Saturday, September 26, 2009

War Picture Library 309 - Phantom Flotilla

This is the kind of story that I remember. Boys own adventure, impossible odds, team tension giving way to mutual understanding and respect and of course a treacherous enemy.

Political correctness is out the door from the very start with the Japanese introduced from the opening narrative as the "yellow hoards". The portrayl of the brave native is even a little uncomfortable by modern standards. It goes almost without saying that the Australians are brave and tenacious.

Whenever the Australians are attacking they are doing their duty whereas if they were Japanese they would be mindless fanatics.

The Phantom Flotilla refers to a squadron of Australian torpedo boats that hide in a swamp and ambush passing Japanese convoys. It is a dangerous assignment with regular casualites. Additional tension is given to the story by the tension between the flotilla's leading officer, an Englishman, and his Australian 2IC.


Besides all the square jawed small headed posturing you couldn't get away with this sort of language now...

The lads even look foward to that kind of thing every once and a while.


Koto's mate should have known better...

Hey! If the other side were doing this wouldn't they be fanatics?

War Picture Library 329 - D-Day Deadline

D-Day Deadline follows a particularly amoral reporter and his journey from finding a good story to understanding the true meaning of sacrifice. There are some great moments from film noir inspired shadow to a general removing his rank pips.

The journalist is looking for the human factor in the big event of the D-Day landings. He encounters a variety of participants in D-Day who all have a part in making it a success. He meets a young bomber crew who have just come back from bombing the beaches and then celebrate a birthday. Next he meets the gallant engineers who sacrifice themselves to open the beach for the invasion. His next encounter brings him contact with a group of weary veteran infantry and their over eager young officer. His final encounter is with a tank crew who struggle with their sense of duty and their urge to seek revenge.

I have mixed feelings on D-Day Deadline. 

The sacrifice theme works for the most but I find it difficult to warm to the main character.

However you could do worse.

Of note is the fantastic full page advertisement on the inside cover proclaiming that "Girls prefer a He-Man".

Of all the things you could say in this situation ...

It's true you know!

I wonder how many people won the trophy?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Air Ace Picture Library 526 - Rockets Away!

This is what I've come to expect in a pocket war comic story - in all honesty it hasn't got a lot going for it. Young Cooper craves to be a spitfire pilot but spends his days around the squadron pushing a broom. To cover his embarrassment of not being a fighter pilot (let alone not being allowed to fly) he writes to his mother that he is a hero of some repute. However when the skipper needs to be rescued from a burning wreck Cooper displays the necessary courage.

This act encourages the skipper to give Cooper the opportunity to fly and after the inevitable mishap or two he finds himself on combat patrol. As Cooper is incapable of hitting a flying target - he almost gets the skipper shot down. Copper is then sent to to gunnery school where there is another round of inevetible mishaps but this is where he discovers his true calling. His return to the squadron coincides with the Spitfires being replaced with Typhoons - and hence the title "Rockets Away!".

Of course Cooper is frustrated in his opportunities to blast away with his rockets but finally he is allowed his moment of glory and ultimate acceptence.

I like this story because it stinks. However in it's defence it must have been difficult to churn these things out week after week, month after month .

The only thing that could be worse than this story is the bonus story in this issue "Ditched" - which has only three redeeming features, it is mercifully short, it features a Walrus seaplane and one of the two lead characters sports a ridiculous moustache.
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