Sunday, January 3, 2010

Our Army at War #217

Our Army at War #217 (On Sale: January 3, 1970) has a great Sgt. Rock cover by Joe Kubert. I know the theme is a common one for DC war books, but in this case it is, 1) so masterfully drawn by Kubert and 2) an actual scene from the story. I love the way Kubert splits his cover between the above and below water shots.

This issue begins with Sgt. Rock in "Surprise Party" written and drawn by Joe Kubert. The men of Easy Co. are acting a little strange around Sgt. Rock but before he can get to the bottom of it they are given a mission. The progress into enemy country has been stopped for the last 48 hours by a company of Nazi soldiers on the other side of a river with some big guns waiting for the G.I.s to set foot on the only bridge in the area. Rock and his men are to "surprise" the enemy.

That night they quietly enter a raft and head out across the river. On the other side a group of enemy scuba divers to the same. Rock notices bubbles in the water getting thicker and they hurl grenades underneath them, killing the divers but also blowing up their raft and losing any element of surprise they might of had. They come ashore under the bridge and are met and captured by a platoon of Germans. Rock breaks down and tells the Germans that the rest of their men will be coming over the bridge soon and as they divert their attention solely to the bridge, the rest of Easy Co. comes up from behind them in the real "surprise" attack.

After the battle is over and won by Easy, the men come to Rock and wish him a "happy Birthday" complete with a gift. Noting the seedy nature of Rock's shirt and helmet they give him a bag with new clothes scrounged from "miles behind the lines" to replace his tattered duds. Only the shrapnel from the big guns they destroyed ripped through the bag and Rock's new clothes are in worse shape than the ones he is wearing.

Next is a beautiful one-page Warrior on William the Conqueror by the masterful Ken Barr.

The back-up "Come the Revolution" is by Mike Friedrich and Fred Ray and concerns Davy and Dan two pioneer settlers in early America. Returning home from a day of hunting they find their farms destroyed, burned to the ground. Dan is enraged by the "big city radicals" who think they can disobey the crown. He says when people start destroying what others have worked their lives for, then you have to defend it and he goes off to "get me a few rebels."

Joining up with group of the King's finest Dan is upset when he is not allowed to chase after the rebels. He decides to sneak off and kill a few rebels on his own, only he is shot by a sniper. Ducking behind a rock Dan sneaks up on the sniper and kills him. One of the King's men search the sniper for personal effects to be sent to his family and finds an unmailed letter. He gives it to Dan to see if there is an address to which they can send the body.

Opening the letter he finds it addressed to him and from his friend Davy, who says he has joined the revolution because there is something worth fighting for and that is freedom. Davy says how he was inspired to pick up his musket and use it by Dan.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

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