Tuesday, March 14, 2017
The Losers - Bushido!
Jack Kirby takes the Losers to a different theater of war in this fourth installment of his run on the feature in the hundredth and fifty-fourth issue of Our Fighting Forces. They head to the Pacific and there they find a mission which points out the differences in the cultures which clashed all those many decades ago now.
The Losers are tasked with with capturing the Japanese leader Colonel Yoshiro Yamashita. They succeed in this effort initially but circumstances change and the Japanese commander finds himself lose and soon enough with troops of his own to confront the Losers.
The battle is pitched and the codes of conduct and battle which inform both cultures come into play. Yamashita is a follower of Bushido and when he is able to capture Gunner and another soldier he offers them up in trade if Johnny Cloud will face him in a battle of honor.
Cloud agrees but the battle between the two men ends only when Yamashita realizes it has all been a ploy to delay his forces until larger forces can arrive. With the imminent attack of bombers and Marine reinforcements Cloud escapes as Yamashita leads his troops in a Banzaii attack doomed from its start.
Coming from a guy who adopted an online name from Charlton's Judomaster it will come as little surprise that I rather like that this presentation shows what war stories can do at their best, humanize the enemy, albeit I'm sure with a surfeit of cliches. All too often people are driven to war and conflict by the extremes of alienation which are allowed to seep into a culture. The notion that another culture is immediately more decrepit is a common enough opinion and sometimes warranted, but the people who live under that philosophy will not be quick to abandon what they believe. The battle for hearts and minds is a long steady one which requires wits and patience. Sadly in the modern world we find leaders lacking both of these essential traits.
More to come as the Losers return next time and hit the states and the streets of Broadway.