Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Fightin' 5 Reports #5

Fightin' Five Volume 2 #32 is dated May, 1965. The cover is by Dick Giordano. The lead story was written by Joe Gill and features art by Bill Montes and Ernie Bache. The editor was Pat Masulli.

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. 

"Part I Image of Glory" by Gill, Montes and Bache begins with a description of Joshua Forbes, a demagogue who preaches health and has developed a following in the Appalachian Mountains among the economically depressed population there eager for an uplifting message. The story begins at the Fightin' 5 headquarters where the team trains and they watch Forbes in one of his television presentations. At the same time a Forbes follower are keeping the team under surveillance and are discovered by Tom-Tom who promptly pitches him into the river. The team assembles and flies to the Forbes compound in the Appalachians when they come under missile attack. They avoid the missile but barely and are forced to parachute into the mountain terrain where Hank is promptly caught.

"One More Mission " is a three-page story drawn by Bill Molno which tells of the World War II bomber "Ugly Anne" and the final mission behind enemy lines. The crew deliver their deadly cargo and barely return to England having to strip the plane down to its essentials to land safely for the final time.

"Part 2 Forbes' Secret Fort" picks up the action with Hank falling after being grazed by a bullet. Tom-Tom descends on parachute and eliminates one attacker while Frenchy punches another. Hank recovers and dispatches his opponent too. Reassembled the team infiltrate the Forbes estate and defeat the force there. Meanwhile Forbes is on television where the threat he poses to the tranquility of the nation is most evident. He boards a helicopter and heads back to his base.

"Part 3 The Fate of the World"  begins with a counterattack by Forbes and his forces who capture the Fightin' 5 but then lose control when Hank openly attacks Forbes himself. Forbes tries to flee in his helicopter but Hank catches hold of a stray safety rope and climbs up where he confronts Forbes again. Fearing for his safety Forbes has the pilot descend and Hank then knocks out the demagogue once and for all. Forbes is turned over the proper authorities where he is committed to an asylum, the last image of the great leader showing him playing with paper dolls.

"Always Alert" is a one-page text piece which gives lots of solid technical information on the TOW missile.

"Fightin' Facts" is a two-page story drawn by Rocke "Rocko" Mastroserio where Uncle Sam himself appears to talk about the sundry skills and attitudes it takes to succeed in the Special Forces.

 The main Fightin' 5 story has never been reprinted to my knowledge. The "Fightin' Facts" piece was reprinted in Fightin' 5 Volume 3 #46 dated June, 1982.

I've noticed that some of the Fightin' 5 stories have very strong premises, but wrap up so quickly that they undermine the climax. This one a bit of that problem sadly. Still, it was a stirring adventure.

More to come.

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  1. Seems like there was a lot of “Fightin’” going on at Charlton. They had Fightin’ Army, Fightin’ Marines, Fightin’ Navy – and Fightin’ Five…What if this had spilled over into the ghost anthology books?…Dr. Graves, I.M. Dedd, Winnie the Witch, that little Imp dude from Haunted and Mr. Bones banded together as the Fightin’ Ghost-Hosts…Suited up with little red berets and Harold Ramis inspired, Punisher-like ghost fighting hardware…Drawn by Ditko or Boyette…I’d have bought it…

    1. There's almost something like that in the first Charlton Arrow which features all the Ghost Hosts in a funny adventure.

      As for the "Fightin'", it suggests that Charlton saw F5 as a war book primarily and later it blended into the more Action Hero. That change really happens more in the later issues.

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