Issue by Issue – Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen #4

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

With a part of the story taking place in Sgt. Fury’s book, it picks right back up here and finds Combat Kelly and his men along with the Howling Commandos in a bit of trouble, namely trying to fend off the German army. Gary Friedrich and Dick Ayers also give the heroes another threat in the form of a Captain who has let fear overcome him which in turn has led him to make some questionable decisions. It finally comes to the attention of each group’s respective leader, that being Kelly and Fury and they decide that they have to take matters into their own hands if they are to survive the day, much less accomplish the mission. One of the more dangerous things to be associated with in battle is cowardice as it can get you killed and the men know that, so much so that when it comes to Captain Conner who has seemingly lost his mind, Fury takes over command with everyone’s blessing. Ayers lays down a lot of action throughout the book, men and tanks firing everywhere in what seems to be chaos and it looks incredible. Under Fury’s leadership, the men beat back the Germans successfully by the end of the book and though they try their very best, it does not come without a couple of losses. The first is Larry Wagner, better known as Hillbilly and the second is Michael Miller, more commonly referred to Bullseye. When it comes to the latter, there was a possibility of him being saved, but Captain Conner who is essentially manic at this point leaves him for dead. By the end of the tale, Friedrich brings Conner back onto the battlefield, the man ignorant of what just went on and only thinking of Fury and Kelly who have committed mutiny and whom he intends to execute. As in all things relating to the war, if there is one constant it is the unpredictability of it all and Bullseye ends up killing Conner before he can bring about his executions. It is both a powerful and sad ending, but one that finds what remains of the Deadly Dozen and the Howling Commandos standing tall, knowing the truth between them even if it should never see the light of day anywhere else.

4 out of 5

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