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One and Done – The Losers Special #1

Robert Kanigher – Writer
Judith Hunt, Sam Glanzman – Artists
Michael Esposito – Inker
Jerry Serpe – Colours
Gaspar Saladino – Letters

There comes a time when all things must come to an end and so it is with The Losers whose final battle as depicted by Robert Kanigher, Judith Hunt, Sam Glanzman and Mike Esposito does so in this issue. In a story entitled Losers Die Twice, the team starts things off in the midst of battle and even then, it is hard for them not to think back and reflect on the events of their lives as those who are in conflict are more often wont to do, the possibility of them losing their life at any given moment a stark reality. It begins with Capt. Storm, the leader of the band and it sees him as the captain of his PT boat, of how it was destroyed and of how he lost his leg. Rehabilitated with a new limb, he gained command of another ship and yet, despite his best efforts, that too was destined for failure and so, being the last man alive, he would give up the sea when coming across the Haunted Tank to join it in a new mission which would end up being the beginning of a new ragtag team of ‘losers.’ Kanigher flips between past and present effortlessly and moves the story into the origin tale of Sarge, Gunner and Pooch, two men and a heroic dog who have been through it all. Pooch and the men would go on many missions with the dog, best friend to Gunner, finally winning over Sarge with his fearlessness and when the worst happens and they lose their company to a minefield, they join up with Capt. Storm and the Haunted Tank for that fateful first mission. As for Johnny Cloud, his tale finds him joining a new squadron of fighters in the Eto, yet his C.O. will not let him fly. A day arrives though where he can either sit back and let fate take its course or he can take it into his own hands and change it which he does, saving the lives of many men and proving those wrong who doubted him. All of this leads to the current mission where Kanigher and company have the men on a mission to take out some rockets with info provided by Sgt. Rock. They do that and the result fills the air with thick smoke which provides the Nazis with a chance to attack the heroes. The first to fall is Sarge though he keeps fighting, his friends and comrades depending on him with Capt. Storm sacrificing his life to prevent a grenade from killing them all. After Storm dies, so too does Sarge giving one last handshake to Pooch before an airstrike rains death down upon them all. Pooch and Gunner die, the dog within his arms, a scene so powerful that it brings tears to the eyes with credit going to the team for writing and drawing something so moving. Finally and last to depart the Earth is Johnny Cloud who prays to the Great Spirit to keep his family together in death as they were in life upon the field of battle. While they might have started out as losers – at least in their own minds, Kanigher and those who worked on this book would do a great job at giving these men and their dog a send-off not to be forgotten as The Losers would die as heroes, closing the chapter on this book quite definitively. It was not a happy ending but not everyone gets that happy ending and if they could not have that, this was the next best thing.

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