Returning To ‘Action’ And Into ‘Battle’: Garth Ennis Headlines The Return Of Britain’s Most Controversial Comic

by Richard Bruton

Announced this week, two of the classic names in British comics history return in a brand-new 96-page hardback this summer – as Rebellion bring back classic characters from Battle and Action, with eight new strips written by Garth Ennis for the Battle Action Special.

Andy Clarke cover)

Behind a brand new cover by Andy Clarke (Batman and Robin) and Dylan Teague (Madi), the Battle Action Special will bring the best of Battle and Action’s action-packed and controversial comics back to life in all their bullet-spraying and enemy-shredding action!

As you should already know, Rebellion, through the Treasury of British Comics, acquired the rights to a huge number of British comics with a plan to bring back classic strips, unseen gems, plus bringing us all-new material from the best creators in comics working on some of the most iconic characters in British comics.

And this June, with the Battle Action Special hardback, we’re getting eight classic strips, all written by Ennis reviving some of the most popular strips from these two groundbreaking 1970s comics. Ennis will be joined by some of the best artists in comics, including the first comics work from 2000 AD and Brit comics legend Kevin O’Neill since he announced his retirement from comics.

So, with Action you have a comic that sparked moral outrage from certain quarters back in 1976 as newspapers, MPs, and those self-appointed moral guardians fell over themselves to condemn its no-holds-barred, anti-authoritarian, action-packed pages. And with O’Neill you have an artist who has the honour of offending the old Comics Code Authority – not for a specific panel, page, or image, but for his entire style, deemed ‘objectionable’ when he was doing some work with Alan Moore on Green Lantern back in the ’80s. Add in Garth Ennis, no stranger to the occasional bit of boundary pushing, and you have a heady mix of comics all coming together in one hardback.

Inside the Battle Action Special, Ennis writes all eight strips, with O’Neill joining him on the revival of Kids Rule OK, writer Jack Adrian and artist Mike White’s series about kids running amok in a post-apocalyptic landscape that was so infamous it helped lead to Action being pulled from shelves.

Other strips include Johnny Red taking to the skies once more to face off against Skreamer of the Stukas, with art by Keith Burns and colourist Jason Wordie, German tank commander Hellman of Hammer Force returns with art by Mike Dorey, and Intelligence Agent Dredger returns and takes no prisoners on the streets of 1980s London, courtesy of John Higgins, with co-colours by Sally Jane Hurst. Then there’s the selfish but fearless Crazy Keller by Chris Burnham with colours by Len O’Grady, Nina Petrova, the scourge of the Eastern Front, with art by Patrick Goddard. And finally, reuniting the team that gave us the quite magnificent Stringbags, as Ennis and PJ Holden bring us The Sarge.

More details and more art as we get them. But make a date in your diaries – Battle Action Special – June 2022.

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