Characters Appearing: Captain America, Dino Manelli, Dum Dum Dugan LMD, Eric Koenig, Gabriel Jones, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Izzy Cohen, Mr. Fantastic, Nick Fury, Percy Pinkerton, Reb Ralston, Thing
Sgt. Fury & His Howling Commandos #100
Issue(s): Sgt. Fury & His Howling Commandos #100
The story begins as an overt celebration of the book's 100th issue...
...and ends with an aggressive civil rights message (or rather, anti-anti-civil rights message). One the first point, it's worth noting that there haven't actually been 100 stories in the Sgt. Fury series. Even though the book will continue to issue #119 with new material, it's been sporadically publishing reprints since issue #80. In fact this issue appears in between reprints of issues #33 and #34, and then issue #102 will have a new story, and then issue #103 will reprint issue #35. It almost seems like it was really a bi-monthly book with reprints coming in the other months, but it actually looks a little more random than that (for example, issue #82 is a reprint, then #83-84 are new material, and then #85 is a reprint). If i ever do decide to pick up the remaining issues in the series it looks like i will have to be very careful.
But on to the story. It takes advantage of the fact that Marvel comics exist in the Marvel universe, so it has the Howling Commandos reuniting to literally celebrate the publication of their 100th issue. Attending the event are some super-hero dignitaries...
...as well as members of the Marvel bullpen, including longtime artist Dick Ayers and current writer Gary Friedrich (who Nick Fury describes as looking like a "blasted Hippie").
For those who have an image of him in their heads based on his more recent appearances, it'll have to be pointed out that this shaggy man is Stan Lee:
And here's Martin Goodman's back:
Now on to the Howlers. Fury, Dum Dum, and Gab have been members of SHIELD pretty much since the beginning, and Eric Koening joined as a pilot recently. As for the others, Dino Manelli has gotten back into acting...
...and Robert "Reb" Ralston has gone into politics. He's a Representative from an unspecified southern state, a point that will be relevant to the plot.
We also see Izzy Cohen but it's not said what he's been up to.
The final Howler is Percy "Pinky" Pinkerton, who is shown with the group but we don't get an update for him.
Now for the plot. Two southern-twanged assassins (they will later be described as "rednecks") target Reb for his efforts in pushing Civil Rights legislation.
They hit Reb and flee.
The Howlers give pursuit, and commandeer some motorbikes from the Pink Ladies' Motor Brigade, apparently.
During the subsequent chase, Izzy wipes out on his bike, putting him on the critically injured list along with Reb. In this issue, you will believe a Stan can cry.
Nick Fury is the head of SHIELD at this point, so in addition to the aging Howlers we have SHIELD agents on hovercrafts.
An agent shoots one of the assassins and Nick Fury takes out the other one (which means the other Howlers don't really do much and, for that matter, what the heck happened to Captain America and the Fantastic Four?).
Immediately following that sequence, both injured Howlers have a miraculous recovery.
And the issue ends with, um, a Coke commercial.
Not... quite what i was expecting for a modern day Howlers appearance, but the upfront politics are definitely interesting. Friedrich's politics seems to have been a part of the series even in the WWII issues. The tagline of this comic, "The War Mag for People Who Hate War Mags" is mentioned both in-story (during the ceremony) and in the lettercol.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Unlike most Sgt. Fury issues, this one takes place at publication time, and it fits pretty well directly in its publication month. The MCP have Cap here between Captain America #148-149 (which is also the arc that shows that Erik Koening joined SHIELD) and the FF between Fantastic Four #125-126.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Ralston's career as a politician will be a plot point in future stories. (Heck, the poor man will get shot AGAIN, as you'll see "soon" when you get to 1990.)
Posted by: Michael | January 15, 2015 8:34 PM
That's Roy Thomas and Larry Lieber behind Captain America's hand in that one panel.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 16, 2015 4:51 PM
(Insert Mad Men joke here)
Posted by: Morgan Wick | June 6, 2015 1:15 AM
Stan Lee here looks a lot like Darrell Hammond's SNL impersonation of Sean Connery.
Posted by: Robert | March 9, 2016 9:05 PM
Dino Manelli panel alludes to The Dean Martin Show.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | February 23, 2018 2:08 PM
Comments are now closed.
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