Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos (Vol. 1) #8

Credits:

Cover Date: July 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky

“The Death Ray of Dr. Zemo!”

Writer: Stan Lee

Penciller: Dick Ayers

Inker: George Roussos

What’s Going On?

The Howling Commandos break in a new member on their way to stopping a Nazi mad scientist.

Details:

  • The Howlers have a new member, Percival Pinkerton.

  • Their first mission with the new guy is to go behind enemy lines and capture a Nazi scientist named Zemo.

  • On the mission, the Howlers encounter a Nazi tank, and Gabe takes it out by himself, in a risky maneuver.

  • Gabe caught some shrapnel in his leg, though. He tells Fury to go on without him, but the Howling Commandos don’t leave men behind!

  • At the nearest town, they find a German doctor and ask him to patch up Gabe. He initially refuses, but eventually agrees —- after Nick Fury threatens to blow up everyone in the room.

  • With Gabe healed, they continue on to find Dr. Zemo. When they infiltrate his castle base, though, it appears that they won’t be taking him by surprise.

  • It doesn’t take long for the Howlers to discover that Zemo has booby-trapped the entire castle, and is tracking them on video.

  • The Howling Commandos survive Zemo’s traps and eventually come face to face with the villain. When he tries to use his “death ray” on them, Rebel lassoed it away from him!

  • In the end, Zemo escaped and used a self-destruct mechanism to destroy his death ray; it didn’t matter to the Howling Commandos, though, because they returned to base safely after killing a whole bunch of Nazis.

Is It Good?

No, this is a pretty cheesy issue. This is the first Sgt. Fury without Jack Kirby, and he is sorely missed. While there is plenty of action, the story is oftentimes pretty dumb. I didn’t particularly like Dick Ayers’ pencils on this issue, but I guess I’ll have to get used to them; Ayers will eventually draw 95 issues of Sgt. Fury.

I like the idea of having a new member of the Howling Commandos, but I wonder how many jokes about Brits being effeminate I’ll have to deal with. I also liked the inclusion of a young Baron Zemo in this issue. The timing is a little odd, since he basically just debuted, but having Captain America or WWII-era villains pop up in this title is a solid idea.

Continuity:

  • This is the first appearance of Percival Pinkerton. He is a British soldier that somehow is assigned to the Howling Commandos.

  • Dr. Zemo is also known as Baron Heinrich Zemo, who made his debut in Avengers #6, also cover-dated July 1964. He has not had a mask glued to his face at this point.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • WWII soldiers apparently took and kept 8×10” portrait photos of their friends, and then framed the pictures and mounted them on the wall when they died. This is absolutely a true thing that definitely happened all the time.

  • I read this with the Metal Gear Solid alert noise.

  • Yes, I’m sure that’s a typical German soldier’s inner monologue.

  • Apparently, Dino drifts off to sleep thinking of the dying moans of Germans being blown apart by grenades.

  • It’s difficult to convey someone blinking in comics.

  • This might be the single worst plan I ever seen in a comic.

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • Man, they just won’t give up on Dum-Dum making the wife/mother-in-law jokes, will they?

  • I’m glad that Percy gives these guys a beat-down after these panels, but I would like it better if these gags were completely absent.

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