Issue by Issue – Combat Kelly and His Deadly Dozen #5

Writer – Gary Friedrich
Artist – Dick Ayers
Inker – Vince Colletta
Colours – Jean Porter
Letters – Jean Izzo

Gary Friedrich and Dick Ayers open up the latest issue of Combat Kelly, now with a slight title change from ‘The’ to ‘His’ Deadly Dozen and it sees the team going through training exercises and after eight straight hours of them, the guys are just a little tired. Unlike the previous issues, this particular one focuses upon three members of the Dozen, namely Doc Watson, Howard Shigeta and Laurie Livingston. While it begins in the present, it finds the three companions looking back into the past when they were all prisoners of the Nazis upon a rock called Devil’s Island. It was not an easy time as Shigeta and Doc were beaten down regularly, not to mention all of those they were interred with who would suffer the same fate and Laurie whom the base commander had taken an interest in, something she wants no part of. All of it equals an existence that cannot last and everyone from the Nazi soldiers down to each and every prisoner knows it and so a plan born out of desperation is made. Most think Laurie a traitor, everyone believing that she was betraying them in order to make her stay easier than others, but being raped by the enemy is not something she is keen to experience and the plan is in part, hers. So it is that things are put in motion and with Laurie’s help, Doc Watson and Shigeta along with all of the other prisoners make a break for it, the Nazis doing all they can to stop the breakout. Suffice it to say, the Germans are unable to stop the prisoners as they know if they do not succeed, death is all but guaranteed. Friedrich writes a thrilling tale, one filled with suspense and incredible tension at times, most of it involving Laurie and what she has to do in order to facilitate the escape. Ayers is as incredible as ever when he puts pencil to page and the book looks fantastic, his pictures melding perfectly with Friedrich’s story, together making the fifth issue of this title one of the best.

4 out of 5

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