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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Convict commandos
Once again, just in case you're uninitiated [even though anyone reading this probably isn't]:

Back in the early 1970's, British weekly comics could be pretty tame. Then along came three classic titles that forever broke the mould of British boys comics by telling tales that were grimmer, grittier, and more realistic than ever before. Battle did this with war...
Published 19 months ago by Paul Tapner

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesnt stand the test of time.
I grew up with war comics and have fond memories of greats the likes of Charleys War, Johnny Red, Darkee's Mob (Amazon wont allow me to write the actual spelling of that title because aparantly its offensive!) and Rat Pack. All of these have since been reprinted but unfortunately, unlike those other titles I mention, Rat Pack just doesnt stand the test of time...
Published 7 months ago by Chief.


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Convict commandos, 30 Aug 2012
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rat Pack: Guns, Guts and Glory (vol 1) (Rat Pack 1) (Hardcover)
Once again, just in case you're uninitiated [even though anyone reading this probably isn't]:

Back in the early 1970's, British weekly comics could be pretty tame. Then along came three classic titles that forever broke the mould of British boys comics by telling tales that were grimmer, grittier, and more realistic than ever before. Battle did this with war stories. Action with action stories. And 2000AD with science fiction.

One of the features in the early days of Battle was Rat Pack. The story of five convicts from a military prison. Strong man Turk. Cowardly lock picker Weasel. Superb athlete Rogan. And deadly marksman Dancer. All are released from captivity by the mysterious Major Taggart. Who offers them the choice of undertaking high risk special missions. Or going back to prison. Together, they are the Rat Pack.

This volume collects the first twenty two weekly instalments of Rat Pack, all in one large hardcover volume. There's also an interview with British comics legend Pat Mills, one of the creators of Battle, in which he talks about the state of the industry at the time and how Battle came to be. Plus a gallery of covers from issues of Battle which put Rat Pack on the cover.

There is an index page which lists the writer and artist of each story. Although neither this nor the pages have any page numbers, so it's not quite as helpful as it could be.

The quality of the reprints is pretty good considering the age of the source material. Although since some of it was originally in colour and all of this is in black and white, there are pages that do look very different, simply because they were originally in colour.

It notes at the front that characters may use language and terms that people didn't find offensive back then but might now. But again, since only those who read Battle at the time are likely to read this, you probably won't mind.

You do get in here the same parts of Rat Pack that were in The Best of "Battle": Vol 1 but that only had a handful of instalments so there are many more here besides those.

As a whole this is a fun look back at the days when you would get weekly instalments of hard hitting action and nazis being gunned down. But it doesn't rate quite as highly as the other Battle reprint volumes. That's because the stoies haven't dated quite as well as those. Apart from the first story being a two parter, all the others are complete and self contained, and run for six pages. The six rather than three page format doesn't mean they never feel rushed, but all these stories are done in those six pages, and do follow the same format. The Rats go on a dangerous mission. Do some amazing action feats in the process. And that's that. It is best read in small doses rather than in one go to avoid it getting repetitive.

Whilst the characters are all well defined, the stories aren't character driven. So although there are occasional good moments when the Rats surrender to their instincts, those don't have any lasting effect or change anything.

The series did have a rotating team of artists and writers, and thus the artwork can change drastically from one instalment to the next. Which does get a bit distracting.

This is the kind of thing that thrilled when you were ten years old, but may not seem quite the same decades on. But it is a decent product and a great reminder of those days of weekly comics. There are better volumes of reprinted Battle stories out there but this is still worth a look.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must, 29 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Rat Pack: Guns, Guts and Glory (vol 1) (Rat Pack 1) (Hardcover)
Bought this for my husband as a gift. He thoroughly enjoyed it and was very pleased with it. It was delivered very quick to.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Doesnt stand the test of time., 4 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Rat Pack: Guns, Guts and Glory (vol 1) (Rat Pack 1) (Hardcover)
I grew up with war comics and have fond memories of greats the likes of Charleys War, Johnny Red, Darkee's Mob (Amazon wont allow me to write the actual spelling of that title because aparantly its offensive!) and Rat Pack. All of these have since been reprinted but unfortunately, unlike those other titles I mention, Rat Pack just doesnt stand the test of time.

The story is basically an adaptation of the Dirty Dozen series of films and has the main character attempting to lead a team of cut-throat criminals on suicide missions against the Nazis in WWII in order to earn their freedom. All the architypes are there - a brutish strongman, a skillfull knife-fighter, an acrobatic fistfighter and an intelligent but cowardly conman.

Each story is the stuff of traditional boys war-fiction and involves missions to save scientists, protect allied leaders, destroy important enemy installations, capture expewrimental vehicles or assassinate an enemy general.

Unfortunately where as the likes of Charleys War and Johnny Red managed to be exciting whilst also having important messages and a level of historical accuracy that escaped my notice as a child, Rat Pack remains very much rooted in the realm of kids war-fiction, giving the reader with little more than superficial and fantastical war stories that to the adult readers most likely to purchase this volume will only provide nostalgic value.
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Rat Pack: Guns, Guts and Glory (vol 1) (Rat Pack 1)
Rat Pack: Guns, Guts and Glory (vol 1) (Rat Pack 1) by Gerry Finley-Day (Hardcover - 27 July 2012)
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