Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Air Ace Picture Library 349 Duel Over Malta

Why does Battler Britton brings out the best and worst in pocket war comics?

First the best. Duel Over Malta is really well drawn. This is one of those stories where the sky is full of aircraft. There are Stukas, Hamdens, Blenheims, Spitfires, Junker 88s, Me 109s, Beaufighters, Macchi 202s and Junkers 52 Trimotors. With all those aircraft there's plenty of action. Even the storyline itself is reasonable. Set during the siege of Malta the scene is set for Battler to blast some Jerries out of the sky. Battler and his squadron are assigned to fly in badly needed Spitfires and pilots to defend the embattled island. From the moment they take off from the pitching aircraft carrier to the landing on the bomb crater pocketed airfield Battler is in the thick of it. The moment he lands his aircraft it is immediately seconded by the local fighter hero, Squadron Leader Naylor, who uses the Spitfire for its designed purpose.

A cooperative and friendly rivalry develops between Naylor and Britton as they maintain the good fight against almost overwhelming odds.

So what's the worst? Battler has to go on and do something that's impossible. To most this might appear to be his most enduring quality - but not only does he bend and stretch the very laws of physics his actions are somewhat gratuitous to the plot, robbing an otherwise good story of some extra panels and pages.

There's a point in this story where everything seems to be going OK and then Battler has to pull the "Hang on - while I save the war moment". Again an endearing quality to some but not to me.

Another game of Risk in progress. While the man at the desk is clearly a German and the two guys before him are tram conductors - why does the guy in the background look British?

Rarely mentioned or pictured in pocket war comics here is a unique appearance of these two famous degenerates.

Now that does sound like trouble!

Battler looks a lot like Mr Bean.

Excellent! By that rate we should all be dead in a week and half.

Now that's an understatement.

Good mini Aagh! from the Ace of Spades.
What is wrong with these people? They manage to speak English most of the other times.


  1. Hi

    Great Blog. I was a big fan of the pocket size war comics as a small years ago! Mostly ones involving aircraft.Enjoyed seeing some of these strips again. Long shot, but I've been trying to trace a story from about 1970 concerning a BP Defiant crew whose plane was coded KT*E - they called it Katie (obviously). Something to do with a duel with a Luftwaffe crew of a BF110. I think it was an annual or holiday special - I've trawled ebay without success. Any steer would be welcome. Just found the blog so I'm going to have a good dive into the archived posts - thanks for all the great pics


  2. Hi Sterge,
    Let me have a dig around in my collection. There is an Air Ace Picture Library about Defiants called 'Steel Bats' I think. I'm not sure if I have a copy of it or not. Give me a couple of days to check it out.
    Many thanks for enjoying my blog - please follow/link to it if you can.

  3. Hi Sterge,
    I've checked out Steel Bats and it's not the one. Don't worry I'll keep an eye out fooor it. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you - I've had problems posting comments through Blogger and have only just found the solution.


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