6 Days to Battle Action: meet The Sarge!

2nd June 2022

Featuring seven brand new stories written by Garth Ennis – the mind behind The Boys, Preacher, and war comics such as The Stringbags and Sara – the 96-page hardcover anthology captures the spirit and action of the merger of the groundbreaking Battle and Action comics in the 1970s.

Behind the cover by Andy Clarke (Batman and Robin) and Dylan Teague (Madi), Ennis is joined by artists Mike Dorey (Ro-Busters), John Higgins (Watchmen), Keith Burns (Ladybird Expert series), PJ Holden (The Stringbags), Patrick Goddard (Judge Dredd), Chris Burnham (Batman) and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen artist Kevin O’Neill.

As we approach D-Day, we shall introduce you to the legendary Battle Action characters who are back in action for this landmark book! Written by Garth Ennis with art by PJ Holden and letters by Rob Steen, today we stand to attention as we meet The Sarge!

Created by Gerry Finley-Day and Mike Western, veteran British sergeant Jim Masters leads his ten-strong infantry section from one end of the Second World War to the other: the Battle of France, the Western Desert, Tunisia, Sicily and Italy. 

On the way he tries his best to keep as many of them alive as possible, matching two wars’ worth of experience against the German army’s apparently effortless lethality. Men come and go, replacements fill the gaps, and the long slog up the dusty trail continues. The peculiar mixture of individuals that makes up the section gels under Masters’ leadership, turning the little unit into an effective combat force - but no one is safe when the bullets start flying. Together they stand, yet together they die, too.

If there is a third string to Finley-Day’s bow it must surely be heart, and never was this displayed more strongly than in The Sarge. The sheer likeability of the section’s personalities - Sid, Beet, Lover, Bates, Pete and the rest - is testament to the writer’s expert command of character, with Mike Western’s unmistakable line setting them all in stone (the creative team’s portrayal of Masters himself, leavening warmth and humour with occasional but very necessary brutality, is simply superb).

Their work laid the groundwork for the strip to continue past their tenure, with a follow-up by Scott Goodall and Phil Gascoigne that took the section from Normandy to the German homeland. One of the comic’s longest lasting strips at just over three and a half years, The Sarge must surely vie with Rogue Trooper from 2000 AD for the title of Gerry Finley-Day’s finest hour.

Join The Sarge as he leads his men into battle in the pages of the Battle Action Special - out on 8 June from all good comic book stores and the 2000 AD and Treasury of British Comics webshops, and from September from all good book stores and major online retailers.