This first appeared in the boys weekly comic"Battle"in the late 70's,and is written by Judge Dredd creator John Wagner.It is a particularly blood-soaked story of World War Two jungle combat,set in Burma in 1942.Captain Joe Darkie transforms a run-down platoon into a ruthless fighting machine,feared by the Japanese Army.Darkie is unhesitatingly violent,a single minded,obsessed man ,his only purpose is to kill as many enemy as possible.In the first episode alone,he beats up the injured lieutenant,beats up his Sergeant,pushing his hand into a fire.And kills three enemy soldiers really messily with his kukri,a nasty curved knife.
This is a well-written and drawn piece of work.This and many Battle stories demonstrated a new approach to classic war comics,combining dark humour,realism,historical research and a dose 70's movie cynicism.I remenber this making the Commando books and comics like Warlord look simplistic and childish.This book features really impressive artwork from Mike Western.His dark jungles are the background to his convincing realised characters.He transports the reader to a steaming,humid dangerous and unexpected world,the men's faces masks of fear and weariness.His combat scenes are most impressive,lots of flying blood and faces in agonised death-throes,Darkie has a particularly violent stabbing style,quite often his Kukri goes through and comes right out the other side,with lots of spurting blood...
There is a mystery about Joe Darkie and we pick up little pieces of the puzzle on the way.The grim humour and constant blood spattered action made this a favourite the first time around.Looking at it now,it is actually much better and more gory than I remember.I hope this super book will bring these lost comics to a new audience.My 12-year old thinks it's fantastic.
"Captain" Darkie has more than a passing resemblance to Marlon Brando's Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now and like the good Colonel is as mad as a bag full of badgers, driven in obsession to wrought havoc on the Japanese and uses whats left of a British Infantry Platoon as his weapon of vengence.
This complete "Darkie's Mob" includes a Preface from Garth Ennis, himself turning out some cracking stuff in his "Battlefield" series. In this Preface he pretty much hits the nail on the head with a quote from the late George MacDonald Fraser's Wartime memoir "Quartered Safe Out Here" where he recounts his time in the 14th Army in Burma.
This is a must for all those middle aged men like myself who read this comic strip over thirty years ago, it's stood the test of time in writing and artwork and its a great pleasure to see this released along with the Epic "Charley's War","Johnny Red" and "Major Eazy" I only hope that "HMS Nightshade" is also up for a second lease of life too.
Having been a reader of Battle, I vaguely remembered D*****'s Mob so it was a real pleasure to find this collection, printed on glossy paper that does it justice. The story is savage and brutal and Mike Western's art complements the script perfectly. There cannot be many occasions where script and art have suited each other as much as D*****'s Mob. The illustrations feel as grimy and sweaty as the jungle they're set in. The story hasn't dated as much as some of the other Battle reprints and is well worth reading. Highly recommended. And yes, I have had to censor the title of the book I'm reviewing!
This is a really superb story , written by the Master of 2000ad , John Wagner ( creator of Strontium Dog , and Judge Dredd ) - I first read this as a young child in 1975 , and was mesmerised by the tale of a group of desperate British Soldiers , who are part of the retreat from the defeats in Burma - from the Japanese ( read Longest Retreat by Tim Carew - for the true story of this episode , rarely covered )
Mike Western couldn't draw a tommy gun to save his life, but who cares? His rendition of disintegrating humanity in dark jungles is magnificent. Even without Wagner's script, this would be well worth looking at. This is where the British boys' comic begins its great and sinister transformation.