Fightin' Five Volume 2, # 34 is dated September 1965. Edited by Pat Masulli, this issue like all the rest was written by Joe Gill who actually is credited by name. Also credited are Bill Montes and Ernie Bache, the regular artists. Montes supplied the cover art this time which was inked 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.
"Death Rode the Red Wind" begins with wild scene of the complete Fightin' 5 under attack in the desert called "The Inferno" by mounted nomadic warriors and WWII vintage Stuka aircraft. The story itself begins when Dr.Gray and his Nurse Anne Loomis are kidnapped by a band of desert warriors led by Kifa-Ray, who it turns out is the twin brother of the leader of the region, King Fazam-El. The King has sent for the Fightin' 5 to help rescure the two kidnap victims. They turn up soon enough and use camels to penetrate the desert in search of their Gray and Loomis. At a remote fort formerly a base for the Foreign Legion Kifa-Ray consults with his mentor, a Nazi officer Wolfgang Kuss who has at least three Stukas and their pilots under his control. He sends one of the Stukas out to attack the Fightin' 5 but their combined firepower brings the plane down and they then quickly penetrate the fort and rescue Loomis, but are surprised by Kifa-Ray who gets the drop on the team.
"Cut a Coupon" is a one-page text narrative which describes how the use of coupons attached to propaganda for free food were crucial in waging the psychological war in Vietnam.
"Part 2 Tools of Treason" begins when the Fightin' 5 drop their weapons after Kifa-Ray has re-captured Loomis and all of them are put into cells. Later it is determined they are free to leave, but their only way out is across the deadly "Inferno", the desert which surrounds the area. Hank refuses to leave without their weapons and finally Kifa-Ray and Kuss agree. On foot the Fightin' 5 and the rescued duo are confronted with the "Red Wind of Death" a deadly sandstorm which they survive by using some high-tech pliofilm sheets which encase their bodies but still allow them to breathe. They then face the two deadly Stukas which they again shoot down. They rescue the pilots who reveal they are more than willing to turn against Kuss. As the section ends they agree to return to the fort.
|(Great vintage ad featuring this issue of Fightin' 5 and other Charlton action heroes of the time. I thought for years this cover was by Jim Aparo.)|
"Part 3 The Red Wind Blows" begins when they arrive at the fort and penetrate the walls by use of a hidden cave entrance. Using smoke grenades they ultimately defeat Kuss and Kifa-Ray who has also turned against his mentor. Kuss is seemingly killed when the fort is exploded and Kifa-Ray is returned to the care of his twin bother the King. The Fightin' 5 then fly home, the mission completed.
"The Sport of Judo" is a detailed three-page story drawn by Frank McLaughlin showing various moves in the sport and reminding readers to be careful and seek out professional training before trying the holds and flips. The piece is narrated by Sarge Steel.
This issue was reprinted in Fightin' 5 Volume 3 #46 dated June, 1982.
I was a bit surprised by the use of WWII vintage villains in this issue. Certainly unreformed Nazis were common enough in the 60's, but these particular ones seem not to have changed at all. It was a little bit jarring in a book which had a sense of its time up to then.
More to come.