Commando issues on sale 4th December 2014
When Lieutenant Alexandre “Lex” Mertens joined a Belgian Special Forces unit late in World War II he knew he’d be in for a tough time — hit-and-run raids in heavily-armed jeeps were never going to be easy.
What he didn’t expect was to be called on to defend a village full of civilians from rampaging German forces and to have to take command of his new comrades. He didn’t know if he’d be up to the job but for the sake of the civilians and his own men, he was going to have to be.
Story: Ferg Handley
Cover: Janek Matysiak
Had they survived the landing at the deadly river-mouth, mined and ambushed by the Japanese, and fought their way through the horrors of the jungle, just to be picked off on this ridge by Japanese planes?
Was this the finish — here, when below them lay the secret Japanese airfield they’d come so many blood-stained miles to destroy?
Was it blazes!
Although every Commando story starts life as a plot line, sometimes it’s not the story that grabs your attention, sometimes it’s the cover, sometimes it’s the inside art. That is certainly the case here. Alonso’s pants-on-fire style of illustration socks you in the eye and keeps the tale racing along.
Once you get past the art, you can appreciate that it’s a well-worked, complicated plot that Alonso is working with. There’s jeopardy round every corner and enough friction between the characters to start a small fire — see the comment about Alonso’s style.
Cover artist Chaco holds his end up well, reducing the amount of colour in the illustration to show that it’s night, but also showing up the gun flashes and the probing searchlight. A good job by all three.—Calum Laird, Commando Editor
Originally Commando No 131 (September 1964), re-issued as No 687 (October 1972)
Tony Borelli had been born in England but his parents were full-blooded Italians so, when World War II broke out, he looked likely to be detained in an internment camp with other foreign nationals.
Tony, though, enlisted in the British Army and became part of a highly secret intelligence unit operating in the deserts of North Africa.
His CO believed Tony’s fluent Italian was an asset to the team and didn’t consider his roots important. Unfortunately, not all Tony’s comrades were as convinced that he could be trusted.
Story: George Low
Cover: Janek Matysiak
They did not exist as far as the Allies were aware — four lethal Panther tanks hidden away in a secret lair from which they would strike with devastating force when the time was right.
The British had a phantom of their own with which to hit back…though they did not know it!
Throughout Commando’s 53-year history, Military Policemen (MPs) have been used by authors as a handy plot device or character archetype. On many occasions, these Army law enforcers have been officious, bullying types, bringing trumped-up charges against our plucky, salt-of-the-earth heroes.
In Phantom Panthers — drawn by the inimitable and much-missed Denis McLoughlin — we buck the trend. MP Sergeant Bill Cuthbert is likable, brave, honest…and determined to solve a battlefield mystery. Once more, Commando can turn expectations on their heads and — as we see here — the results are all the better for it.—Scott Montgomery, Deputy Editor
Story: Allan Chalmers
Art: Denis Mcloughlin
Cover: Ian Kennedy
Originally Commando No 2264 (March 1989)