Another two weeks, another four Commandos, this time Nos 4891-4894, on sale 25 February 2016 (UK).
Looking at this selection of cover images, the most striking is Do your Duty, where artist Ian Kennedy has courageously chosen to make a pair of grenades the focus of the reader’s attention. The aircraft in the background is simply that, a background — underpainted, too, to make those tumbling grenades stand out. For me, it works very, very well but for two reasons it wouldn’t be nearly so strong without the human head and hand poking out of the aircraft window. First, without those, the grenades hang in space — maybe going up, maybe going down. Second, the human presence flags up that this is a story about people, not inanimate objects, and people stories are always far more interesting.
Cossack Vengeance — Commando No 4891
Once more the Convict Commandos’ latest mission had placed them in grave danger.
The Germans, in league with a Russian traitor and a horde of fearsome, renegade Cossack warriors, had concocted an assassination plot that would turn the tide of the war.
Now all Jelly Jakes and the rest of the Commando team had to do was foil the enemy plan…but that was easier said than done.
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Manuel Benet Cover: Manuel Benet
Break Through! — Commando No 4892
Time and after time, one British company outsmarted the Germans in Crete. If the Nazis planned a sneak-raid and began it five miles away, the British knew at once — and were ready for them. If a Stuka dive-bombing attack was decided on, they got into hiding an hour before it began. They knew exactly when to counter-attack too.
How was it done? If anyone had told the Germans, they just wouldn’t have believed it. The secret lay in a strange invisible link between Private Bill Roberts and his twin brother, Jack…
This entertaining, borderline incredulous, yarn from 1966 definitely pushes the boundaries of what we and our readers might think as believable. Nonetheless, at its heart is a clever idea about the mysterious link between two soldier brothers and their determination to succeed on the dangerous mission assigned to them. This is an offbeat Commando, for sure, but I think it’s a good read.
And the front cover…a homage to Sir Michael Caine? His breakout roles in classic films such as “Zulu” and “The Ipcress File” were certainly very popular back then, right in the midst of the Swinging Sixties.
Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Break Through!, originally Commando No 196 (January 1966), re-issued as No 835 (May 1974)
Story: Skentleberry Art: Buylla Cover: Lopez Espi
Do Your Duty — Commando No 4893
By October 1945 World War II was over but some British forces were redeployed to the island of Java to support Allied troops in a battle with Nationalist guerrillas. The beleaguered men had expected to have been back home by now and some refused to fight. RAF mechanic Danny Cullen was stuck in the middle — he wanted to do his duty but was continually intimidated by those who had downed tools.
Meanwhile, as skirmishes with the guerrillas continued, Flight Lieutenant James Haldane made sure that he carried some grenades in his Auster spotter aircraft. You never knew when you might need them…
Story: Steve Taylor Art: Vila/Muller Cover: Ian Kennedy
Red Alert — Commando No 4894
Facing the brunt of the massive German invasion of Russia in June 1941 were the lowly Red Army conscripts. Poorly fed, trained and equipped, they were still expected to repel Hitler’s previously undefeated armies…and could expect the harshest of punishments if they failed.
So, join two of these hard-pressed heroes in their trench and see for yourself what it was like…
I hope that, like me, you’re interested in revisiting the early work of one of our current artists. This Eastern Front tale (with a neat, end of the Cold War framing sequence) is drawn by Carlos Pino — whose most recent brand new book was “Polish Pride” (No 4889), published just a fortnight ago in the middle of February.
Carlos’ signature dynamic style is very clear to see here and it is apparent that he is still doing fantastic work to this day. We are delighted, and grateful, that this exceptional illustrator is still happy to draw for us more than a quarter of a century after his 1989 Commando debut.
Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Red Alert, originally Commando No 2482 (June 1991)
Story: Ian Clark Art: Carlos Pino Cover: Phil Gascoine