Comics

Issue by Issue – Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen #3

Writer – Gary Friedrich
Artist – Dick Ayers
Inker – Mike Esposito
Letters – Jean Izzo

At some point, readers had to know that it would happen and so in this third issue, Gary Friedrich and Dick Ayers delve into the origin of Combat Kelly and just how it is that he got his name. As established in the first issue of the series, Kelly was a boxer at one point in time and it is here that readers get to see some of that period in his life. It finds Kelly in a match, one where he is sure to win and he knows it, but as the match goes on, he knows that something is wrong. The man Kelly faces is not alright, there is something wrong with him and no matter how much Kelly hits him, the man continues to get up each and every round. As time passes, Kelly wants nothing more to do with the match and at one point, he and his manager even try to stop it all to no avail. Finally, in the tenth, Kelly knocks his opponent out and as it turns out, it is a permanent condition. Charged with the man’s murder Kelly is headed to prison, but there is still one more match he needs to have even though he just killed a man. As the war has just broken out and all, the creative team decide to bring in the Germans and they do so in the form of Kelly’s new opponent. Said Germans want Kelly to take a fall to which Kelly refuses. The match is going to be country against country, patriotism and pride on the line and as the Germans are dead-set on winning, they ‘soften’ Kelly up a bit with a few broken ribs before the fight is to begin. Knowing he cannot sit this one out, Kelly goes in anyway and by some chance or miracle, he manages to come out on top. Friedrich tells a captivating story, all of it from Kelly’s point of view and Ayers brings it all to life in the squared circle, the drama and the action playing out in spectacular fashion. All of this meanwhile, is taking place as Kelly and the Deadly Dozen are in the midst of battle, taking a breather as they try to avoid the Nazis. As the book ends, it is left with a caption telling the reader that the story will continue in Sgt. Fury’s title which is all right – if that book is one that readers collect. It is not a bad thing, but it might leave potential readers in the cold and is the only thing one might call a misstep with this book.

4 out of 5

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