Cover Date: November 01, 1965
Cover Artists: Dick Ayers
“When the Howlers Hit the Home Front!”
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 get some well-deserved time off —- and still wind up fighting Nazis!
- The Howling Commandos are given a two-week furlough, and sent to America to make sure they actually take the time off.
- Once they arrive stateside, the team mostly sticks together. They eat with Izzy’s family…
- …and visit Gabe’s uncle’s jazz club, where Gabe joins the band onstage…
- …and visit a USO club for servicemen. There, Dino arranged for the Commandos to meet a bunch of his Hollywood buddies.
- Meanwhile, Rebel traveled back to Kentucky to spend time with his family. When Fury calls to check in, though, Rebel seems a bit odd. There’s a reason for that, though —- someone was holding him at gunpoint during the conversation!
- Rebel managed to pass a coded message to Fury on the call, so the Howling Commandos headed to Kentucky to help their friend.
- Sure enough, when they arrive at Rebel’s home, the Commandos are ambushed by Nazis.
- The Nazis were holding the Ralston family hostage in an attempt to learn about and/or sabotage the Manhattan Project.
- Naturally, the Howlers kick some Nazi butt and save the day. Dum-Dum is injured in the fight, but not seriously.
- After the fight, the Army interrupts their holiday with new orders to return to Europe. So, they’re back on the job, but presumably Dum-Dum will miss the action while he heals.
Is It Good?
It’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, I was pleasantly surprised with the first act of the issue, with the Howlers just having fun.
The rest, with the Nazis trying to learn state secrets by holding a seemingly random farm couple hostage who just happened to be the parents of a Howling Commando, is pretty dumb. It’s a bad plan (for starters, the Manhattan Project’s site in that area was in Tennessee, not Kentucky), and they somehow decide to wear Nazi uniforms while they engaged in espionage in the US. Rebel’s parents don’t even have anything to do with the Manhattan Project. It makes absolutely no sense.
The ending is weird, too. They just pawn off Hans on Rebel’s parents, rather than have a story where they return him to his father in the Netherlands. That would seem like a very plausible plot to go with, and it could provide some decent emotional beats for the Rootens, but I guess that’s not happening now.
- Adolf Hitler last appeared in Tales of Suspense #67.
- Team mascot Hans Rooten last appeared in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #20; he still wishes he could go into battle with the Howling Commandos.
- I’m not sure who all of these celebrities are supposed to be. In the left panel, it looks like we have Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope, and Groucho Marx. In the right panel, there is Bing Crosby, but I can’t tell who the redhead behind him is supposed to be. The GCD identifies the cranky fellow to the right of Bing as Glenn Miller, but he definitely had a Midwestern accent; I’ll defer to their judgement, but it seems strange to have him say “begorra” with a straight face.
- If that is Glenn Miller, this story takes place before October 1942. Miller enlisted in the Army Air Forces Band at that time, and would have been abroad after that.
- Rebel’s family appears to be pretty rich.
- Hans Rooten will leaves the Howling Commandos to spend the rest of the war with the Ralston family. How legal is it for an US Army squad to give custody of a Dutch child to an American civilian family?
Comics Are Goofy:
- Father Cohen has realistic dialogue:
- Stan sure has his pulse on the youth of America through the decades.
- I just cannot get over Stan Lee’s love of shitting on youth culture. I get it with the beatniks and hippies because he was an older man then, but he’s not even portraying these zoot suiters as draft dodgers —- he just doesn’t like them.
- With his thick accent and nickname, you’d think “Rebel” Ralston would come from a proud Confederate family. They don’t mention the family history in this issue (what are they going to say, “slave owners are aces with us”?), but it’s worth pointing out that over 75% of Kentuckian Civil War soldiers fought on the Union side. There’s a good chance that Rebel is just an unlikable person.
- Is Adolf Hitler the voice of reason in this scene?!?
Well, That Aged Poorly:
- “Ouah”? God, I hate Rebel’s accent.
- Dum-Dum doesn’t like his mother-in-law. Get it? It’s 1960s humor!