In writer Mills’ hands, the world of the P.B.O.s and their glory hungry pilots has its roots in the British class system, with observers being treated as expendable proles in the air. Captain Morgan, we’re told, has already lost three observers, and we get to see a fourth fall to screaming death in the course of battle. Just another poor blinking observer. . .
“Charley’s War” first appeared in three- and four-page installments as a part of the black-and white British comic magazine Battle from 1979 – 85, a remarkable run for so unglamorous a war comic. This current volume ends with two sequences returning to our title hero in the trenches. Hitler’s regiment, we’re told, has left, but there are still plenty of Jerries to fend off. To add to Charley’s woes, he’s also accidentally roused the enmity of a former comrade recently raised to officer’s rank. “He’s jealous of my success,” this new antagonist thinks, “the way I worked my way up from the ranks!” At times, it seems like the Bourne Boys’ war is less against the Germans and more against undeserved rank and privilege.