I saw the advert for Deff Skwadron in June’s White Dwarf and was immediately curious. I mean a graphic novel about Ork pilots, what is there that can go wrong? I’m glad to say that there is indeed little wrong with this book.
This collection is a reprint of stories written by Gordon Rennie and drawn by Paul Jeacock and originally published in Warhammer Monthly. With the release of the new flyers obviously the time was right for a reprint.
The book isn’t the highest quality graphic novel out there but the magazine paper actually really suits the book, making it feel like a comic book. The other Black Library graphic novel that I own, Lone Wolves, is printed on glossier, heavier weight paper, but it’s a darker, heavier story.
Now, I have to confess that I’m a relative newcomer to Graphic Novels, like 40K, they’re something that I’ve only really discovered as a (technically) grown up, so I’ve never read any of the war comics that these stories are largely based on. However my father has had a lifelong obsession with anything mechanical that flies and the ability to watch the same old war films over and over again without getting bored, and so some of that knowledge has rubbed off on me. I therefore spent most of the time spent reading this book giggling to myself. Any book that manages to reference The Sinking of the Bismark, Dr Strangelove and Catch the Pigeon in a few short pages is guaranteed to be great fun (and I want Catch the Squigeon on a t-shirt!)!
The first three stories are a little crowded but the fourth story is drawn in a slightly different style so the pictures are much easier to follow, and they really show off the mad, orky brilliance of the book.
Deff Skwadron is only available to buy directly from Black Library and, apart from their obsession with sending everything out in really big boxes, their service is pretty good, the risk is that, having decided to buy one book, you end up looking at their other Direct Exclusives…
So if you want something to go with all those new Ork flyers, or just something fun to read, I really, really recommend this. It’s a nice relief from all the grim dark stuff and it’s good to see Orks as the heroes for once!