Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Fightin' 5 Reports #6

Fightin' Five Volume 2, No. 33 was dated July, 1965. This Pat Masulli edited comic feature a very handsome Rocke Mastroserio cover featuring all of the Five in action. The F.I.G.H.T. name is clearly explained right on the cover. The main story was written as usual by Joe Gill and drawn by Bill Montes and Ernie Bache.

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.

"The Cult of the Black Dragon" begins with a description of how Comrade Fang has developed a cult following in an effort to achieve world power in the face of Communist power in China. To that end he's moved his operations to Africa, a continent ripe for conquest. He develops his forces and creates a monster-like black tank which resembles a dragon. President Johnson himself bemoans how little the United States can do officially, but assigns the CIA man Mr.Smith to go to the Fightin' 5 and recruit them to go to Africa to deal with Fang. Armed with the latest equipment (rocket belts and tactical nukes) the go to Africa and stir up trouble and attacking Fang's forces. But they come under fire as Part One closes.

"Always Airplanes" is a one-page text piece which details the value of high-tech planes which can use short runways and advanced communications equipment.

"Part 2 The Jungle King" picks up the Fightin' 5 action as Hank and Granite fend off attacks from the Black Dragon tank and then go to back up their comrades. Frenchy is captured and despite some rough treatment manages to turn the tables on his captors. (Strangely the scripting mistakes Frenchy for Irv in this sequence.) Hank, Granite, and Tom-Tom invade Fang's stronghold and Hank using his jet belt is able to save Frenchy.

"Part 3 The Flames of the Dragon" begins as Hank and Frenchy descend to attack the Black Dragon tank, but are taken aback when they realize Granite has commandeered it. He uses it to destroy Fang's fortress then destroys the tank itself. Fang is furious and orders the Fightin' 5 killed immediately but they reorganize at their jeep which carries their nuke cannon and use that weapon to defeat Fang once and for all. The local officials try to hire the Fightin' 5 as mercenaries but they decline and fly back home to the good old U.S.A celebrating a job well done.

"Peace Corp Patsy" is a three-page story which describes how a Peace Corp volunteer, a farmer by trade is rejected by the local forces and collaborates with the local populace to fight back. He reveals his training as an infantryman in Vietnam prepared him well for this work.

(Some of the cover art elements of this issue were used for an advertisement.)

And that's a wrap. This issue has never been reprinted to my knowledge. It's always interesting to see an American President recognizably portrayed in a comic. Maybe that's why they did reprint this issue,but I doubt it.

More to come.

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  1. Was there an affiliation between the Fightin’ Five and Sarge Steel? I seem to remember Sarge making a cameo appearance in one of the Peacemaker back-ups…

    1. Sarge Steel shows up in some later issues doing Judo instruction drawn by Frank McLaughlin. There's no Sarge Steel in those later installments in Peacemaker, but several issues of Sarge Steel were drawn by the Montes and Bache team. Maybe that's what's tickling your memory.

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