Commando Series – Log Of The Lairds

In the twenty-first century, story series have become relatively commonplace. Most fans will be familiar with the exploits of Jack Ramsey and the Ramsey’s Raiders series of stories. Convict Commandos and Eagles Of Battle are other modern examples of long-running series which will be familiar to many. However, although there are a small number of examples of recurring characters, the early days of Commando were notably absent of continuations.

It was not until the 1990s that the concept of a true series of stories was really embraced. While perhaps not as instantly recognisable to fans as Ramsey’s Raiders now is, The Bomb Gang was the first military unit to have their adventures serialised on the pages of Commando. This excellent five-part saga sported fabulous Ian Kennedy cover designs and worked reasonably well as standalone stories too, paving the way for future series attempts.

In 1993, hot on the heels of the trailblazing The Bomb Gang series, came another six-part serial collectively known as Log Of The Lairds. As with The Bomb Gang, established writer Alan Hemus was again the author. Alan was an army veteran and a prolific, and well-respected, writer for Commando and other DC Thomson titles. He is the creator of Sniper Dennison (later known as Sniper Kelly), having trained as a sniper while in the army.

Reading the stories, it is clear that Log Of The Lairds was always intended to be a serial, rather than a successful story that spawned sequels. There is an early capture of some gold which is stashed and then retrieved in a later edition, using information recorded in a journal. This is a generational story and this journal, the ‘Log of the Lairds’ is the thread that binds the stories together. Initially, this journal seems almost superfluous. The first story sees entries being made to the journal, almost as an afterthought, on just a couple of occasions. It is only in later stories, when information detailed in the journal proves invaluable to future generations of the Laird family, that its significance takes shape.

The opening story introduces us to a British agent, an officer by the name of Jason Laird, who has earned the loyalty and respect of local tribes. He is portrayed as a mysterious character and not an awful lot is revealed about his background or how he came to be operating in the area. He is known to them as ‘Dhiyab’, meaning ‘Wolf’.

One, perhaps surprising, element for a generational story is that the backdrop does not change. Rather than see the Laird family globetrotting from one war to the next over the generations, all these stories take place in the Middle East, particularly Iraq (or Mesopotamia) from fighting the Ottoman Turks in the First World War and right up to Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Ian Kennedy is once again the cover artist for all six installments, with Gordon Livingstone completing the interiors. This is pretty much the Commando A-Team of the time and perhaps indicates that DC Thomson were keen to see the concept of serials within Commando prove successful. The result is a great-looking and highly collectable series. The series was reprinted in 2007.

The summaries for the six stories are as follows:

Desert Wolf 2665/3998

An old diary dating from the First World War lies in front of you. Turn the key in the lock, smooth down the rumpled pages . . . begin to read the first entry made by the man they called the Desert Wolf. Now you’re about to discover the deepest secrets of “The Log Of The Lairds” – a battle book which tells of great courage and daring through war after savage war . . .

Return Of The Wolf 2677/3999

Again we turn the pages of “The Log of the Lairds”. The fierce desert battles of the First World War come to life as we follow the dangerous journeys of Jason Laird – the man known and feared as the Desert Wolf!

Son Of The Wolf 2685/4006

After the First World War, a kind of peace came to the desert – but not for long. When the Second World War erupted, the sounds of battle echoed again. Right in the thick of the action was the family of the Desert Wolf . . . and from the pages of the “Log of the Lairds” we take you back into the front line!

Wolf Patrol 2693/4007

As war again comes to the burning deserts of Arabia, the Laird family are pitched right into the thick of the action. Only the battle diary of old Jason Laird, the Wolf, stands between the Allies and a disastrous loss . . .

Wolf’s Gold 2701/4014

There are many secrets in the well-thumbed diary of the Laird family . . . and some of them were deadly!

Jason Laird, grandson of the famous Wolf, knew this . . . but still he went on a trek that could cost him his life!

Wolves At War 2709/4015

Operation Desert Storm, 1991. Again there is a war in the Middle East and two of the Laird family, even helped by the trusty battle diary, are in very deadly danger!

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