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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2013
Volume IX in the Charley's War saga is another triumph for Titan, who should be applauded for the care that they have taken over the repackaging of this classic British comic strip. The story is introduced with an excellent article about the development of treatment for the psychological impact of combat during the First World War. This is scholarly, yet also very readable. The story itself, now moving towards the climax of the war, is fantastic. Covering the end of trench warfare in the spring of 1918 it also takes in the shelling of British seaside towns in 1914, the mighty naval battle at the Falklands during the same year, the British assault on Gallipoli in 1915 and the efforts by the RFC to stop German bombers from attacking London in 1918. This epic sweep of World War One is kept focused for the reader through Pat Mills' skilful writing. You never lose sight of Charley Bourne and his struggle to survive the madness and injustice of this conflict that gave birth to the modern world. However, it is Joe Colquhoun's art work that keeps one transfixed to every page. The period detail is staggering and the epic action scenes beat anything that has been put on the cinema screen about World War One. Titan have resolved the reproduction issues that they had with recreating the strips earlier on, especially in Volume IV with Blue's Story, and here we can see Colquhoun's art work in all it's crisp glory, presented on the high quality paper that it always deserved. My original comics from the late 70s and early 80s are fading, so it is with real gratitude that I write this review to Titan, to thank them for the care and effort that they have put into reproducing this strip in a way that truly does it justice.

This book is a great read and the only negative I can raise is the announcement made by Mills in the commentary that the next volume will be the last. Although Charley's War was undoubtedly Mills' creation, it should be noted that the strip continued for almost two years after he departed. There are 87 episodes following Charley Bourne's progress through the opening year of World War Two, in search of his son Len amongst the chaos of France as the German Blitzkrieg crushed all opposition and drove the Allies back to a valiant last stand at Dunkirk. Although these episodes were not written by Mills, the themes of Charley's War are maintained by Scott Goodall, with the focus of the story on the private soldiers struggling to survive the massive events that engulf them. Unfairly written off by Mills and some vocal fans, Goodall's stories are worthy successors to the WW1 strip. He develops the central character; Charley is now 40 and views the start of a new World War through the weary eyes of a man who has witnessed the horrors of war before and who has no romantic misconceptions about the true nature of modern warfare. The political edge of Mills' writing is maintained, with Charley witnessing the incompetence of superior officers, the abuse of power by ruthless individuals and the moral vacuum created by the far-right Nazi ideology that leads to young men committing terrible acts of violence. There are also compelling stories, with Charley's search for his son amidst the great retreat of May 1940 bringing him into conflict with a psychopathic British NCO, a ruthless Panzer commander, a fearless female resistance fighter and a colourful collection of comrades who are randomly picked off in the tradition that made the WW1 strip so realistic. We also get to see how familiar characters such as Oily, Kate and Old Bill are faring in 1940. Best of all is Colquhoun's art work, which provides some stunning visuals to accompany the story. A stuka attack on a hospital train, a panzer assault on a village, the British last stand at Calais and the massive evacuation at Dunkirk are all memorable scenes brought to life in a way that only Colquhoun could achieve, sealing his reputation as the greatest British comic artist ever. He never avoids the pity of war and it is his determination to show the destruction and suffering wrought in conflict that made this comic-strip stand out from its contemporaries.

These 87 episodes deserve to be seen by new readers and to be given the high quality reproduction provided by Titan to the Mills era stories. I am going to contact Titan and request that they consider publishing these stories too and I hope other fans of Charley's War do the same. Charley's War is the greatest British comic strip ever and it should be republished in its entirety.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2013
Charley's War spanned the formative years of my life - I started buying Battle in 1976, aged 7, and continued with it (except for a brief hiatus in 1980-1, for which the reprinted volumes filled in the gaps) up to the age of 17 in 1986 when CW finished. It is incredible that CW holds me enthralled in the same way it did as a child/adolescent. The large part of this is down to the incredible detail and accuracy that Joe Colquhoun put into the artwork. The new reproductions in the last few volumes based on Joe's originals show the crispness and alacrity that he brought to every frame. Truly stunning.

My own son will be 10 next year and I will introduce him to all the volumes.

Titan, Pat, if you're reading ... you MUST go all the way through to the end of the series. Gladstone's review is spot on - it would be the most fitting tribute to Joe's brilliance to memorialise his glorious CW artwork through to the end.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2012
The Depth of research by Mr Mills and by the Late Mr Colquhoun is remarkable, remember this is a FICTIONAL story aimed at scruffy apaths like me back in 1978 yet the story is historically accurate. From Mr Mills script to the sublime art of Mr Colquhoun the attention given to the smallest detail is staggering, do recall that this was done all pre-tinternet all the research would have been the old fashioned way and all for a Boy's "Comic" I have read supposed scholarly works regarding WWI which do not even come close to being as accurate as "Charley's War".

My Anorakness regarding the detail does not mean that this volume of "Charley's War" is a dry tale - on the contrary this volume alone is fair packed with the very Human story of WWI from the Home Front to the wind swept south Atlantic. It's all brought alive by the pen of Mr Colquhoun, between Frank Hampson and Joe Colquhoun it is a coin toss as to who was the greatest British 'Comic' artist of the 20th Century. Both were contemporary to each other, who after their service in WWII returned to civilian life to inspire and delight subsequent generations of scruffy apaths with Dan Dare, Roy of the Rovers ( Mr Colquhoun actually wrote Roy of the Rovers for while even though he knew nothing about football!) , The road of Courage and Charley's War.

As it's the last one I say with some sadness roll on Volume 10.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 December 2012
I,of course,am the target audience for these books having grown up with Victor,Eagle,2000AD,Battle etc.This series is a classic.When you read the stories in the comic on a weekly basis,it never occurred to you that it was like an illustrated novel and when you finished they just went in the bin (sad,shake of head!!).I'm so glad that the 'powers that be' are committing these stories to book form for future generations to enjoy.Johnny Red next........
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2012
For the last nine years I have looked forward to late Autumn when the latest volume of the poignant, superbly written and exquisitely illustrated Charleys War is published. I loved this story when I was a lad, and still do 33 years later! It ought to be compulsory reading for youngsters. Next year is the final volume :-(
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2013
We have all 9 of the volumes (1 more to go), and have loved the stories and development of the character - artistry is excellent and really educates and entertains at the same time. I think this is the best of the 9 so far (which says a lot!), cannot wait for the next one, but will be sad too - as it is the last!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2013
I used to have the battle comic when I was a child, I never really understood how good the story tellers were or are. very pleased I found the books, very sad that there is only one book left.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2013
This is a must for my husband whose passion is history, in particular the first world war. A brilliant graphic novel as you would expect from the Charley's War series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2013
The high standard of all the previous volumes is maintained. The extra articles on the war are an additional bonus. Pity it ends with the next volume
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2013
Very interesting and well documented (historically)
I love war-comics and this one is plenty of action and
very good art.
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