Monday, December 20, 2010

Air Ace Picture Library 412 Tigers in Action

More Americans? Well not exactly. Even though the Americans are talked up at the beginning - there is a literary slight of hand and the story is not really about them at all despite the expectations set by the title. Tigers in Action is really about a British pilot Alan Sinclair. He is a former pilot, tagged unfit to fly due to a head wound sustained in the Battle of Britain. He jokes that the steel plate in his skull makes him "the only pilot with an armoured head". More about that later.

The Americans line up for their typical stereotypes and are depicted as being brave, brash and boastful. The British are relatively bland but suffer from having a pompous superior officer (who does make good in the end). The Chinese (after all the Flying Tigers are a Chinese unit formed with foreign pilots) manage to escape being badly stereotyped and are depicted as brave and intelligent. Finally the Japanese are shown as arrogant and boastful. However what's really interesting is that a lot of effort or consideration has gone into not drawing Japanese faces in full or at all. Is there something sinister behind this decision? Was the thinking that readers might get confused between the Chinese and their Japanese opponents. I've never had a problem in distinguishing between the Germans and their opponents - so why should there be problem with distinguishing between Chinese and Japanese. Or am I just looking at this through a filter created by years of political correctness?

Otherwise Tigers in Action is a pretty good story following the squadron getting chased around China as the Japanese continue their aggressive attacks. The bromance between Alan Sinclair (Englishman) and Mike Wade (American) comes to an abrupt end when Wade is shot down over the jungle due to a lack of concentration by Sinclair. Was Sinclair's old head wound to blame? While Sinclair undergoes medical evaluation to find out, Wade has a series of adventures with the ground troops and returns to finish off the story with his friend.  There are also a good number of elaborate plans , frantic opportunities, grim determination from both sides and lots of aircraft in the sky and at times even more falling out of the sky.

As expected there is a fine assortment of aircraft in Tigers in Action including Tomahawks, Nakajimas,  twin-engined Mitsubishi bombers, Lysanders, Zeros and Warhawks which is always a good thing to see in an Air Ace Picture Library.

Look! Lots and lots of aircraft. Good to see a Nakajima buzzing around.

Look Ma! No helmet hair! (These two have spent the whole morning flying around and have just taken off their flying helmets and their coiffures are still perfect!)


Time to get that mocking hiss fixed. It might still be covered by warranty.

A good AAAAGH! from a Japanese pilot.

I'm fighting my over developed sense of school boy humour to leave this one alone.

The good old days!

What is it with this guys hair?
Lysanders! Always a welcome sight in any pocket war comic.
Oops! The Tigers go from heros to Zeros in no time at all.

Do I really have to take off all of my clothes for you to check my pulse? Hey! Are you really a doctor?

Bad guy lesson number 33 never diss the enemy while during a smoko break. You should know what happens next.

Nasty business. The allies don't get it all their own way in this one.

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