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Wednesday, May 5, 2010
War Picture Library 281 Shellfire
If the Americans couldn't take Skull Hill could the British do it? Provost Major Ross is brought in to whip the war weary Brits of Charlie Company into shape and do the job the Americans couldn't do.
This is another issue that includes Americans and this time they even get speaking parts. Albeit reticence at not being able to take the hill.
Shellfire takes Fleetway in an interesting direction where there’s an admission that not all soldiers are willing to charge headlong into the enemy and utter aaagh with their final breath.
The soldiers in Shellfire are tired, stressed, and close to breaking and have little enthusiasm to engage the enemy. Not exactly the type of men who would be willing or able to take a stronghold hill in such a vital sector of the front. Or are they?
It doesn't take the avid reader long to realise that Provost Major Ross is driving the war weary man of Charlie Company to focus all their hate on him. So when the time comes to release that hate and restore their pride the target of all that energy will be the enemy.
Shellfire is actually well written with some great action panels. The writing shows so much depth that the shooting doesn’t start until page 28. Also it’s worthy of note to see a one word Fleetway title without an exclamation mark!
Goldarn it Tom! If this was a DC publication we would have taken that hill and in colour!
I tell you chaps it can't fail. Major Ross, who we all hate, has a cunning plan...and yes you're right it will get most of us killed.
How do you like that Nazi?
Sometimes they speak English. This time they choose German. Any wonder they lost?
If I was pumping an Obergefreiter full of lead I think I could find myself having any number of crazy thoughts. However that wouldn't be one of them.
This panel looks out of place. The lack of battlefield detail and the focus on the action makes it look like it belongs in superhero DC comic.
Take any War Picture Library, Battle Picture Library or Commando comic and you will always find those famous last words “arrgghhhhh” or even “donner und blitzen”.
Cowards try to prove themselves or officers interfere by trying to run battles “by the book”. The enemy is treacherous. Mysterious locations hold significant secrets. Sometimes a simple gun is the focal point of a unique karmic destiny.
There are those who are lost or left behind enemy lines where they invariably make a discovery – a hidden base, a wonder weapon or a traitor. The host of intangible struggles are often more significant such as the dark secret, the family shame, the family curse or the stigma of not being like the other chaps.
Strangely enough for stories about war and battle the killed the dead and the dying are usually absent.
There's a lot to like (and make fun of) among the dramatic titles, fantastic artwork, impossible stories, daring heroes, nasty bad guys, body building and not quite diamond rings advertisements.