Friday, December 18, 2009

Star Spangled War Stories #149

Star Spangled War Stories #149 (On Sale: December 18, 1969) has an Enemy Ace cover by Joe Kubert.

This issue begins with Enemy Ace in "Reach for the Heavens" by the normal team of Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. This is another in a long line of neat little war stories by Kanigher and Kubert, this one revealing the origin of the scar on Von Hammer's face.

One evening Von Hammer thinks back to the days when he was a raw recruit, he and the other young men with him, waiting to learn how to fly. One man though was driven, Heinrich Muller did not want to join the others in youthful camaraderie; all he cared about was learning to fight to kill the enemy.

One day the men played a prank on Muller and he demanded satisfaction from Von Hammer, singling him out. The next morning they dueled with swords till Muller drew first blood and Von Hammer apologized for himself and the men. Muller's reply was, "The scar I put on your face is the only apology I want, Herr Von Hammer!"

From then on the men get serious and finally the day comes when they will get to go up in the planes for the first time. Von Hammer and Muller go together in the rear cockpit on the training mission. Once aloft they spot a French fighter. who, knowing they are training leaves them alone. But Muller pulls out his pistol and begins shooting at the Frenchman against the protest of Von Hammer. When they land Muller cannot understand why he is not commended for shooting down the French fighter.

Back in the present when the morning arrives, Muller is at the Jagdstaffel, assigned to Von Hammer. Muller looks more bitter and determined than ever. That day on patrol they run into an enemy patrol and Muller murders an defenseless British pilot who is out of ammunition. This distracts Von Hammer to the point where he is shot down. As his plane heads for the ground Muller dives after him and Von Hammer jumps from his burning plane to the landing gear of Muller's plane. The English attack till they are all out of ammunition and Muller gently lays the plane down allowing Von Hammer to hit the ground safely. When Von Hammer goes to thank him for saving his life he finds that he is dead. "I felt my heart cry bitter my dry eyes reached for the the killer skies!"

This story has been reprinted in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #21, Enemy Ace Archives Vol. 2 HC and Showcase Presents: Enemy Ace Vol. 1 TPB.

Next is the Viking Prince in "The Terror Stone" reprinted from Brave and the Bold #11 and also the work of Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. All weapons of metal are being seized by a mysterious power from the village of the Viking Prince. Even Jon's boat is torn asunder as the nails are pulled from the boards and disappear out to sea. Jon has a small boat made with wooden nails and carrying only wooden weapons he sets out to see what is causing the strange actions of all metal. He finds the ship of his enemy Baron Thorvald carrying a large rock that fell from the sky and which is the source of the strange metal attraction.

Jon boards the ship and when the rock is pushed overboard, he uses his wooden sword to sever the rope keeping it captive. His men then show up in the ship that has been secretly tailing him and Thorvald is defeated.

Lastly is "Boadicea Queen of the Iceni" the work of the late, great Ric Estrada.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

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