Cover Date: November 1964
Cover Artist: Dick Ayers
“When a Howler Turns Traitor!”
Plotters: Stan Lee, Dick Ayers
Scripter: Stan Lee
Penciller: Dick Ayers
Inker: George Roussos (credited as George Bell)
What’s Going On?
When a mission falls apart behind enemy lines, Nick Fury instructs one of his men to defect to help complete the mission. But when Fury is captured, how will the Howling Commandos know that the defection wasn’t sincere?
- The Howlers are tasked with finding the German factory that is pumping out V1 “buzz bombs,” and tagging it so the Allies can bomb it.
- The plan seems simple enough. Sneak behind enemy lines, and then set a fire large enough for the bombers to see it.
- When they get to the spot that military intelligence has triangulated as the launch point for the bombs, the Howling Commandos find an empty stretch of railroad. Where could the factory be?
- While they were searching for the factory, Nazis found the Howlers and attacked. Realizing that they can’t continue to fight and search for a hidden factory at the same time, Nick Fury comes up with a plan. He tells Dino to fake a defection to the Axis side, so he can (hopefully) learn the factory’s secret.
- The Nazis are fooled by Dino’s act and accept his defection.
- It doesn’t take him long to learn the secret of the bomb factory: it’s located in train cars, and is moved along the railroad!
- Dino is able to sneak away (well, he knocks out some Nazis) and boards the train with the bombs. He successfully attaches a radio beacon so the Allied bombers can locate the train.
- The bombing run was successful, but Dino was still stuck behind enemy lines. Worse, Nick Fury was captured by Nazis, and the rest of the Howling Commandos returned back to England. When Dino manages to sneak back into Allied territory, no one believes that his defection was an act!
- Dino is convicted of treason and set to be executed by firing squad.
- Luckily, Nick Fury escapes from his prison camp and made his way back to base just in time to clear Dino’s name.
Is It Good?
It’s fine for what it is. This title is just an excuse for romance-free machismo, and this issue adds a new (but not exactly shocking) wrinkle to their usual story. Nothing special, but nothing offensively bad, either.
- Gabe uses his Bugle for strategic purposes during battle. This is the first time any legitimate explanation for him carrying his horn around in battles has been offered.
- We have a Nick Fury pin-up from Dick Ayers! If he’s parachuting into battle, why is his uniform already tattered?
Comics Are Goofy:
- What is the benefit of not letting the other Howlers in on Dino’s fake defection? It’s not like the Germans are face-to-face with them. Why is it important for them to react naturally?
- I mean…you could ask them who set up the successful bombing run. If it wasn’t them, then it was either Dino or Fury, right? That seems like a good place to start!
- That is a surprisingly generous attitude toward being executed. “I can take dying for a stupid reason. Why not?”
- In other words, you didn’t plan this issue very well. It’s not like they ran out of space for the story, either; this issue had a pin-up to use up the last page!
Well, That Aged Poorly:
- “Soldiah”?!? Come on, Stan, that’s not a Southern accent! That is something you came up with in a fever dream.
- Dino’s speech really should have an American flag waving behind it, and the Budweiser Clydesdales in the background. (I’m saying that it sounds like very natural dialogue, and certainly not a base appeal to nationalism.)
- Man, I can’t wait until Marvel stops “translating” foreign dialogue into broad stereotypes. I think I only need to wait…what, 25, 30 years?