Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos (Vol. 1) #20

Credits:

Cover Date: July 1965

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Frank Giacoia

“The Blitz Squad Strikes”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Dick Ayers

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Dick Ayers

Inker: Frank Giacoia (credited as Frank Ray)

What’s Going On?

The Howling Commandos are sent in a mission to take down Baron Strucker and his Blitz Squad.

Details:

  • Baron Strucker and his Blitz Squad have landed in Scotland and taken over an Allied base. Their objective was to free some Luftwaffe pilots that were imprisoned there, but the base (which was in a castle) was quickly surrounded by the British, so they have taken the base’s soldiers hostage as they try to negotiate their way out.

  • Naturally, the Howling Commandos are sent to defeat the Blitz Squad. They sneak into the castle easily enough, and start kicking Nazi butt.

  • It doesn’t take long for them to reach the Blitz Squad and, not surprisingly, they’re pretty good at fighting those guys, too.

  • In the end, it becomes a Fury vs. Strucker fistfight. Fury wins, and the Blitz Squad is captured.

Is It Good?

No, it’s not. I had high hopes when this issue opened with Baron Strucker, but I was underwhelmed. Baron Strucker and his Blitzkreig Squad gave the Howling Commandos no more trouble than any other Nazis. The entire point of the Blitz Squad was to have the Nazi equivalent of the Howling Commandos, which would imply that the two squads are evenly matched. Apparently not! That made the story predictable and boring; the parts that weren’t dull were inappropriately goofy, as Dick Ayers drew some bizarre fight scenes in this issue.

Continuity:

  • Baron Strucker and his Blitz Squad last appeared in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #14.
  • Sgt. Bull McGiveney last appeared in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #18.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • This is a great line from Bull McGiveney. Fury does seem to be wearing rags at the end of every mission. This is the right amount of self-awareness for this era of comics.

  • Also, Fury definitely rips his shirt later in this issue.

  • Uh, Captain Sawyer, this is where you’re supposed to say that Fury is too emotionally involved to lead the mission, not “You’ve got a blood feud? Well, good luck!”

  • This is not a recommended battle technique.

  • The dialogue bubbles in the second panel are basically saying, “Remember, the good guys can’t kill the bad guys because of the Comics Code *wink, wink*”

  • This is the most pathetic Nazi ever.

  • Yes, there is plenty of time to discuss things while someone tosses a grenade.

  • Shouldn’t Fury be listing definitive American victories? Valley Forge wasn’t a battle, Americans didn’t win the Alamo, and the Marne (while a victory) led to years of useless trench warfare.

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • Phonetic spelling continues to be the worst thing about this comic.

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