Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Fightin' 5 Reports #2

The second issue of Fightin' Five was Volume 2 #30 and dated October, 1964. It's the first adventure of the assembled team following their organization in the previous issue. Edited by Pat Masulli and written by Joe Gill and drawn by Bill Montes and Ernie Bache with a cover by Dick Giordano,

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.

This story has the assembled team pitted against a "college of sabotage" which was located in the Sierra Madre mountain range in Mexico. Specifically the threat is Lev, a Soviet trainer is preparing Aztec warriors as saboteurs who will penetrate U.S. defenses and wreak havoc. Since the "college" is located in another country the United States cannot respond in an official capacity, but calls on the Fightin' 5 to solve the problem.

"The Aztec Warriors" begins when an Aztec warrior sets off a bomb aboard a U.S. ship in Seatle. Information from the surviving warrior leads the Fightin' 5 to Arizona from their Montana base where they plan to infiltrate Mexico in secret. They uncover evidence of Aztec and Soviet collaboration and confront Princess Malaxtl who eludes Hennessy and Frenchy the Fox.

"The Evil Teacher" begins after Malaxtl's disappearance when Aztec warriors appear and capture Hank as Frenchy escapes. Hank is taken to Lev but Malaxtl wishes to sacrifice the handsome leader of the Fightin' 5 in classic Aztec style. Meanwhile the other members of the team are waging a battle above ground when  Tom-Tom too is captured. After a furious struggle Tom-Tom is selected for the sacrifce.

"Allies of Hate" opens as Tom-Tom manages to escape sacrifice by breaking the traditional chains, which are interpreted by Malaxtl as a sign that gods wish the Aztecs to change their ways. She turns on Lev and the Soviets and gunfire erupts which strikes Malaxtl while Hank and Tom-Tom regroup with the other members of the Fightin' 5. Lev and his helpers have taken refuge in the giant head of a local tomb and are planning to launch atomic weapons.

"The Eyes of Death" opens as the launch is underway despite the objections by some of the Soviet agents that Lev goes too far. The Fightin' 5 penetrate the fortress head and alongside the Aztec warriors destroy the atomic missles. Granite Gallego finds the torso armor from an ancient conquistador and puts it on. This proves beneficial when the metal is able to deflect Lev's bullets and Lev finds himself trapped then killed in an Aztec trap. Princess Malaxtl has recoverd though and wants Hank to stay but the Fightin' 5 must stay together to face the next threat.

"Ballistics Talking" is a two-page text piece on the science of ballistics with a great deal of detail offered up.

"The Space Warriors" features art by Bill Molno and tells in a single page what space war might like, and suggests that soldiers will be fewer in number and the battles will last hours and not days.

"The Made a Man" is also drawn by Molno and this three-page story tells how the Philadelphia born Billy Cleve finds success as a Special Forces soldier in Vietnam.

"American Pioneer" is a one-page reprise of the history of the great Kentuckian Daniel Boone.

The majority of this comic was reprinted many years later in Fightin' 5 Volume 3 #43 dated December, 1981.

I was most struck in this story how modern the threat was. Despite the trappings of the Cold War, the idea that saboteurs (substitute "terrorists") being given special training in a remote part of the world so that they can infiltrate and destroy vital U.S. sites seems like something taken from modern headlines.

More to come. 

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  1. I'm sure I've heard of this comic and may even have seen it, but I've never bought or read an issue, so thanks for reminding me of its existence. I'll track them down some day perhaps.

    1. They are worthy...if you don't have to pay too much. I bought only one issue off the racks, and paid a pretty penny for some of the others. Reading copies got me by on the earliest issues.

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