Writer – Roger McKenzie, Cary Burkett
Artist – Dick Ayers, Jerry Grandenitti
Inker – Romeo Tanghal
Colours – Jerry Serpe, D. R. Martin
Letters – Ben Oda, Milt Snapinn
With a new story and a new writer in Roger McKenzie, Ulysses Hazard – Code Name: Gravedigger has a new mission and it finds him parachuting into the French hamlet of Touborne, one that also happens to be occupied by the Nazis. McKenzie does not miss a beat in the telling of this tale and he slips in a little suspense and a couple of thrills to go along with the action that is immediately present. The mission involves burying the village beneath a ton of ice and snow, but the intelligence Hazard received was faulty and the civilians who should have been absent are still present and that is a problem that Gravedigger has to solve before the timer on the bomb he set runs out. What follows is a confrontation with the Germans, one that sees a little killing take place and a desperate plea to the inhabitants of the town before there is no more town. While his words would fall on deaf ears, Gravedigger’s plan would work out, though not without casualties. The second feature of the book is another instalment of Dateline: Frontline by Cary Burkett and Jerry Grandenitti, who continue to chronicle the adventures of news reporter Wayne Clifford. Clifford for his part is still frustrated with not being able to write the stories he wants to write, pieces that tell the average reader the truth of what is happening in London and not the fluff that usually makes it into the newspaper, as inspiring and hopeful as they might be. To that effect, Burkett sends his leading man into the darkness once again, right before the German raids begin, into the underground train stations to see just what happens when the siren starts. Burkett and Grandenitti paint a dismal picture, one that pulls at the heartstrings as their story is laced with truth, though fiction this tale might be. Clifford is at first repulsed, but it is momentary as he finds what he sees heartbreaking and he can do nothing but help as the bombs start to fall. Both stories in this book could not be more different, but each of them includes the loss of innocent life at the hands of the Nazis, though different means were used. While the first was filled with action and excitement, the second was a source of powerful drama, the two striking a good balance in the fifth issue of this book. Gravedigger might be more of a conventional hero, but news reporter Wayne Clifford is just as much a hero as the other. All of that and a striking cover by Joe Kubert to top it off.
4 out of 5