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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 20 Dec 2006
This review is from: Charley's War: 17 October, 1916-21 February, 1917 (Hardcover)
About 20 years ago I used to read "Battle" comic. Looking back on it now, my memories of the majority of the stories have merged into a generic war mush with the usual lantern-jawed tough heros, forgettable daring-do plots with the usual last minute escape against the odds and the wholesale extermination of hundreds of anonymous enemy forces... with the exception of "Charley's War". I always read it first.

The quality of the writing, the detail of the drawings and obvious level of research undertaken elevated it above the other stories in the comic. When I heard that the series was being published I felt that I wanted to read it again. I don't collect comics, or graphic novels. I haven't read (or probably ever will read) the Batman Dark Knight or Watchmen novels. However Charley's War is stunning. I have bought all three of the Titan books and hope that they will continue to publish the rest of the series, which I believe takes Charley up to WW2. I will be buying the next books as and when they are published.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest strip ever produced., 24 Oct 2006
This review is from: Charley's War: 17 October, 1916-21 February, 1917 (Hardcover)
I have just recieved the third installment of the masterpiece that is Charley's war and I now realise as an adult that this story was wasted on me as a child. The writing by Pat mills surpasses anything in comics before or since, never has a story had so many characters that you truly felt were people you knew and if they were real you would love to have them join you for a pint in your local obviously the characters like Captain Snell is excluded. As a child Joe Colquhoun was my hero and I spent hours copying his work and only now nearing fourty do I realise what a master artist he really was. In his notes in this third installment Mr Mills picks a certain frame and says it is the perfect movie image, well I agree but I also think you can pick any frame and apply the same idea so incredibly detailed is Mr Colquhoun's work.

Truly the writing and it's attention to historical facts and the artwork and it's incredible attention to detail surpass anything in my opinion that has ever been published in comics.

If you have never experienced Charley's war do yourself a favour and buy parts 1, 2 and three today.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great piece of art, 28 Sep 2006
By 
SJ SMART "Smartie" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Charley's War: 17 October, 1916-21 February, 1917 (Hardcover)
Charley's War continues in to its third volume. If you havent read or seen Charley's war then you should, its a brilliantly conceived introduction to the horrors of the First World War trenches originally shown in the war comic Battle.

In this volume Charley is fighting the German Judgement Troopers during their counter offensive on the Somme, the battle eventually grinds to halt, Charley is wounded and he is sent home on leave to London in time for a German airship air raid on the East End of London

Although this was orginally aimed at children in the Battle comic it appeals to adults too with its strong anti-war message and as a teacher I have used it in classes about World War one to great success.

I do wish that Titan would publish more than one volume a year though, its very frustrating waiting a year for the next one to come out, I'm sure they could easily do two a year! Please Titan, pulbish more, quicker!

Read this book! It really needs 10 stars, its unique.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best comic story ever drawn and written, 26 Sep 2006
By 
W. Harris "wayneharris555" (Nr High Wycombe) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Charley's War: 17 October, 1916-21 February, 1917 (Hardcover)
Although this book is not out yet I am fortunate to have the original comic books. This volume should conclude the Somme story and take the war to the streets of London. If you brought the first 2 volumes then this is a must....if you did'nt then buy all 3!!! Well done Titan for continuing the series and please don't stop (infact could you rush them out a little quicker!!)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Let's leave the battle of the Somme behind, let's go back home, 26 July 2014
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This review is from: Charley's War: 17 October, 1916-21 February, 1917 (Hardcover)
The Battle of the Somme was becoming a little boring, so this volume is finishing it up in pain with its balance of losses and wins on one page (unnumbered like the episodes, which is more than irritating, simply unprofessional and disrespectful of the readers, the real readers not the readers including and being simply summarized as the author himself). "THE TOTAL GAIN WAS . . . SEVEN MILES AND THREE VILLAGES" for the wins. But for the losses the list and figures are slightly bigger: "HALF-A-MILLION TOMMIES WERE KILLED OR WOUNDED IN THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME. . . MANY OF THE TOMMIES WHO NEVER RETURNED, NOW LIE IN A MILITARY CEMETERY IN FRANCE KNOWN AS "BLIGHYU VALLEY'. . . THE SOLDIERS WHO DIED THERE WERE ALL VOLUNTEERS. . . THE FIRST TO VOLUNTEER . . . LADS EAGER TO SERVE THEIR COUNTRY. THEY WERE YOUNG, HEALTHY AND BRAVE . . THE `BEST OF BRITISH'. . . THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME WIPED THEM OUT." And we must not forget "IT WAS THE ONLY BATTLE WHERE BRITISH TROOPS DESERTED IN GREAT NUMBERS." With this captions in the bubbles. British soldiers surrendering: "THEY CAN STICK THEIR STINKING WAR! I'M OFF!" and the answer of the German soldier taking him prisoner: "IF YOU HADN'T COME OVER TO US, TOMMY, WE WOULD HAVE COME OVER TO YOU!" This last remark is in full contradiction with the long description of the Battle of the Somme since the Germans were never able to come over and the final balance just under this bubble is a British gain of seven miles.

This balance is extremely bothering since it is in contradiction with the description of the battle and it contains a contradiction, and not only in terms. That leads me to believing that the Germans are not depicted properly and fairly. The balance is of course totally mute on the losses and wins of the Germans, losses and wins that are seen negatively only: they lost seven miles and three villages. But where are the dead Germans? Certainly not in cemeteries in France. They are not numbered and they are nowhere. The comic book then becomes very pro-British, critical maybe but pro-British nevertheless. And that is a fairly serious shortcoming.

But the end of this battle is rounded up with Charley getting hurt by shrapnel, evacuated to the hospital behind the front line. Total loss of memory and haunting nightmares are his state of "mind" till he meets his old sergeant who brings him back to life, to consciousness and gives him an identity because he had lost his dog-tags.

These lost dog-tags enable the author to shift back to England, since Charley is telegrammed as being lost in a way or another (missing in action would be the proper term) and believed dead to his family and then later on telegrammed again as having been recovered, as having recovered his memory and as being alive. And Charley is sent back to England without escaping one more act of barbarity from the Germans who, with one of their submarines, sink the ship on which the wounded, and some dead, are transported back to England. Yet they manage to reach Folkestone and then to go back to their destination, Charley to London. He discovers then the home situation. Silvertown has been gutted by the explosion of several ammunition factories but many are still standing. His mother and father, sister and brother, and the brother in law who was a pain in the ass in the Battle of the Somme and had managed to be sent back home by the "accidentally provoked" loss of three toes on one foot, all of them (not the lost toes of course) are well and healthy.

Charley discovers there is a lot to do and does it. He gets involved in civil defense and makes friend with a Crimean War veteran who was blinded there and this blind man will save the situation on the night when the Germans attack London with their famous Zeppelins. That blind man is able to hear with the special equipment at their disposal the coming of the Zeppelin though the official soldier appointed to that task is not able to and anyway was using the equipment to spy on surrounding neighbors, particularly couples? Voyeurism in war time. Ah! Ah! Ah! The Germans are targeting Silvertown and its ammunition factories. Charley's mother is working that night. So we have a real hunt and chase in London by night without any light. Charley brings down the lynching of two Russian shopkeepers accused of being German and manages to get his mother's factory evacuated against the will of the "Sir" who owns it and must produce to feed the weapons on the front.

That is the first time the capitalism that is behind this war is identified. That was a long wait indeed. And yet it is identified in one man with a knighthood on the lapel of his coat, seen too as a coward who tries to prevent the evacuation of the factory but runs away in his chauffeured car as soon as the attack is confirmed.

And finally some human suspense is introduced in this comic book: the first bomb falls in the chimney of the factory with Charley and his semi-conscious mother still inside. The last image of two women in total panic is finally human and not fake military horror, true horror but dressed up to kill the Germans and the readers. The order from the policeman, known as a bobby in London, is "Get down! Hit the ground!" and the last comment from one of the two women is "The bomb's gone down the factory chimney! And Charley and his mum are still inside." You can note these pure East Enders do not speak cockney, even under stress and in panic, and I regret it tremendously, especially since the author bragged about the tremendous research done to produce this comic strip in his introduction of the first volume. He must have forgotten that in London they speak a special dialect

That leads me to a last remark, a generic remark. For those of you who do not like pictures, turning pages and reading bubbles, you can always go to the end and read the "strip commentary" which is a summary of the volume episode by episode (they are only numbered in this commentary: so good luck to find the one you are concerned with), one after another in just a few lines for each. In case you haven't understood the proper meaning of the episodes you can always read the official interpretation of the author.

Comic strip and comic book readers are not very well read in that kind of "art," in fact they are so badly read in it that they need a commentary. You will get sentences like "IT MAKES THE ORDINARY SOLDIER (AND WE, THE READERS) SEEM POWERLESS IN THE FACE OF ARMAGEDDON." You can note that Pat Mills dares identifies himself as part of "WE, THE READERS." If that is not subliminal manipulation, what is? That's why, Mr. Pat Mills, your comic strip did not have any descent in comic art: you are only manipulating the audience with a purely pro-British subliminal discourse and I can understand that many did not like it.

Your comic strip comes out in the shape of ten comic books because it is the hundredth anniversary of this totally barbaric and barbarous event, just as much on each side of the front and even behind both sides, but you only give one side of the front and one side of behind the front with a very finely and strictly guided commentary that reveals the same finely and strictly guided intention. And that pro-British approach leads at times to some kind of jingoism. Sorry to be obliged to say it.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brother, 11 April 2014
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This review is from: Charley's War: 17 October, 1916-21 February, 1917 (Hardcover)
My brother really loves, loves, loves this series of books as he read all the series when he was younger
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5.0 out of 5 stars perfect, 15 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Charley's War: 17 October, 1916-21 February, 1917 (Hardcover)
it was perfectly on time... and the book was in really good conditions! evrything as expected! I would reccomend this product (a classical english comics about I WW) and i would recomend the seller.
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5.0 out of 5 stars charley's war, 3 Feb 2014
By 
Wayne A. watkins "wocko" (wales, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Charley's War: 17 October, 1916-21 February, 1917 (Hardcover)
fantastic, loved this in comic strip form as a kid and love it now. got to get the whole collection
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5.0 out of 5 stars Charley's war, 6 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Charley's War: 17 October, 1916-21 February, 1917 (Hardcover)
I used to read this story years ago as a kid in the battle comics and it is great to be able to sit down and read this excellent story again. It's a great story and these are a great series of books
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great - if very partisan - comic strip, 31 Dec 2007
By 
Tim62 "history buff" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Charley's War: 17 October, 1916-21 February, 1917 (Hardcover)
I know lots of people rightly wax lyrical about this long-running strip. The artwork and the writng are first-class, and the duo behind Charley's War deserve full marks for getting such an 'anti-war' strip into a boys pro-war comic.

However, there's the rub. While masses of historical research went into it, the strip is definitely written from a left-wing perspective. If you've seen the play or film version of 'Oh What a Lovely War' you'll know what I mean.

Officers are almost always upper-class toffs - who dine on good food in comfortable dugouts or billets while their men shiver in the trenches. The few good officers there are, are either cut down by the Germans - or end up ruthlessly sacrificed by the 'political-military' elite. Clearly that's how some people still see World War 1. There is no light or shade...

The trouble is, if you read the diaries of soldiers at the front (and I don't mean the World War 1 literature from the late 20s/early 30s like Rupert Graves "Goodbye to All That") you'll see a much richer and diverse picture.

Many ordinary soldiers felt at the time that the war had to be fought. Many officers in the British army actually came up from the ranks - sorry I know the strip would like to tell you all officers were toffs - but it just wasn't so. Soldiers in the main felt they were fighting for their country, because however appalling the war was - it had to be won.

Was it a disaster for European civilisation that the war happened? Of course it was. Were the huge sacrifices wasted by the country they come home to? Yes they were. After all, Britain had to go to war with Germany again 20 years later. But - and this is an important point - had the Kaiser's Germany been allowed to walk over Belgium and northern France that would have been a far greater disaster.

The British Army in 1914-18 was Britain's biggest-ever military endeavour - and in the last 3 months of the war the British army won its greatest every military victory. If you don't believe me - add up the number of German divisions the British (and Canadian, Australian and Empire and Commonwealth) troops faced in 1918 - and then compare that with the much smaller number of divisions the British faced in 1944-45.

People often compare the casualties from WW1 with those of WW2 and conclude that it meant the generals in WW1 were stupid. However, in the first war the British were engaging the enemy's main army - in WW2 they weren't - the Russians were (and look at THEIR casualty figures).

Oh yes, and while I am at it - those 'chateau-based' generals of WW1. In 1914-18 58 British generals (those of brigadier-general rank or above) were killed in combat or died of wounds. In 1939-45 the British army had around 3 generals killed. Enough said I think.

And chateaux or other such buildings impressed into military service were often the correct places to be. Generals needed to be able to be somewhere they could keep in touch with all the units under their command - and be able to be in a building which could accommodate their staff. Generals who spent too much time in the front line were on occasion thought of by their juniors, as NOT doing their job properly - because by being in one section of the front -- they wouldn't be able to keep an eye on other sections of the front.

Enjoy the cartoon - it is an amazing work -- but it is very particular about what it says, and what it doesn't say - about the British army in World War 1.
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Charley's War: 17 October, 1916-21 February, 1917
Charley's War: 17 October, 1916-21 February, 1917 by Pat Mills (Hardcover - 20 Oct 2006)
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