Tuesday, September 7, 2010

War Picture Library 280 The Last Stand

What an ending! Finally a last page with an open and worthy ending.

Take one sleepy tropical island, a mysterious beachcomber, an unbending police chief, a bunch of happy natives and a number of harsh Japanese racial stereotypes and believe it or not you have the ingredients for a good story.

Fraser (the beachcomber) is the kind of guy who likes to get around with his shirt off and keep fit by swimming out to reefs and hiking through swamps. He makes friends with the natives and picks fights with plantation owners at the Hibiscus Bar.

There is an air of mystery about him and in a triumph of story telling his past is not fully revealed nor is it the reason (or justification) for his actions. This is a sophisticated bit of writing.

When war comes to the island Fraser pulls together a desperate defence using the natives, the police and a handful of Aussie stragglers. This adhoc force manages to fiercely and comprehensively destroy an unsuspecting Japanese landing force.

The Japanese realise they now have to fight for the island and set about it in the appropriate manner by using bombers to soften up the island's defenders in preparation for a full assault landing.

A British destroyer arrives with orders to evacuate all the white men from the island. Fraser argues in vain with the destroyer captain to evacuate the islanders as well - but the orders are "whites only". He then turns to the islanders to have their women and children evacuated - but the islanders flatly refuse him. The island is their home and they will stay and defend it, no matter what the odds or consequences.

The final panel of The Last Stand shows Fraser and the islanders waiting the onslaught of a fresh Japanese invasion.

 Why are there no women in the Hibiscus Club?

It's one thing for a character to be racist - but the narrator as well?

What's with the hat? Also what's the purpose of that control panel?

Nice panel. The guys getting slowly sucked to the bottom of the swamp look uncomfortable.

That's a bit harsh.

Yeah Aussie! We didn't start the fire...

Look at those shoulders!

This panel really makes the story.

Quick! Back to the Hibiscus Club!!

That got him! Good perspective.

What a final panel!

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