Writer – David Michelinie, Robert Kanigher
Artist – Ed Davis
Inker – Romeo Tanghal, Juan Ortiz
Colours – Jerry Serpe
Letters – Milt Snapinn
In the lead story called Code Name: Gravedigger, written by David Michelinie and drawn by Ed Davis, it stars a man named Ulysses Hazard and for the moment, that is a pretty apt title as that is exactly what the man does. It irks Hazard because he knows that he is better than this, even though someone has to do it and the only thing that is holding him back is the colour of his skin, born a black man instead of white. Due to that fact, he is assigned to jobs in the army that few would want to do, but he does them without complaint in the hopes that he will get called up for something greater. Fate intercedes and he and his men save some people from the Nazis, his superiors swoop in and refuse to acknowledge his contributions and heroism after he foolishly believes his time has come. When not long after his friend is killed after being attacked and that is the last straw and he means to be the soldier he was always meant to be no matter what it takes. The second tale presented within features ‘The Hammer of Hell’ himself, German pilot Enemy Ace and it is a story slightly different than the norm as Robert Kanigher injects a little of the supernatural, or at least so it would seem, into the proceedings. After being attacked by one of his own and having his goggles shattered due to a bullet meant for him, Rittmeister Hans Von Hammer uses those of his assailant as he goes into battle and he finds that the opponent he faces is not the normal kind of foe he is used to facing. By the end of it, Kanigher has given Von Hammer a little something to think about and quite possibly, something to fear. Both stories are quite excellent, the first taking place during the Second World War and the second during the First with two wildly different characters on different sides and yet, they share one thing in common, that being an innate drive to be the best at what they do and doing as such for what they believe in. Ulysses Hazard is a very interesting figure and not the usual type of hero to lead a book, especially one of DC’s wartime titles and that in itself being intriguing enough to continue reading the series after this first issue. Michelinie also gives the man an origin tale, one filled with obstacles the young Hazard would eventually overcome through hard work and perseverance and he would then face one final roadblock with his current situation, one if the finale is anything to go by, will mark a turning point in the man’s life. As for Von Hammer, the man is always a joy to read as he takes to the skies and thanks to the pencils of Ed Davis, the man makes him look incredible. Overall a strong showing is given by those involved proving that Men of War deserves its place amongst other great books like Star Spangled War Stories and Our Fighting Forces to name but two.
4 out of 5