1940: in full swing Battle of Britain, Laure, alone female pilot of 1B Squadron and the Royal Air Force in general, will have to face a ruthless Luftwaffe Ace German : " Der Henker " (" The executioner "). This ruthless fighter, piloting a prototype of Messerschmitt repainted in red, shoots down one by one the best pilots of the RAF. Faced with this massacre, the British general staff are considering a pilot redeployment plan that will doom the 1B. For Laure and her unit, there is only one solution: shoot down this predator from the air! A comic book packed with action that will keep the reader spellbound!
August 1940, France is occupied and in the skies the Battle of Britain. Armed with its numerical superiority, the German Luftwaffe deploys its formations of bombers, escorted by fighters, to crush the British defenses before the invasion. Faced with the Axis air forces, the Royal Air Force stands as the last bulwark! With a smaller workforce, the RAF relies on the excellence of its aircraft, a powerful radar detection system, and the experience of its pilots. But a German ace comes to reign terror in the sky. The man nicknamed "Der Henker" ("The Executioner") is the son of a German industrialist, flying a Messerschmitt prototype whose nose he had painted red, which is reminiscent of the German WWI Ace Manfred von Richthofen, aka "The Red Baron". This pilot from Messerschmitt has embarked on a big hunt for the best pilots in the RAF, he shoots a dozen in a few days and particularly attacks the leading squadrons. Not content with shooting down planes, Der Henker takes the time to finish the dirty work every time, assassinating pilots on land or in parachutes. The RAF must act quickly to reorganize its decapitated squadrons: if the German Ace is not defeated, the 1B squadron, made up of many veterans, will be dispersed to another squadron as part of a vast program of redeployment of pilots.
Within 1B Squadron is an atypical pilot: Laure Chevalier, alias Charlie. The daughter of a World War I ace, the somewhat daredevil young woman left France to join England and take part in the aerial warfare. The somewhat eccentric Squadron Leader Julian Hunt will agree to integrate her into his unit, making her the first woman to pilot a Spitfire in the RAF! But today Hunt died under the bullets of the red devil and the 1B has only two options: either he manages to defeat the German ace, or it is the very existence of the squadron which is put in cause by the pilot redeployment plan.
We are not specifically dealing here with a History comic, the aim is not at all to tell the story of the Battle of Britain of 1940 / 1941. The battle is only the context of a fiction, opposing totally fictional characters, whether Lady Spitfire or Der Henker. The historical setting is however very well represented, especially in the devices designed by Maza. Aviation fans will be delighted to find Spitfire, Hurricane, Messerschmitt, Stukas, Heinkel 111, Bloch MB-210 French recovered by the occupant ... The material is there, the historical context too, he just had to embroider a convincing scenario around, task that fell to Sébastier Latour.
On the scenario side, the enemy Ace which decimates the allied ranks and which must be quickly brought down and a great classic of fictions on air warfare. The relentless hunter who does not hesitate to have his device painted red does not surprise too much either, as the legend of the Red Baron is alive. Der Henker's sadism, on the other hand, is reminiscent of the "Fly Boy" script. However, "Lady Spitfire" differs greatly from these references by giving the leading role to a woman. This is of course the great peculiarity of the series, the female figure is not confined to the pinups of the cabins and the conquests of the aviators, for once a lady climbs into the cockpit which will not displease the male public and will perhaps expand. -be the female audience.
An original script base, then, which is then based on a fairly sustained pace. Indeed, the adventures of "Lady Spitfire" are anything but monotonous! First, caught off guard by the German air force as long as the radar station is down, then trying by all means to attract and corner Der Henker, 1B Squadron is still on the go! Apart from a few well-used breaks to flesh out the character of the characters and declaim a bit of Shakespeare, the story is rich in aerial battles! The reader therefore often finds himself in the clouds with the roar of the engine as a backdrop and the orders of the leading squadron in his ears. Bomber attacks in duels with fighters never get bored, you hold your breath as soon as the planes brush against each other or the enemy appears in the viewfinder. This dynamism is accentuated by the drawing by Maza and the coloring by Pierre Schelle, we notice that the view is regularly focused on the device with a fading background which renders the speed effect very well. Moreover, this is the great strength of this comic, to manage to impose a sustained rhythm both by the scenario and by the drawing. The reader is caught in the heat of the moment, as in an RAF mission there is no question of taking a break en route and he does not rest until after the fifty-sixth and last page! To conclude, we are in the presence of a breathtaking comic that fans of aviation and / or the Second World War will be sure to get hold of. We also note that while the story is indeed the continuation of the tome "The Girl in the Air", the screenplay for "Der Henker" forms a complete story on its own and can be read perfectly individually.
- The air girl
- Der Henker
Screenplay: Sébastien Latour
Color: Pierre Schelle
Cover illustration: Manchu