GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Stringbags

Dead Reckoning: Naval Inst. May 2020. 192p. ISBN 9781682475034. pap. $29.95. history
COPY ISBN
Although considered obsolete by 1940, the Fairey Swordfish—biplane torpedo bombers nicknamed Stringbags—still played a role in the Royal Navy’s battle against the Axis powers. Crewmates Archie, Pops, and Ollie are considered lazy, incompetent cowards by their commanding officers until distinguishing themselves in an operation targeting the Italian Fleet in the Mediterranean. Their triumphant return to England after the battle is marred by the Blitz and cut short when they’re ordered to join an attack against the Bismarck, an enormous floating fortress bristling with cannons. Ennis (Sara) clearly admires these pilots, but resists romanticizing them; they bicker and banter, fly off course and get lost, and at one point accidentally attack a Royal Navy ship. By highlighting their flaws, Ennis makes their bravery seem even more incredible and offers a reminder that the war was won by normal people willing to make enormous sacrifices in the name of freedom, especially as the crew’s quarreling is supplanted by somber reflection in the final chapter, which finds them preparing to battle German ships in the English Channel.
VERDICT An epic tribute to little-known heroes, featuring frenzied depictions of midair combat by Holden (Judge Dredd: Every Empire Falls).

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month

Like this premium article? Subscribe to LJ and get all of our premium content at your fingertips for 12 months.