This, the latest in what promises to be an ongoing series of reprints of the best of the Fleetway war pocket libraries, is in many ways the most successfully realized yet.
Editor Steve Holland has picked a particularly fine bunch of stories, with scripts by a team of writers and editors who in most cases had direct experience of the conflict they were writing about. The stories are just as gripping and engaging some forty plus years on as they were when the were first published and again as with the previous collection the heroes and protagonists are frequently men trying to come to terms with their own personal demons as much as they are fighting the enemy.
These are stories therefore with real resonance which coupled with some really superb and atmospheric artwork plunges the reader right into the seat of the action.
The stories themselves are by and large from the first three years of the comics run spanning 1961 - 1963 and again, there are no credits published, which is a pity, however I'll reprise a list of the contents with the appropriate name checks:
Fort Blood - Battle No.22 - Art:Jose Ortiz - Script:Unknown
Killer At Large - Battle No.7 - Art:Jose Bielsa - Script:Donne Avenell
The Fire Eaters - Battle No.96 - Art:Gino D'Antonio - Script:H.K. Bulmer
No Higher Stakes - Battle No.89 - Art:Jorge Macabich - Script:E.C. Tubb
Ten Seconds to Zero - Battle No.38 - Art:Jose Ortiz - Script:Unknown
The Flame and the Fury - Battle No.33 - Art:Aurelio Bevla - Script:Unknown
Death and Glory - Battle No.27 - Art: Gino D'Antonio - Script:Unknown
The Island of Guilt - Battle No.4 - Art:Renzo Calegari - Script:Donne Avenell
The Quick and the Dead - Battle No.14 - Art:Vittorio Cossio - Script:L.S. Dofort
The Trouble Shooters - Battle No.18 - Art:Aurelio Bevla - Script:Donne Avenell
LCI 159 - Battle No.16 - Art:Septimus Scott - Script:A. Carney Allen
Shoot First - Battle No.24 - Art:Jose Bielsa - Script: Donne Avenell
As with previous collections the interior artwork has been shot from the comics themselves, the original artwork having been frustratingly destroyed in the early nineties, although it should be noted that the covers themselves were not incinerated and the reproductions on the cover and endpapers are really superb and look far superior to their initial incarnations.
I'm very pleased to see that the reproduction of the interior artwork is pretty much as good as the original comics, unlike previous volumes in the series there is virtually no line drop out or infills and the result bearing in mind the limitations of reproducing from newsprint is very pleasing indeed.
One point of concern is (and it's not the first time this has happened with these collections) is that one page has been printed twice essentially knocking out one page of story - the offending page in question is 439 from the story "Death and Glory", which has the contents of page 449 in it's stead. More of an irritant I suppose as the missing page can be surmised, but it would be good if the bar on the proof reading could be raised a bit higher next time around.
But all in all a really excellent volume, makes you hungry for more!