Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Fightin' 5 Reports #12


Fightin' Five Volume 2 #39 is dated September, 1966. The Executive Editor is Pat Masulli and assuming duties as Managing Editor is Dick Giordano. The script for this issue was by the always reliable Joe Gill and like the art inside was provided by Bil Montes and Ernie Bache. The cover is by Montes with inks by Rocke Mastroserio.

The "5" are Frenchy the Fox, Irv "The Nerve" Haganah, Granite Gallero, Hank Hennessy, and Tom-Tom. Designated according to the first letter of their name, they formed "America's Super Squad" and the word "F.I.G.H.T.", hence Fightin' 5.

"5 Trails to Death" begins with an ending of sorts. The Fightin' 5 team battle aboard a Soviet sub to capture Zero, a weirdly costumed and bald mastermind. They succeed and haul their captive to a U.S. base in the Everglades. But Zeru effects his escape almost immediately by using a foggy gas which incapacitates the whole base. But as Zeru runs through the swamp to find his comrades, he is followed by Frenchy who was using scuba gear during the escape. He follows Zeru to a Soviet sub and tags along until the sub eventually docks at what is called "Death Island". He is detected though and the twin dangers of sharks and scuba-wearing opponents appear to kill Frenchy. Zeru checks with his henchman and learns that the island is fully stocked with deadly creatures such as spiders, crocodiles, insects, and fish in addition to high-tech equipment. Meanwhile the Fighitn' 5 have recovered from the gas and begin a search for Zeru. Irv "The Nerve" flies out in a small plane and finds "Death Island" but is shot down by a deadly missle. 

"The Bicycle Soldier" is a one-page text story which discusses the various ways soldiers have been transported over the centuries, including on foot, the use of camels, and such. The focus though is one the Japanese use of bicycles to effectively wage the war in Malaya.

The remaining Fightin' 5 continue to search for Zeru and to that end Granite uses a jet to reach "Death Island" and parachutes in. He battles some crocodiles and is discovered by enemy soldiers and seems to be killed when he responds with a hand grenade. Hank and Tom-Tom have taken a launch and are too heading for the island when they detect a woman in scuba gear beneath their boat. The capture her and head on to the island but the boat is then blown up by Zeru's forces. With all of the Fightin' 5 seemingly dead, Zeru gives the go ahead to his leader that the United States can now be effectively blackmailed using lethal atomic missles located on the island. Then we see Hank walk out of the surf and he quickly obtains contact with Frenchy, Irv, and Granite, who have all likewise survived despite appearances. Then Tom-Tom emerges carrying the girl enemy agent.  Then the members reveal how they survived. Hank and Tom-Tom had an armored cockpit in the boat which protected them, Frenchy was saved by his nylon armor and shark repellant, Irv used a rocket-belt to escape his plane, and Granite used his nylon armor and a handy ditch to evade the explosion. Reassembled, Hank is then seemingly capture and confronts Zeru. At the last moment he grabs an enemy weapon and destroys the command console for the deadly missiles eliminating the threat to the United States. In a furious counterattack the Five appear to kill all the enemy agents including Zeru, though he is not shown. The Soviet ambassador is summarily kicked out of the office once his threat is rendered harmless.

"Experiment 74" is a three-page story drawn by Montes and Bache which describes a nuclear test which after the first part causes a scientist and his military liaison to check out a cave in the blast zone. The stumble upon a large reptilian creature immune to bullets. The escape, but just as the second part of the nuclear test happens, destroying the cave and the presumably the creature too.

This comic has not been reprinted to my knowledge.

More to come as the Fightin' 5 are joined by The Peacemaker.

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