cover image Aces High: The 10 Best Air Ace Picture Library Comic Books Ever!

Aces High: The 10 Best Air Ace Picture Library Comic Books Ever!

Steve Holland, Trafalgar Square, $25.95 paper (656p) ISBN 978-1-85375-703-7

With 10 tales of aerial derring-do spread across some 650 pages, Holland's compilation of Air Ace Picture Library comics will be a diverting read for aeronautics and history buffs or any fan of war comics. Originally published between 1960 and 1970, just as the sons and nephews of WWII veterans were hitting adolescence, Air Ace revisited the can-do spirit that kept Britain's pilots flying high despite the Axis onslaught. Although these selections cover different campaigns, aircraft, and military branches, the stories—which sport titles like "Fighter, Fighter!" "Whirlwind in the Sky," and "Teeth of Battle"—will all seem familiar to anyone who's seen Top Gun. A brash, talented young hotshot ignores his superiors and suffers one harrowing comeuppance after another until, having learned his lesson, he humbly embraces the team ethic and ends up saving the day. Rote narratives aside, the quality of the art and scripting varies widely from chapter to chapter, and although the artists are mentioned by name in Holland's introduction, there's no way of knowing who drew which pages. Luckily, even the worst-drawn panels include choice lines like, "You've got me all of a jelly!" and, "Bejabbers Sir! You're a real lad and make no mistake!" Tally ho, indeed. (July)