic with the exception of Kurt Hausser who against all odds saves the remaining men of his unit and is awarded the Iron Cross for his acts. What I thought was interesting was through out the strips there were a few references to “Hitler’s Crazy Plans”, I assume this was put in the strip to make the readers actually feel for these characters as they did not agree with Hitler’s plans and that they did not to participate in the war.

I really enjoyed reading this comic and if it was still around today I would of picked it up on a regular basis. Sure there are a lot of strips in the magazine and not all of them were to my tastes but the comic was enjoyable never the less. I know the £3.99 price tag might put some people off, but this is only a one shot and I think its more than worth the money.Also as the comic is reprint of old material , the stories did not feel old at all. This is probably because the stories are all set in the world war 2 era but the writing in the comic is quite good in my opinion.
The comic was very interesting and I did not know any thing about the characters before reading this and it did not effect my enjoyment of the issue at all.

I don’t know if there are any trade paperback collections but if there are, I might have to check them out very soon!

Go buy this comic if you can!

GS Reviewer: Marcus

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