Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos (Vol. 1) #21


Cover Date: August 1965

Cover Artist: Dick Ayers

“To Free a Hostage”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Dick Ayers

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Dick Ayers

Inker: Carl Hubbell

What’s Going On?

The Howling Commandos have to go behind enemy lines to rescue some civilians.


  • During a training session, a remote-controlled explosive went off before Izzy triggered it. The Howling Commandos weren’t harmed, but the possibility of faulty equipment is something to be seriously investigated.

  • Captain Sawyer and Nick Fury decide to discuss the equipment with Dr. Zenish, the man who created the remote trigger. Zenish refuses to talk to them, claiming that he will no longer create weapons for the Allies in the war; he also heavily implies that his wife and daughter are captives of the Nazis.

  • With that, the Howling Commandos are sent behind enemy lines to rescue Zenish’s wife and daughter. After some hijinks that included Fury and Dino pretending to be SS officers, the Howlers finally get a lead on where Zenish’s family is being held.

  • They try the same trick —- posing as SS officers —- at the prison camp, but it doesn’t work twice. Instead, the Howling Commandos just attack and start a riot among the prisoners.

  • They find the daughter, but the wife died in the prison camp weeks earlier.

  • The Howlers free the prisoners, take the daughter, and head to their extraction point.

  • After fighting their way to the French coast, the Howling Commandos get back to their home base and reunite Zenish and his daughter. The scientist will now continue to create weapons of war for the Allies.

Is It Good?

It’s certainly not great, but it’s better than your average Sgt. Fury story. There were enough hitches in the Howlers’ plans to keep things interesting for the reader. Beyond that, though, this is more of a silly issue —- despite the presence of a prison camp —- than anything else.


  • This is the first appearance of Jacques “Frenchie” Dernier. He is not named in this issue, but he will appear a few more times as part of the French Resistance.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • I love that Nick Fury’s plan is to just snap his fingers and not speak to any Germans. It’s not a very good plan, but it appears to have made at least one Nazi Leader fall in love with him.

  • If Nick Fury doesn’t speak German, how did he know to punch this guy?

  • That’s probably not a prison teardrop tattoo…but it could be.

  • What happens to the freed prisoners after this? They’re still behind German lines, and the Howling Commandos certainly aren’t going to continue protecting them.

  • I like the implication that the French can only understand saving a woman in the context of love/lust. It’s dumb and condescending as hell, but I am really liking this French guy basically “wink-wink, nudge-nudge”-ing Fury about the girl, regardless of what Fury tells him.

  • Wait a minute…no one mentioned that his wife is dead! Zenish must have been the real killer, all along! Or…the script was a little careless. One or the other.

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • This is a reference to the song, “(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover,” which was a WWII-era hit for Vera Lynn.

  • It wouldn’t be an issue of Sgt. Fury without some phonetically-spelled accents.

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