Johnny Red - Angels Over Stalingrad: Volume 3 HC
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Creator(s): Tom Tully, Joe Colquhoun
Format: 104 pgs.; B&W; Hardcover
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
In the third volume of Titans Books collection of Johnny Red ex-RAF pilot Johnny Redburn is still fighting the Nazi's as commander of the crack Russian Falcon Squadron. But things become even more desperate for him as he experiences all of the horrors of the Battle of Stalingrad at ground level.
Johnny Red by Tom Tully and Joe Colquhoun was a long running serial in the weekly British comic Battle noted for its incredibly gritty artwork and amount of detail given to its WWII era planes. That and it’s deadly serious tone managed to overcome the preposterous premise (i.e. a discharged/disgraced English flyer steals fighter plane, flies to Russia and is somehow inexplicably able to join the 5th Soviet Air Brigade) and make no mistake, some of the sequences included here are strictly Boys Own Adventure high adventure stuff.
But things take a sharp turn into the somber when Johnny meets Nina of the Angels of Death, an all-female group of Russian pilots modeled on the real world group known as the Night Witches. After which instead of flying overhead Johnny decides to experience firsthand some of the unbelievable brutality of the Nazi assault on the city of Stalingrad. While the idiosyncratic art does take some getting used to (the tiny text in the word balloons, the almost complete lack of grounds, etc.) this is compelling material that should appeal even to people (like myself) with little interest in war comics.
--Steve Bennett: Writer and retail services consultant.