Issue by Issue – Men of War #16

Writer – Jack C. Harris
Artist – Dick Ayers
Inker – Romeo Tanghal
Colours – Jerry Serpe
Letters – Ben Oda

In a book-length thriller, and thrill it does, Men of War #16 finds the hero of Code Name: Gravedigger a prisoner of the Nazis in northern Africa and specifically that of the man he was looking for nicknamed ‘The Man with the Opened Eye.’ Now, tied to the barrel of a German Tiger, Ulysses Hazard is all but done for unless he can somehow manage to get himself free before the British fire on the tank and kill him in the process. Thankfully, with the Germans firing shell after shell, it super-heats the barrel enough that the ropes holding Hazard are weakened and he is indeed able to get loose and in return, sabotages the Germans so that the Brits are able to destroy them. Once again the creative tour de force of Jack C. Harris, Dick Ayers and Romeo Tanghal craft a tale packed with action from cover to cover and sees the Gravedigger meet up with his British compatriots from Berlin and together, seek out the spy and Defense Packet 6, the plans needed by the German government. It is a race both across time and the desert and Hazard gets antsy, wanting to take his revenge upon the German Colonel that left him to die as a human shield. Eventually they lose the path, but in leaving behind a mine field, the Germans have sealed their own fate for the soldiers simply set off the mines and follow the trail, finally catching up to the Nazis and the agent with those very important papers. Harris fills the book with tension, so much so that one cannot help but race through the pages hoping to see Hazard catch up with his prey. There is one scene as drawn by Ayers that is absolutely thrilling and it sees the British crew buried beneath the sands with Hazard rising up from the ground like some creature of the undead, the Germans too stunned to do anything but be cut down by the man’s bullets. It is a just reward for the villains, but it all turns out to be for naught as the plans that Gravedigger was searching for had already been passed on to someone else. Additionally, the hero of the story goes through a bit of a cosmetic change as he now sports the sign of a cross above his nose, but below his forehead, that which suits him more than any other and signifies his former profession. At the end of the day, though there may not have been any backup tales this time around, the book and those that brought it to life did so in adventurous fashion, ultimately being a joy to read and making the reader want more when all was said and done.

4 out of 5

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