Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #25, Dec. 1965
Written in rage by: Stan Lee!
Pencilled in panic by: Dick Ayers!
Delineated in despair by: John Tartaglione!
Lettered in the office by: Sam Rosen!
It’s weird getting back into the habit of doing these after spending nearly three months away, especially since this Sgt. Fury issue is actually pretty good! They didn’t use to be like that, did they? I remember a time when it was just guys blowing up tanks over and over again… Those were simpler days, children seemed to dislike Nazis more then…
The Howlers return to their base in England, cutting their furlough back home short and leaving an injured Dum-Dum Dugan behind them. They’ve gotten word that there’s a spy who’s a master of disguise who’s infiltrated the base, and since they were gone, they’re the only ones who can be trusted to deal with it. Captain “Happy Sam” Sawyer lets the commandos deal with the spy and gives Fury himself a much more important mission: he needs to deliver a package to some French freedom fighters.
When Nick meets up with the French, he notices something is weird. Part of it is that they don’t have French accents at all, and another part is that they stupidly speak German whenever he says “ACHTUNG!” He beats up the guys and blows up the boat, then swims back to the base just in time to find that the Red Skull (who had been impersonating Sawyer) is now pretending to be Fury and has set explosives all over the base. Fury lets the commandos know that he’s the real him, and together they get him out of prison and beat up the Red Skull, foiling his plans.
That’s pretty cool, that the master of disguise spy was actually the Red Skull. It really could’ve been anybody and the story would’ve worked just as well, but letting the audience know that it’s this other established character really makes the whole story feel more like it’s part of the Marvel universe. I’m still laughing my ass off at how intensely incompetent the Nazis pretending to be French freedom fighters were, though. One word and their entire ruse is destroyed. Good help is hard to find, I guess.