From the start we know we are in for a misdirect. It is more likely that no one is a traitor nor does an Howler Desert and I am glad to know as I read the story, the truth of the ‘why’ is not kept from the reader even if it is kept from the majority of the cast. This story starts out with a V-1 “Buzz bomb” attack, and our hero’s scramble to save civilians before saving themselves.
After the attack the howlers are sent on a mission to find the launch site, a task that proves a greater challenge then expected for our hero’s. It is then that Sgt. Fury orders Dino to defect. Among the enemies Fury figures Dino will be able to find the launch site and finish the mission on time. Unfortunately, before Fury reveals this to the other commands Fury himself finds himself captured.
Even with the mission a success, as Dino finds his way back to base, he is viewed as an traitor and faces execution by the firing squad, as we watch Fury perform his own escape and trip hope, hopefully in time to save the doomed commando.
I have to give credit to Stan Lee and Dick Ayers for the story of this issue, I was worried when I read the subtitle , but in the end I was left impressed. Instead of them leaving the readers in the dark, we are with Dino and Fury all the way, and able to root for our misjudged hero. We also get to witness the feeling of betrayal by the commandos from the complete perspective that they are wrong.
The other thing I want to commend the story on, like others in the series is sprinking in truths and not leaning just on comic book fiction. instead of going to stop the launch site of a fake comic book super-weapon our hero’s take on something that was quite real during World War II.
Dick Ayers captures the dangers, the darkness of war quite well in this issue from the blinding explosions to the silhouettes in the dark. Some of this may be a credit to the coloring work that was later done; but in my mind it was the direction given by the original line art.
Characters & Development
the commandos need to trust each other, and in this issue it is challenged. reading how they take the possibility of betrayal, how they need to believe what they seen but on some level feel doubt is deep and quite believable.
Originality & Continuity
This issue stands strong on its own, needing none of what came before; something that was generally a key comic principal for the time; any issue might be someone’s first. But it is important that it can still fit in with the narrates told around it, and it does. It also fits well with the narrative of the war, even with creative liberties taken. I feel it serves as a fine (stand alone) example of the series thus far.