Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Classics - Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #35

   Early in its run, the war comic Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos (how I love that title) broke the rules - in the second issue, one of the Commandos - Junior Juniper - was killed in combat.

   As far as I know, he's never been brought back from the dead, making him the exception to the rule.

   You might expect a higher death rate, but aside from hordes of German soldiers, there were very few deaths in this title - and no other Howlers were cut down until this issue.

   Written by Roy Thomas (and he earned his pay - there's a ton of wordage in this issue. It was the style at the time), this is a rare continued story for this comic.

   In the previous issue the Howlers were captured, with only Nick Fury escaping - so it's time for a rescue.

   His team is being moved to Berlin to allow Adolf Hitler to supervise the death of the squad, so Fury must rush to their rescue, aided by his ally / enemy, Sgt. Bull McGivney (the verbal sparring between the two was always entertaining).

   The team is also aided by Eric Koenig, a German who has decided to fight against the Nazis - no doubt an effort to show that not all Germans were monsters. What follows is a far-fetched action romp, with the usual over-the-top dialogue.

   But what sets this issue apart (aside from the face-to-face encounter with Hitler) is that a Howler is actually injured seriously and spends quite some time out of action.

   It was a shocking turn of events, and it cleared the way for the addition of a new Howler - a great way to infuse some new dynamics into the team.

   The art for the issue is by Dick Ayers and John Tartaglione, and they do a terrific job squeezing all those characters and all that action and story into a single issue - this would take at least six issues worth of modern comics to cover.

   I love this series - it's loaded with action, great characters and tons of humor. It may seem like an odd combination for a comic about war, but it was a formula that worked to perfection.

   (By the way, I trust that I'm not the only one disappointed about the fact that the Howlers weren't part of the recent war movie named Fury. At least they were in the first Captain America movie.)

Grade: A-


No comments: