Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos (Vol. 1) #13

Credits:

Cover Date: December 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“Fighting Side-By-Side With Captain America and Bucky!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

The Howling Commandos go behind enemy lines to help Captain America on a top-Secret mission.

Details:

  • While on a date with Pamela Hawley, Nick Fury observes Sgt. “Bull” McGiveney harassing a private.

  • Fury stands up for the private, and he and Bull start to fight. As McGiveney’s men prepare to help Bull, the rest of the Howlers show up and a full-on brawl follows.

  • Not long after, Captain America and Bucky are behind enemy lines on a secret mission. Captain America decides that he needs help completing the mission, and so he asks for the army to send the Howlers!

  • Back at base, Fury is confused by the request. He doesn’t know Cap, and thinks he isn’t a “real” soldier. However, the mission will please Happy Sam Sawyer, and give Fury a chance to outshine someone he sees as a costumed fame-seeker, so he accepts it.

  • As the Howlers head to the rendezvous point, they encounter significant resistance. Gabe gets hit by some shrapnel, so Izzy takes him to an extraction point. Then Dum-Dum and Dino are forced to hijack a tank to cause a diversion for the rest of the squad, and Percy has to stay behind to cover the remaining men as they hop on a train. Only Fury and Rebel Ralston are able to reach the meet-up spot.

  • They are supposed to meet Captain America on the train, but instead find themselves in a train car full of slave labor for the Nazis. In the car is the private Fury defended earlier, as well as a Hitler Youth member that speaks suspiciously good English.

  • When the train arrives at its destination, Fury and Rebel realize that the slave labor is for an enormous tunnel. The Nazis are digging a secret tunnel to invade England!

  • The suspicious Hitler Youth officer specifically pulls Fury’s private aside. Fury tries to slip the private a gun to defend himself, but is confused when the private refuses.

  • As Fury and Rebel come to grips with the magnitude of their immediate problem —- how can they stop this invasion? —- Captain America and Bucky arrive on the scene, blowing up part of the tunnel entrance behind them!

  • The costumes heroes quickly impress Fury with their skill and tenacity. Cap orders Fury and Rebel to escape while he and Bucky find (and use) a detonator to destroy the rest of the tunnel.

  • In the end, Fury and Rebel (oh, and the rest of the Howling Commandos they left behind) escape, but they don’t know the fate of Cap. All Fury knows is that Cap and Bucky impressed the hell out of him.

  • It turns out that Captain America and Bucky did survive. In fact, Bucky was that suspicious Hitler Youth on the train, and Cap was the private that Fury stood up for. That’s why Cap requested the Howling Commandos for this mission —- he liked their style, after watching them fight Bull McGiveney’s men.

Is It Good?

Yeah, this was fun. I liked seeing the Howling Commandos’ numbers thin throughout the story; with their brand of fighting, it feels like something that should happen a lot more often. I also liked the dramatic irony of Fury’s obliviousness to Cap’s civilian identity. Was it super-obvious to readers? Of course. But I think it was handled well from the characters’ perspectives.

Continuity:

  • This is the first time Captain America or Bucky has met Fury and the Howling Commandos.
  • Pamela Hawley last appeared in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #10.
  • Bucky Barnes last appeared in Avengers #4, in a flashback.
  • Sgt. “Bull” McGiveney last appeared in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #11.
  • Here’s the Kirby collage of the tunnel collapsing:

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Huzzah, pip pip, tally ho, and other British sounding things, wot?

  • I realize this is a typo, but I really like the idea of “jide” being 1940’s slang for “hide.”

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • Did you know that “hamfat” is a term derived from old-time minstrel shows? From what I can find online, it tends to be a negative term for talentless or mediocre performers, but that doesn’t really fit its usage here; Fury is talking about a British theater audience applauding the Captain America highlight reel.

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