“Seven Doomed Men”
Cover Date: July 1963
Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Scripter : Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Dick Ayers
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers
What’s Going On?
After taking out a heavily guarded Nazi submarine base by themselves (more or less), the Howling Commandos were looking forward to some rest and relaxation. They don’t get any. They are immediately sent to sabotage the Nazi nuclear weapons project, by any means necessary.
Is It Good?
This is something else, I tell ya. The gleeful destruction and the incredibly high (off-panel, but implied) death toll feels very out of place when you consider the superhero comics Marvel was publishing at the same time. At times, the characters act like cartoon characters, only with machine guns. It’s a little entertaining, but it definitely feels disposable.
- The Commandos are given the order to prevent the Nazis from using a “heavy water” shipment, by any means necessary.
- Remarkably, Dum-Dum manages to get captured here, instead of killed.
- When it comes to choosing between saving Dum-Dum and completing the mission, Dum-Dum comes first.
- After rescuing Dum-Dum, the Commandos figure out that there is a concentration camp very close to where the Nazi nuclear project is. Since they don’t have their own transportation, they surrender; they are then transported to the camp.
- Not surprisingly, the Commandos manage to arm themselves, defeat the guards, and free the concentration camp.
- The Commandos were able to destroy the “hard water” before it could be used to develop nuclear weapons. Mission: accomplished.
- Happy Sam Sawyer is the first person that successfully admonishes Fury.
- Dum-Dum apparently has a wife back home. He doesn’t say nice things about her.
- We’ve got pin-ups!
Comics Are Goofy:
- The Howling Commandos are famous enough for random Germans to immediately suspect them when something outrageous happens.
- Also, I love that the Germans are all speaking heavily-accented English in this issue.
- Why is Gabe blowing his horn instead of firing his gun here? This seems like a “fire your weapon” moment to me.
- Not pictured: a Tex Avery-style double take, followed by Fury shooting him in the face.
- I love the Nazi who, until this very moment, was not convinced that the Germans were the Master Race.
- I am going to go ahead and say that this is the only Gene Autry reference you’ll ever find in a Marvel Comic.
- 1963: a time where smoking cessation was a cheap joke, and not a multimillion dollar industry.
- Stan’s handle on facts is tenuous, at best.
- There is a pin-up if guns used in WWII. It may seem bizarre to the modern eye that this was included in a comic aimed at kids, but the context makes it even weirder. The Comic’s Code was still important enough to prevent Marvel and DC from printing horror or crime comics in this era, but gun porn is okay? Only in America!