Issue by Issue – Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen #1

Writer – Gary Friedrich
Artist – Dick Ayers
Inker – Jim Mooney
Letters – Shelly Leferman

Spinning out of Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos comes Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen, a title no doubt inspired by the feature film The Dirty Dozen released five years previous. The premise is similar – fight for the United States in the war and win your release, otherwise rot in jail for the crimes you were sent there for. So on one hand, the men can choose a slow, agonizing death behind bars or the possibility of being a free man should they live to tell about it. The choice is an obvious one and writer Gary Friedrich, despite following the same basic premise of the movie, does a great job of introducing this cast of characters, some of whom appeared in the aforementioned Sgt. Fury title and one Jay Little Bear who had previously been seen in Captain Savage and His Leatherneck Raiders. As for Combat Kelly, this is not the same Combat Kelly who had previously appeared in the Marvel Universe, but a new version, a man who had been sent to prison and like the rest of the cast, given a chance to prove himself by carrying out some daring missions or risk going back to hard labour. So it is that the story finds Dum Dum Duggan giving up command of this little band to the man named Combat Kelly, the introduction of the members, one of which is a woman and whom Kelly absolutely disagrees with, as well as their first mission which is to blow up an experimental Nazi plane and bring back the scientist who created it. It seems simple enough and as the team carries out their mission, all goes well for the most part with Ace Hamilton’s true nature coming to the surface, the man being a true killer and then murdering the unarmed German scientist instead of following his orders. It is a shocking moment and it is exactly what this first issue needed to set itself apart from other war titles and bring the readers back for the next issue to see just where this little sub-plot is going to go. Dick Ayers and Jim Mooney do a great job at bringing it to life and the book looks fantastic as the Dozen complete their mission and manage to live for at least another day.

4 out of 5

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