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Battlefields: The Firefly and His Majesty #4

by  in Comic Reviews Comment
Battlefields: The Firefly and His Majesty #4

For this round of “Battlefields” minis, Dynamite is trying something different by publishing three three-issue mini-series as one nine-issue series. So, for all intents and purposes, this fourth issue is like the first issue of a “The Firefly and his Majesty” mini. This story acts a sequel of sorts to “The Tankies,” once again focusing on the tank warfare of World War II, this time with a new British tank and even more advanced Germans tanks belonging to a unit low on supplies, including fuel.

Most of the issue is spent with two units, a British one and what’s left of an American one after a run-in with the Germans’ King Tiger class of tank that has a hull so hard that it seems nothing can penetrate it. Ennis’ dialogue skills drive the issue forward, but, even then, there’s something missing. So far, there isn’t much of a story and the stories that Ennis has the characters tell aren’t quite as funny as they used to be. One story involving a tank accidentally falling into a sink hole of sorts is humorous, but doesn’t have the same wry quality that Ennis’ writing is known for.

One scene that works very well is testing the British unit’s tank on a damaged, abandoned King Tiger. The Brits use an American Sherman tank, but with one of their own guns, giving it a bit more firepower, but with a better body. They keep firing on the King Tiger, moving closer and closer and the German tank takes it all. It’s a powerful scene that makes you wonder what would have happened if the Germans developed them a little sooner in the war.

Joining Ennis on art is frequent collaborator and “Tankies” artist Carlos Ezquerra, whose messy, rough style is perfectly suited for the book. By this point in the war, the tanks and soldiers were run down a little and Ezquerra gets that across in the art. The soldiers look like they’ve been living in these hot big metal things for months, while the tanks have obviously seen some battle. He particularly does great work on the two-page shot of the aftermath of the Americans’ battle with the Germans. He makes the once lively landscape look absolutely wrecked from the tanks as they’re littered about like it were a junkyard.

The idea of a small German unit with depleted supplies fighting against larger forces through skill and superior weaponry is an interesting one, but it’s only introduced in this issue. Otherwise, this is a fairly typical Garth Ennis war comic, which is still pretty good, just not up to the standards that he’s set.