‘Battle Action’ Makes A Return In May From Rebellion/2000 AD With Garth Ennis, John Wagner, Dan Abnett & More!
by Richard Bruton
Following the 2022 one-off Battle Action Special written by Garth Ennis, Rebellion is bringing it back for a five-issue series…
The 2022 Special saw Ennis bring back the greatest strips from the pages of the hugely influential Battle and Action comics of the ’70s, and now he’s doing it again – except this time he’s bringing some of the best talent in comics to once more reintroduce and reinvigorate the classic British comics characters from Battle and Action.
“So it looks like my cunning plan worked, and there will indeed be more Battle Action. I’m delighted to welcome writers Rob Williams, Torunn Grønbekk, Dan Abnett and in particular original Battle creator John Wagner on board for the new series, alongside ten (count them) fantastic artists – some returning from last year’s special, some newcomers to our noble endeavour.” – Garth Ennis
The creators involved in this new five-issue series include the aforementioned Ennis, Wagner, Abnett, Grønbekk, Williams, Keith Burns, Dan Cornwell, Chris Burnham, Phil Winslade, John Higgins, Henry Flint, Staz Johnson, PJ Holden, Mike Dorey, and Patrick Goddard.
The series launches on 31st May 2023 in 2000 AD-size magazine format, and will be available through comic book stores and the 2000 AD and Treasury of British Comics webshops. Each issue comes with a wrapround cover from Burns plus web-shop exclusive covers, and will feature two stories – the first in each issue written by Ennis.
Inside the comic, you’ll find plenty of classic characters returning, including World War Two flying ace Johnny Red by Ennis and artist Keith Burns – the same team that brought you Johnny Red/ Skreamer of the Stukas in the 2022 Special. Other classic strips include Crazy Keller, D-Day Dawson, Dredger, Major Eazy, Hellman of Hammer Force, and Nina Patrova and The Angels of Death.
There’s also the very exciting return of John Wagner – co-creator of Battle Picture Weekly – to bring us a new HMS Nightshade comic, with artist Dan Cornwell, wherein a Royal Navy warship protects Allied shipping from the U-Boat menace. Wagner co-created HMS Nightshade with artist Mike Western in 1979, and it’s a particular favourite of Ennis’ – indeed, he had this to say about Wagner’s involvement: “Having John produce the first ‘HMS Nightshade’ script in forty years is the icing on the cake.”
For those of you not in the know, Battle Picture Weekly really was one of those momentous events in British comics history, the foundation of a sea change in the ’70s that led first to the controversial Action and the Galaxy’s Greatest, 2000 AD.
Created in 1975 by writers and editors Pat Mills and John Wagner, Battle introduced a new style into comics, more anti-establishment, grittier (I know it’s a bad word now, but back then it really was revolutionary!) and packing the pages with characters that were no longer the simple black and white of before. Instead, we had anti-heroes cast in shades of grey, suddenly transforming the way comics were made in Britain.
Battle Action #1 is released on 31st May. It will be available from comic book stores and from the 2000 AD and Treasury of British Comics webshops.
Now, here’s what to expect from the issues, along with some preview pages…
Johnny Red by Garth Ennis and Keith Burns
HMS Nightshade by John Wagner and Dan Cornwell
Below, pages from HMS Nightshade, art by Dan Cornwell…
Battle Action #2– on sale 28th June
Crazy Keller by Garth Ennis and Chris Burnham
D-Day Dawson by Dan Abnett and Phil Winslade
Below, pages from Crazy Keller, art by Chris Burnham…
Battle Action #3 – on sale 26th July
Dredger by Garth Ennis and John Higgins
Major Eazy by Rob Williams and Henry Flint
Battle Action #4 – on sale 30th August
Cooley’s Gun by Garth Ennis and Staz Johnson
Death Squad by Rob Williams and PJ Holden
Battle Action #5 – on sale 27th September
Hellman of Hammer Force by Garth Ennis and Mike Dorey
Nina Petrova and the Angels of Death by Torunn Grønbekk and Patrick Goddard