Capt. Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders #2-4
Issue(s): Capt. Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders #2, Capt. Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders #3, Capt. Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders #4
Savage himself has just been transferred in from the Navy...
...and he is having trouble getting the proper respect out of his group, particularly from 'Yaketty Yates' ("I still don't like takin' orders from no high-classed swabbie!"). However, Blarney Stone is referred to by the narrator as Savage's right hand man.
This issue gets deeper into pre-existing Marvel continuity by giving us the retroactive origin of Hydra.
The group is sent to investigate a submarine that has been attacking both Allied and Japanese ships. A similar crew of Japanese marines is sent on the same mission. And frankly, they've got the Leathernecks beat. I mean, no one in the Leathernecks has a comparable mustache to that guy on the far right.
They both wind up going dodging booby traps and making ethnically appropriate remarks.
And then they're all captured by Hydra, in its earliest incarnation.
Captain Savage and the Japanese captain are not captured but instead left to run through a deadly jungle together. Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker, having fled Germany due to his repeated failures, seems to think that if the two Captains survive the deadly jungle, he can recruit them into Hydra. Similarly, he has captured the rest of the two crews and separated them from their Captains with the purpose of recruiting them into Hydra as well. However, he has no real strategy for changing their loyalties as far as i can tell, and basically lets them watch their captains struggle through the jungle on the monitor once they escape from their prisons and confront him. Although he does dance for them a little. I know i'd pledge my loyalty to any leader with moves like that.
Issue four gives the origin of Hydra. Fleeing Hitler's Germany, Strucker joins the Japanese underground, which is forming a secret society with a goal to conquer the world. The group was Hydra, and Strucker quickly took over the organization.
He also recruited some of the world's best and most evilest scientists. That's it, really. Strucker's first target is Germany, so that he may have his revenge "on the madman who drove me from my home!". Not sure how that ties in to attacking random American and Japanese boats and making their crews fight through a booby trapped island, but we'll let that slide.
Despite a complete lack of trust or respect, the Leathernecks and the Japanese marines work together to defeat Hydra and get off the island before it explodes. Strucker also escapes. But he doesn't have the last laugh, since the costumes he designed are mocked in their very first appearance.
The art is slightly better than the Howlers series, either because Dick Ayers has gotten better over time or because he's not doing his own inking. The writing by Friedrich, however, is just as bad as Stan Lee's and it's missing that tongue in cheek humor.
There's a fairly large inconsistency between the end of issue two, where Savage and the Japanese captain agree to work together against Hydra, and the beginning of issue three where they are once again fighting with each other, presumably so that issue #3 can start off with some action.
At the very end of the series after both Captains show no signs of liking each other at all, suddenly they are very sad to part ways and hope that in the future they can be friends.
The constant use of the word 'nip', while historically accurate, seems a bit over done.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Strucker talks like Germany has not yet fallen so this is probably before V-E Day.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
poor baron strucker. even when he's not fighting nick fury, he's fighting nick fury.
capt. savage's leatherneck raiders seem like another distorted version of the howlers. there's the presence of a frenchman in their group. to me, the only explanation is because laroque is the counterpart to percy pinkerton. chief little bear as this group's token minority vs. the howler's gabriel jones.
at least they're not direct translations like when strucker made his blitz squad. oy.
Posted by: min | August 1, 2007 1:32 PM
It's interesting that the Japanese marines are presented as honorable opponents and future allies, considering that until now, and for years afterward in fact, Japanese characters in the Marvel modern era would be depicted as America-hating ultranationalists. Sunfire is one partially reformed example, but there are many more, such as Namor's foe Dragon-Lord and Iron Man' enemy Monster-Maker.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | September 29, 2012 1:11 AM
It's especially weird considering that the Japanese Army during World War II was notorious for its brutality while Japan has been a peaceful country since the end of the American occupation.
Posted by: Michael | September 29, 2012 9:11 AM
I've always thought that it was very odd that the origin of Hydra was first recounted in such an unusual place as this series. It took me quite some time to track down these back issues.
The backstory for Hydra established here was just referenced again in Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega, with the Red Skull referring to Hydra as having originally been brought back from the Far East by Baron Strucker.
Posted by: Ben Herman | May 1, 2016 9:02 PM
While I'm not sure if Marvel will ever do it, I wouldn't mind seeing this series collected in an omnibus or Masterworks or some sort of TPB format. I also think Garth Ennis should take a crack at chronicling the good captain and his band of jarheads, much as he did at DC with the Enemy Ace, as well as Marvel's own WW1 ace the Phantom Eagle and the post-WW2, CIA agent Nick Fury in the MAX miniseries "Fury: My War Gone By".And while I certainly concur with fnord's dismay (and anyone else's, for that matter) at the generous helping of the pejorative "nip", we should be thankful that Ayres and Shores spared the readers the renderings of Japanese soldiers with exaggerated overbites and granny glasses.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 4, 2017 5:49 PM
Piggybacking off a comment I made for SGT. FURY #1, had Marvel not had long-term goals for Fury, Strucker, SHIELD and HYDRA, the Baron could have ended up the equivalent of the Iron Major, the recurring arch-nemesis of DC's Sgt. Rock.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 19, 2017 7:46 PM
According to Wikipedia's page of this series, there were plans to spin off this series with one that would concentrate on Savage's time as a submarine commander, to be called "Captain Savage and the Silent Service", so initial sales were pretty good on this series. However, the series was cancelled after 19 issues due in no small part to the anti-Vietnam War sentiments of the time. It would have been interesting to see how the comics medium would capture the atmosphere of the life of a submarine crew. There have been a number of submarine-based films over the years, but hands down the greatest, IMHO, was 1982's DAS BOOT (The Boat), which, correct me if I'm wrong, is still the highest-grossing German-language to be made. The film would also lead the way for director Wolfgang Petersen to stake out a successful career helming Hollywood box-office smashes (among them AIR FORCE ONE and IN THE LINE OF FIRE), as well as giving international exposure to its leading man, Jurgen Prochnow.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 26, 2017 9:11 PM
Should have said "highest-grossing German-language FILM to be made".
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 26, 2017 9:13 PM
And yet Nick Fury has appeared in more superhero movies than anybody except Tony Stark, Professor X and Wolverine. So much for CPT Savage.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 27, 2017 12:02 AM
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