Monday, December 26, 2011

"The End" Week: Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #167!

The end is the beginning is the end for this book: Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #167, "Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos!" Written by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Dick Ayers. This was a 1981 reprint of 1963's Sgt. Fury #1, and the last issue of the 1974 reprint series. Even though war comics went on a sharp downturn in the 80's, this cancellation was merely one of several reprint books that got the ax. Books like Fantasy Masterpieces and my beloved Marvel Super Action would be quietly phased out, the Hulk reprints in Marvel Super-Heroes would end the next month, leaving only Marvel Tales. Sgt. Fury may be the only one to get as much as a "Last Issue Special!" blurb.

Even though this story was the first full-length Fury from Stan and Jack, it's set just before D-Day. I would've thought they would start earlier in the war, then work their way there, but oh well. And it reads like just about every other Sgt. Fury story: Nick and the Howling Commandos are given an impossible, suicide mission. They are back before lunch, usually after punching several Nazis, and Nick's shirt spontaneously shreds itself. Also, even though we've got Nick shooting out of an airplane's window, a parachuting Dum-Dum Dugan taking out a German plane with a hand grenade, and a stereotypical German officer with monocle; what really pulled me out of this issue was the forty minutes or so I spent wondering if "Molotov cocktail" would've been part of the vernacular in 1944.

Still, while I enjoy the occasional Marvel war or western book, they really don't hold up against DC's offerings like Sgt. Rock or Jonah Hex. But, I'd rather go into battle with Nick and Dum-Dum than Rock and Bulldozer. You could parlay that into a cool S.H.I.E.L.D. gig after the war...

No comments: