Commando Issues 4995 – 4998 – On Sale 23rd February 2017
The Village – Commando No 4995
By spring, 1945, the Reich’s forces were in full retreat and Allied troops were pushing into Germany. So when Sergeant Matt Geary and his small squadron moved into the small village of Langhirten, he wasn’t expecting much resistance.
They took the village from the SS battalion easily and they repelled the German’s counterattack with little issue. But after the SS’s third attempt to seize back the village, Matt became suspicious. Langhirten had no strategic value and the Germans were supposed to be retreating… So what was so important about Langhirten?
What secrets were hidden in…The Village?
Story: Ferg Handley Art: Vicente Alcazar Cover: Janek Matysiak
Hurricane! – Commando No 4996
Imagine a Russian squadron whose ancient biplanes have been swept out of the sky by speedy Me 109s. They’re thirsting for revenge.
Then comes along Kirk Roland with a trainload of superfast Hurricanes, ready to risk his life in teaching the Russian pilots how to hit back hard. You’d have thought they would welcome him with open arms!
But they didn’t. They hated Kirk, and his planes, from the moment he arrived.
Story: Newark Art: Repetto Cover: Ken Barr
Prepare for take-off with another high-flying adventure from the Commando archives! Newark explores the winning, but often tense, relationship between Britain’s RAF pilots and Soviet Russia’s air force in this tale of team work. Steeped in history, Newark celebrates the collaboration between the allies, but also confronts the differing opinions held during this time. It is particularly interesting to see Soviet Russia’s female pilots (the first women pilots in the world to be allowed to fly combat missions) being represented and well-respected in this issue.
Accompanied by Repetto’s astonishing artwork, Hurricane! is a fast-paced air adventure, worthy of another outing.
The Commando Team
Hurricane!, originally Commando No. 296 (November 1967)
Hidden Nazis – Commando No 4997
In 1945, after the German surrender, Nazis guilty of heinous war crimes attempted to flee or conceal themselves in post-war Germany. Lieutenant Sam Watling’s job was to find them.
But he had help. An unknown hand aided Sam in his quest for justice, unmarked envelopes and tips were left at his desk – behind them a secret informant.
Someone was helping Sam catch Hidden Nazis.
Story: George Low Art: Manuel Benet Cover: Manuel Benet
Jailbreak Heroes – Commando No 4998
Three men on the run – but running into danger instead of away from it. For when ex-Sergeant Mike Stone got the chance to escape from Polworth Military Prison in England, he decided to head back to the front line in France to seek revenge on the cowardly officer who had betrayed him.
And the honest ex-Sergeant was surprised to find how glad he was when two other jailbirds, Alf Barstow and Lefty Briggs, insisted on tagging along too…
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Keith Shone Cover: Ian Kennedy
Nothing propels a storyline better than a personal vendetta. Forlorn and bitter, Mike Stone is desperate to clear his name after being falsely imprisoned for cowardice and striking an officer. The urgency of Veteran writer, Alan Hebden’s plot is coupled perfectly with Keith Shone’s masterful interior art.
Ian Kennedy shines once again and provides a dynamic cover illustration which does its job splendidly, framing the tone of the action contained within this Commando’s pages.
The Commando Team
Jailbreak Heroes, originally Commando No. 2493 (August 1991)
Issues 4991 – 4994 , the latest quartet of Commandos (try saying that after three pints of Old Trumper), go on sale on 9th February 2017 (UK).
As is usual, all the creators are named. As is also usual, some are only identified by their second names, for the perfectly good reason that when the stories were originally drawn, no credits were published, and one name sufficed for record-keeping purposes. As long as the artists and writers were paid, they probably didn’t care too much.
On the one hand this can be deeply frustrating for anyone who wants every detail they can possibly amass on the comics. On the other hand it’s a fine excuse for those who like to delve into comics history to go raking on the web for more info. The trouble is, that info often throws up more questions than answers.
In the late-60s, the artist Segrelles is one of many identified by one name only. A Google search soon throws up his first name as Vicente. But wait, reading his biography and looking at his samples, he doesn’t seem quite the right fit. Did he, like some others, change his style between comics and “fine art”?
Perhaps not, because his cousin Eustaquio was also a comics and “fine art” artist. Maybe he was responsible for Legion Of The Lost, Colonel Scarface, Blood Of Heroes, etc. See what you think. Here are a pair of pages from Legion Of The Lost:
Once we’ve sorted that out, we need to move on to which of the De La Fuente brothers illustrated which stories and which of the Hebdens (father and son) wrote which stories.
Or maybe you just want to read them…
Achtung, We Surrender – Commando No 4991
In 1940, small time crook Ned Turpin claimed to be the descendant of the infamous highwayman, Dick Turpin. He, with his partner -in-crime, Bert Bloomer, had no intention of involving himself in the war…or at least he didn’t until he was caught robbing notorious East London gangsters, the Bailey brothers.
Shipped off to France to avoid the Baileys and time behind bars, Ned and Bert found themselves on the front line in a war they wanted no part of. The advancing Germans had heard many cries on the battlefields but now they would hear the screams of…Achtung, we surrender!
Story: George Low Art: Keith Page Cover: Keith Page
Legion of the Lost – Commando No 4992
The Foreign Legion breeds tough men. Sergeant Steve Millar was tough – he needed to be.
He was stranded in the desert with a fortune of gold. He knew he would be attacked by Germans, Italians and marauding Arabs. And for company he had four legionnaires – killers all – with the smell of gold in their nostrils.
Story: Mepham Art: Segrelles Cover: Segrelles
Mepham’s tale of the legendary Foreign Legion challenges the intense Espirit de Corps traditionally established by the Legion’s units. With enemy forces surrounding our heroes as they cross treacherous desert conditions, it is essential that they work as a team. Their journey goes to plan until the Legionnaire’s Code of Honour is disrupted by an irrefutable force: gold.
Mepham brilliantly explores the soldiers’ fight for survival, and the unfortunate consequences of greed, in this thrilling tale. Illustrated wonderfully by the talented Segrelles, Legion of the Lost is an epic adventure through the desert to find where man’s wealth really lies.
The Commando Team
Legion of the Lost, originally Commando No 311 (February 1968)
Barbed Wire Battlers – Commando No 4993
Seaman Andy Walker had been a loner all his life. From his beginnings at the orphanage to his posting in the Royal Navy, Andy struggled to be accepted…
But Andy’s isolation worsened when he was captured and put in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Once his jailers learnt he could speak their language, he was singled out and, from his fellow prisoners’ perspective, given special treatment.
It would take everything Andy had to prove he was no traitor, no Japanese pet…to prove that he was one of them. That he was a Barbed Wire Battler!
Story: George Low Art: Rezzonico and Morahin Cover: Janek Matysiak
Ground Strike! – Commando No 4994
The Bristol Beaufighter packed an awesome punch with its arsenal of machine guns and cannons. Turned against an enemy, it was a lethal weapon of war.
But one Beaufighter pilot, Andy Shaw, knew to his cost that it could be just as deadly against a friendly target hit by mistake…
Story: Alan Hemus Art: Terry Patrick Cover: Ian Kennedy
Alan Hemus does it again in this outstanding Commando outing! Hemus’ storytelling is at the top of its game with his two heroes, Andy and Harry, caught in a web of uncertainty.
They shoot up a launch, convinced it’s an enemy E-Boat, but their superiors believe they have actually sunk one of their own rescue craft. Their moral dilemma looms over them until the climax. The tension Hemus draws out in the plot is matched by the scratch lines of Terry Patrick’s interior art. This all topped off with another amazing Ian Kennedy cover!
The Commando Team
Ground Strike!, originally Commando No 2518 (November 1991)
There’s an outbreak of “Tommy Guns” and Stens on the covers of these Commandos –Nos 4987 – 4990 on sale 26th January 2017 in the UK. WW2 was the sub-machine gun’s war – think also PPSh-41 and MP38/MP40 as well. The Thompson and the MP38 were quality guns, made to fine tolerances and cost a small fortune. The Sten and the PPSh were churned out by the thousand and were cheap as chips.
The Soviets probably issued more sub-machine guns than anyone else but even so the rifle remained the usual infantryman’s weapon on all sides.
But war comics aren’t bothered with that sort of detail. Their covers have to be punchy, full of action and movement. And nothing gets that across like a blazing sub-machine gun. If someone counted the numbers of SMGs compared to rifles on war comics covers they’s probably get a proportion in direct opposition to what the situation really was.
So, a big blazing gun is the thing to have on a cover. And an explosion. And action that smashes towards the reader.
Right, so why does an editor allow the artist who painted the cover of 4990 break all the rules we’ve just settled on?
First, the artist hasn’t actually broken the rules he’s just stretched them a bit. There are guns blazing on that submarine, and they’re firing at the reader. The bullets are striking the tug in the foreground and it in turn is pulling the reader towards the action.
The second reason is that it was executed by Jeff Bevan and, when it came to ships, boats or submarines, he really could get away with anything such was his craftsmanship. (Sorry, pun not intended.)
*From “Off To Dublin In The Green” as often sung by The Dubliners. Quoting this does not signify any political affiliations, just a fondness for stirring songs.
Operation Arrowhead — Commando No 4987
In the fourteenth century, the English bowmen were the scourge of French knights. The machine-gunners of their days, the bowmen used six-foot long bows to fire long arrows with three-inch wide arrowheads to pierce the hearts of their enemies.
One such arrowhead was found six centuries later in a field in France by Private Len Mason. This chance encounter saved Len from being gunned down by the enemy.
Surrounded by the bodies of his squadron, Len wondered why he had survived the brutal attack. Was the arrowhead a good luck charm or was it simply a coincidence?
Story: George Low Art: Carlos Pino Cover: Carlos Pino
Blaze of Glory — Commando No 4988
A squad of Commandos set out to deliver one RAF Flight Lieutenant to an address in German-held Norway. Mark Ritchie was his name – and desperately daring was his nature. The trick was to get him there alive…
Story: Wilkinson Art: Buylla Cover: Alvaro
Following a devastating crash, claustrophobic RAF test pilot, Mark Ritchie, didn’t expect to be chosen for an immediate mission to accompany a Commando squad into the heart of Nazi-occupied Norway to steal a never-before-flown aircraft prototype.
Wilkinson’s fast-paced story brilliantly captures Mark’s battle to prove his worth, creating dramatic tension between the pilot and the Commandos. The story is perfectly complemented by Buylla’s mastery of ink, as his visuals lead us from the cockpit of an unarmed plane, across vast seas, and deep into enemy territory. This is one action-packed adventure that’s not to be missed!
The Commando Team
Blaze of Glory, originally Commando No. 299 (December 1967)
Tromsø — Commando No 4989
The Tirpitz was one of the most feared battleships of the Second World War. A forty-two-thousand-ton titan of the seas, the RAF’s brave and desperate attempts to destroy it became notorious.
Lesser known was the story of Erik and Olav, scientists turned SOE agents, and their role in the battleship’s fate. Their lives inextricably linked with brutal Nazi Major Herman Klinger, see how they came to take their revenge in the barren town of… Tromsø!
Story: Colin Watson Art: Keith Page Cover: Keith Page
Pirate Patrol — Commando No 4990
Nick Borley cursed the day he had been switched from commanding a fast motor launch to take over an antiquated schooner. And never more so than now as they ran before a storm, the sails and rigging in tatters after the Luftwaffe had paid a call.
Up ahead lay the hostile enemy-held coast and at Nick’s elbow was the grinning, bearded pirate who had started all this trouble. And he wasn’t finished yet!
If you’re looking for a swashbuckling tale of heroism and maritime madness, venture no further than Pirate Patrol! Veteran writer, Alan Hemus is at the top of his game in this seafaring thriller. Hemus creates a great anti-hero in the form of Barney Lee, a loveable rogue with interesting views on the Second World War erupting around him. His counterpart, Lieutenant Nick Borley, is the perfect straight-laced man to counter balance Barney’s disorder, and both are expertly depicted in Keith Shone’s excellent interior art.
The Commando Team
Pirate Patrol, originally Commando No 2455 (March 1991)
Story: Alan Hemus Art: Keith Shone Cover: Jeff Bevan
2017 is a big year for Commando comics; this, their 56th year of production, will see the arrival of their 5000th issue. That surely puts them at the top of the comics’ numbers pile. The countdown begins with this set of four – Nos 4983-4986, on sale 12th January 2017 (UK).
It makes you wonder what the secret of their longevity is, and how much longer they can last. After all, the Second World War, which is Commando’s stock-in-trade, only lasted (thank heavens) six years. Later wars don’t seem to have the same appeal so surely the well must run dry at some stage. Or perhaps not.
Putting that aside for the moment, how has Commando managed to carry on when the last British War comics — Warlord and Battle — sank in the mid-80s? Paul Cockburn in Comic Heroes Issue 30 tries to answer the question by speaking to a few of the people involved. Rather alarmingly, however, the article ends with a comment from DC Thomson’s heritage titles editor Kirsten Murray, “Despite Commando being 55 years old, we feel its potential is still largely untapped, so keep your eyes peeled for lots of exciting Commando this year.” That smacks a bit of the “Great News For All Readers” announcements your favourite 70s comic carried just before it was merged with another title.
Let’s hope that’s not the case as Commando and The Beano don’t seem a very good fit. Let’s also hope that we don’t have to keep our eyes peeled, let’s hope whatever they do hits everyone square in the eye so it can’t be ignored.
The “last man standing” must be helped to remain upright.
The Sentinel – Commando No 4983
Over thousands of years ago, the Tyrrhenian horde besieged the tiny island of Rhodes. Although the Rhodian warriors were outnumbered, they were not afraid, as they were led by their General Theron and his friend, Nereus. But little did Theron know, his biggest enemy slept within the confines of his own camp.
By 1942, Theron had become a legend – the location of his tomb a mystery that plagued archaeologist Gennaro Soccino. Conscripted into the Italian army stationed in Rhodes, Soccino became obsessed with finding the resting place of Theron and…The Sentinel.
Story: Steve Coombs Art: Morahin Cover: Ian Kennedy
The One They Couldn’t Catch – Commando No 4984
Moto the Clown paused, sweat running from his face. He was about to walk along a steel wire, fifty feet above ground, suspended between two giant pylons. This had always been the climax of his circus act.
But Moto wasn’t in the circus ring now. This time there would be no applause from the audience. The only sounds he could expect to hear was the harsh crackle of Schmeisser machine-pistols.
Story: Powell Art: Sostres Cover: Ken Barr
This unusual outing from October 1967 is a little different from a traditional Commando adventure, which is what makes it such a rare gem worthy of another airing! While the story about a clown who joins the army does push the boundaries a smidge, how many other Commandos could boast such a plotline? A marvellous script, art – Sostres’ interior line work is simply spectacular, and Ken Barr’s whimsical yet enticing cover combine seamlessly to create this delightfully zany yarn.
The Commando Team
The One They Couldn’t Catch, originally Commando No 289 (October 1967)
Mountain Strike – Commando No 4985
Lieutenant Alan Barkley was tasked with assembling a team to embark on a special ground mission, deep behind enemy lines in Burma. These soldiers would face gruelling conditions, putting their skills to the test, all whilst carrying a 3.7-inch calibre howitzer up treacherous mountain peaks.
Rookie medic, Ben Ellis, did not expect to be enlisted for this task, and his fellow soldiers questioned his capabilities. But they soon found that venturing into enemy territory with a deadly weapon in tow takes courage and cunning to survive.
Story: Ferg Handley Art: Jaume Forns Cover: Janek Matysiak
Very Important Passenger – Commando No 4986
Ferrying a VIP to England from North Africa might sound like a simple enough mission, but not when it’s a worn-out old bomber only fit for the scrapheap that you’re given to do the job.
And it doesn’t help when your Very Important Passenger panics at the first sign of an enemy aircraft…or when he pulls out a revolver and points it at your head!
Story: K.P. MacKenzie Art: Terry Patrick Cover: Terry Patrick
Accusations, air raids and an unpredictable passenger creates the foundations for this soaring tale. Despite completing dangerous air missions, transporting an unusual stranger may just be Frank Roach’s most difficult challenge yet. A tale of trust, filled with action from start to finish, Very Important Passenger is brought to life by Terry Patrick’s wonderful artwork.
Sit back and enjoy as we take to the skies with Frank “Finny” Roach and Sergeant Judd Stott in K.P. MacKenzie’s high-flying adventure.
The Commando Team
Very Important Passenger, originally Commando No 2453 (March 1991)
Commando Issues 4979 – 4982 – On Sale 29th December 2016
Sucker Punch – Commando No 4979
Captured by SS men for desertion and sentenced to firing squad by his own countrymen, German naval officer, Franz Beuten, was saved by British Special Service operatives, Lieutenant Tom Dell, Sergeant Mark Lyle and Corporal Roger Crown, on duty deep behind enemy lines.
After Germany’s surrender, the SAS troop was tasked with tracking down Nazi war criminals. An unlikely alliance was formed between Franz and the SAS boys. Together they made sure they dealt the Nazis a deadly…SUCKER PUNCH
Story: George Low Art: Vila Cover: Ian Kennedy
Flying Phantom – Commando No 4980
Tom Hardy, ex-Spitfire ace and Dave Rogers, radar operator, were a night-fighter team. They flew in a Beaufighter, but they never got results. Sometimes the radar broke down, once it caught fire. They even found themselves chasing friendly planes.
Then something new was added to the team. On their night flights it was always with them, an unearthly presence glowing with an eerie green light, like a being from another world – and it turned Tom and Dave into real night-fighter aces.
Story: McOwan Art: Quesada Cover: Ken Barr
Amongst the action and adventure of the front lines, Commando Comics often ventured into the weird and wonderful world of fantasy and science fiction. The Flying Phantom is an exciting example of this alternative take on telling war stories.
McOwan successfully mixed a traditional narrative of fighter pilots striving to be the very best with ancient legend to create a truly memorable plot, brought to life by Quesada’s beautiful illustrations. Perhaps the most enticing element of Flying Phantom is Ken Barr’s bold, stunning cover. This gripping tale mixes mystery and magic, leaving readers flying high long after the end.
The Commando Team
Flying Phantom, originally Commando No 266 (June 1967), reissued as No 939 (June 1975).
Yuri’s Revenge – Commando No 4981
Yuri Murayev, former member of Russia’s elite Spetznaz shock forces, had proven himself time and again to be a thorn in the side of media mogul and would-be dictator, Anatoly Speck.
But when Speck kidnaps British SAS agent Douglas Trent, Yuri knows it is time to take the fight directly to the enemy and put an end to Speck’s deadly conspiracies and political intrigues for once and for all. He has been hunted, beaten and framed – now it’s time for YURI’S REVENGE.
Story: Stephen Walsh Art: Manuel Benet Cover: Manuel Benet
Everything Under Control – Commando No 4982
Jim Farrow’s war as a navigator had got off to quite a start. Before he’d even qualified, he’d dragged an injured pilot out of his seat and landed the aircraft by himself.
When he was transferred to a Hampden squadron, someone told him that if the same thing happened again, he didn’t stand a chance of getting the pilot away from the controls – for the Hampden cockpit was only three feet across. “Flying coffins,” they called them.
Then one day it happened…
Story: RA Montague Art: José Maria Jorge Cover: Ian Kennedy
RA Montague’s tale of a dysfunctional bomber crew highlights the teamwork, communication and trust flight crews needed during the Second World War. The bomber teams had great faith in their navigators, who were central players in performing successful air raids, avoiding conflict, hitting targets, and returning safely. In a tale of courage and comradery, José Maria Jorge skilfully captures the tension and terror of being part of a bomber crew.
Follow our hero, Jim Farrow, through a turbulent adventure as he attempts to keep Everything Under Control.
The Commando Team.
Everything Under Control, originally Commando No 1194 (January 1978), reissued as No 2492 (August 1991).
Commando Issues 4975 – 4978 – On Sale 15th December 2016
Flying Blind — Commando No 4975
Sergeant Owain Howell was too headstrong for the RAF. Charged with insubordination, he found himself consigned to the ground crew, servicing the planes he had once hoped to fly. Travelling with his crew to Africa, he was shot down and stranded in Italy.
Squadron leader Leonard Brinkley, on the other hand, was a cool and experienced pilot. However, after a raid went disastrously wrong, Leonard found himself a Prisoner of War; unable to see, and unable to escape.
Together, they embarked on an audacious plan to rescue their teammates and return to Britain. But escaping the enemy is no mean feat when you’re… Flying Blind.
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Morahin Cover: Janek Matysiak
The Stolen Lanc — Commando No 4976
Tom Cornish flew Spitfires and had lightning reactions to match. His brother, Mike, flew a Lancaster bomber, and was as safe and steady as a rock.
Too bad that Tom had a nasty habit of referring to “flying tramcars” and “lumbering Lancs”, or saying fighter pilots needed twice the skill and courage of bomber crews. To him bombing was about as risky as delivering milk.
Mike was so mad that he invited Tom aboard the Lanc for one of those “milk runs”.
Story: David Boutland Art: Domingo Cover: Ken Barr
The introduction of the Lancaster bomber in World War Two would change the face of air warfare, bringing with it enduring competition between bomber crews and fighter pilots. Such attitudes are brilliantly explored in David Boutland’s epic tale of sibling rivalry, as he perfectly captures the frustration of fighting for recognition.
The story of Mike and Tom Cornish is brought to life by Domingo’s striking artwork, not only capturing the fast-paced action, but establishing a fraught relationship between the brothers with subtle looks and body language. Framed by Ken Barr’s stunning cover art, The Stolen Lanc recognises the importance of the Lancaster bomber crew and the incredible risks they took on each of their missions.
The Commando Team
The Stolen Lanc, originally Commando No 271 (July 1967), reissued as No 951 (July 1975).
Strange Encounter — Commando No 4977
Cadogan Strange thought he’d heard the last of the arrogant Major von Hunsdorff after Russian troops had thwarted the Major’s attempt to flee across the Pamirs to the Turkish Front. But a Prisoner of War camp could not hold Hunsdorff for long, and his escape brought these two foes face to face once again.
Desperate to use Afghanistan’s forces against the British, Hunsdorff defies orders from Berlin and leads his men towards Heart in an effort to seize power. With a score to settle and peace to maintain, it is up to respected veteran Cadogan Strange and his newfound ally, Lieutenant Frank Gibson, to stop the rogue German troops from reaching their target – before it’s too late!
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Morahin and Rezzonico Cover: Ian Kennedy
The Cairo Secret — Commando No 4978
A vast city, teeming with millions of people of all nationalities. Here in Cairo were spies, informers, saboteurs, as well as crooks, thieves, and assassins. Here many a dangerous plot was hatched, here much money could be made, and quickly. Here too, sudden death lay waiting…
Story: Lomas Art: Gordon C. Livingstone Cover: Ian Kennedy
When reluctant soldiers Len Potter and Tim Bates deserted the army to seek their fortune in Cairo, they could never have guessed that they would become central figures in sparking an uprising against the British. The Cairo Secret is a classic tale of twists and treachery, tapping into the revolutionary tensions in Egypt during the Second World War, and proving there was action – and danger – to be found far from the front lines.
Lomas’ cast of unpredictable characters teamed with Gordon Livingstone’s wonderful art creates an undercover story which throws us straight into the action, refusing to slow down until the very end.
The Commando Team
The Cairo Secret, originally Commando No 1130 (May 1977), reissued as No 2460 (April 1991)