Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing. A masterclass in war comic storytelling., 13 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Darkie's Mob: The Secret War of Joe Darkie (Hardcover)
I started collecting Battle after this story had ended, but remembered it from old issues I got hold of, so looked through this book when I saw it in Waterstone's. I found Mike Western's art and the dialogue - grittily realistic compared to other strips I rember - compelling, so popped it on my wishlist and my brother bought it me for Christmas.

When I opened it I thought 'Interesting, but I'd've preferred a Charley's War volume'. Then I read it and changed my mind.

Apart from the art, this strip's narrative and plot structures are amazingly innovative. As others have noted, rather than the usual 'The Sarge and his section continue pacing up Italy / thrrough Normandy..', or 'One day Johnny Red and the Falcons were tangling with some Bf109s overr Stalingrad..' box intro, Shortland's diary - discovered after the war on a battlefield - gives us a 1st person perspective on the story. I'm not a comic expert, but can't think of another that uses this tactic. This also suggests the narrator was killed in action sometime in the Mob's story OUTSIDE THE STRIP - and in comics, you don't get anything 'outside the strip' - e.g. Battle stories tended to introduce characters in episode 1, go through the war, then kill them or the war off. Writer John Wagner exploits this tease in the last episode (which I won't spoil for you).

On a more 'tactical' level, Western's art conveys the crowdedness of the Burmese jungle very well; I felt Japanese scouts or snipers lurking in those panels, and the problems of sustenance and disease in remote jungle warfare are covered (tho I'd've liked more on this). The Mob's irregular nature (based on the old 'lost patrol' trope) allows for variation in appearance, usually a problem with war stories' uniforms!

For similar reasons, it would've been better identifying more individuals earlier on, to build our empathy wtih them. One way Wagner raises the drama is the Mob's conflict with other Allies they meet, e.g. Chindits. Despite the series' caveat about 'language some may find offensive', the stories show individual Burmese characters to good effect (and Japanese - whose treatment I won't spoil for you, but it's another original idea). I'd've liked to see Chundra's daughter, or another Burmese (or maybe British?) woman, joining the Mob - it would've given the saga more opportunities for innovative plot twists (Women were rare in Battle, but not unknown).

On more technical points, I think the Mob encounter far more motor transport (esp. tanks) than the Japanese would've had, they probly wouldn't've had Sten guns, the British Army uses 'Pte.' for 'Private' (not the US 'Pvt.'), and Western's Japanese bears no relation to the actual language. However, these don't spoil anything in this very impressive collection.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

5.0 out of 5 stars (7 customer reviews)

4 star
0

3 star
0

2 star
0

1 star
0

£16.99 £16.54
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Lancaster, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 7,053,520