4 out of 5
“Lofty my boy…”
Repetitive as all get-out, but a fun slab of boy’s battle comics from the ever-appropriately titled Battle Weekly, ne’er before reprinted and gathered up as a floppy offering with the JD Meg. Honestly, I had to read the thing in small doses; the three page strips follow the same exact beats – Lofty spots some Germans or Brits in distress and has a “kraut” swearing himmel doing the “damn you Lofty!” fist shake when the disguised airman ruins their plans – and it all gets a little Saturday Morning Cartoon silly after so many runs of that. However, dang props to writers Pat Mills and Wagner: 18 solid entries wherein they don’t repeat any tricks exactly is danged impressive, and artist Paolo Ongaro does the difficult task of packing war action into already packed pages and panels, but more importantly keeping the sightlines (who’s doing what; particularly tough in war comics in which planes and outfits can all somewhat look the same) clean and followable and exciting. And while the Germans are certainly the out-and-out baddies, they’re not completely played as fools; Lofty does have to work at deceiving them, even if you gotta’ wonder how / why he’s perceived as such an ace pilot when he doesn’t really have any kills to his name and must’ve wrecked a bundle of planes / bases / plans along the way, whether or not he’s able to concoct an excuse as to why. Small doses; that’s all part of the why-me-worry rah-rah Brits fun of it.
In Lofty’s One-Man Luftwaffe , R.A.F. Lofty escapes from a German prison camp, only to use his bi-lingual skills and a stolen plane / outfit to convince the Germans that he’s one of their own. He of course uses this position to foul up the German operations from within. Also bundled with some short “true life” tales of war heroics to fill up the final few pages.