Thursday, August 14, 2014
The Fightin' 5 Reports #14
Fightin' Five Volume 2 #41 is dated January, 1967. The Executive editor is Pat Masulli and the Managing Editor is Dick Giordano. The script is by regular writer and creator Joe Gill along with Bill Montes and Ernie Bache on the artwork. The cover is Rocke Mastroserio. This is final original issue of the Fightin' Five to be published.
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.
"Monster from the Abyss" begins under the ocean when Dr.Aquilla and his scuba-wearing henchmen try to take control of the nuclear submarine and underwater laboratory the U.S.S. Plankton. Aquilla has established a base under the sea where he mines precious gems and minerals. He perceives the Plankton as a threat and orders his men to take control of it. In the course of that a missile is sent astray which ends up going deep into a trench. Meanwhile the Fightin' 5 approach the area concerned over Aquilla's activities. The missile goes to the bottom of the trench where it explodes just above the head of a gigantic sleeping reptile. The ancient creature is understandably upset and rises from the depths to see what has awakened him and encounters another missile which explodes on contact.
"Aquilla's Doom" begins as the creature attacks the U.S.S. Plankton and the Fightin' 5 arrive on the underwater tableau. They begin to try and distract the mammoth creature and do draw its attention away but it then seeks to attack them. Aquilla sees this and is happy to see the creature handle his enemies for him. The Fightin' 5 try to draw the beast away and succeed, but when Plankton crew try to emerge to effect repairs they are attacked by Aquilla's men who issues an order for them to surrender their ship. The Fighitn' 5 though manage to turn the sea monster and it starts to destroy parts of Aquilla's undersea base. Aquilla's attempts to attack Hank with a squidlike ink gun only attract the creature to him and he has to swim for his life hiding in the coral. To save the undersea despot the Fightin' 5 use a small bomb and get the creature to swallow it. It explodes but only gives the monster the hiccups. This does though distract him and he swims away while the Fighitn' 5 go to rescue the crew of the Plankton and capture Aquilla.
"Expendable Except" is a one-page text story set during WWII in which a scientist uses his wits and a wine cellar to enable himself and his daughter to escape the Nazis with an O.S.S. agent and emigrate to America.
The Peacemaker has a second installment this issue. The writing is by Joe Gill and the art is by Pat Boyette.
"The War Peddler" picks up the action from the previous issue with Peacemaker having just been shot from the sky by Emil Bork an evil arms dealer. But Peacemaker recovers in the nick of time just missing the ground when his jets restart. Later aboard his own jet he seeks out Bork who is trying to instigate a war by initiating conflict with is own men and equipment and tricking two bordering nations. Christopher Smith learns of his plan, confronts Bork but it is to no avail who escapes in his own helicopter. Smith then becomes Peacemaker and takes to the skies reaching the site of the impending battle. Using his ability the electronically scramble communications and some paralyzing nerve gas he incapacitates both armies. Bork seeing this shoots four missiles at Peacemaker. Peacemaker uses his helmet laser to destroy three of the missiles and sends the fourth into Bork's own plane killing the amoral war peddler. The blurb promises for Peacemaker adventures in the next issue of Fighin' 5 but there will be no more. Instead Peacemaker will get his own book. More on that later.
It has long been noted that the sea monster awakened in this issue of Fightin' 5 bears a striking resemblance to longtime Charlton monster-character Gorgo. As can be seen above in this cover by the Montes and Bache team for an issue of Gorgo, the resemblance is amazing. In fact, inside the issue the beast looks even more like Gorgo with the nifty little ear fins added which are missing from the cover.
This is the last regular issue of the Fightin' Five. The title is cancelled and its place is taken by the debut of a new Peacemaker comic a few months later in 1967. It will be over a decade before the title is revived picking up the original numbering but using only reprints. Those have been covered in previous reports. While Peacemaker takes the lead, the Fightin' 5 are given the back up position with some few new adventures. There will be more on those spy exploits in the next and final report.