This is an account of the Battle of Crecy in 1346. It combines the styles of Horrible Histories, and a healthy dose of Blackadder. It appears largely accurate and gives a broad account of the politics, society and warfare of the time. It is narrated by a common English archer who spends most of his time talking to us but occasionally grumbles to, or insults, his compatriots.
The Englishman is a cross between the loveable Tommy and the modern day football hooligan. You learn a lot or remember much depending on when you went to school. It is entertaining and thought-provoking as there a number of modern day parallels to be found.
The art is superb. It is black and white line but with masterful shading. The figures are modern but the overall feel is that of a historical woodcut or period document. It is aptly chosen and superbly executed. Maps pop up every now and then to help the reader and there is a big map of Crecy in both the centre spread and inside cover. The most impressive scenes are those at night which switch to white on black inverting the daytime style.
This is a short, concise work, everything a history lesson should be. Although told from the English point of view the narrator admits he’s a xenophobic fellow living in an age before political correctness so you can take its one-sided nature into account. It is very nice to see the remit of the graphic novel stretched and who better to do it than Warren Ellis. One Thumb or two fingers (your choice) Up!
Tomorrow: Superman: True Brit – Kim Johnson