Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Losers - The Devastator!

With his third Losers story, Jack Kirby really offers up something rather different, a comic book story which calls attention to itself as a comic book story. The cover for the one hundred and fifty-third issue of Our Fighting Forces is just a hoot. The series also welcomes aboard Mike Royer on inks, and that's an improvement in my eyes, as Royer adds a layer of potent emotion to Kirby's pencils.

The story spins around a Nazi long range canon dubbed " Big Max" which is able to deliver destruction for miles into the depths of Allied territory. The Losers have been tasked to bring down "Big Max" and to accomplish that mission they need the help of Rodney Rumpkin "science-fiction soldier".

Rumpkin is a smallish sci-fi comic book fan and it's his vision of an advanced looking high-tech tank-like weapon called "The Devestator" which the Losers hope to use to bring down Big Max. When The Devestator rolls onto the battlefield the Nazis respond by rolling out Big Max in the daytime, a move not previously considered prudent, and as a result Allied bombers are able to locate and destroy the great canon. The Devestator turns out to be ruse only, a facade around a real tank meant to hoodwink the Nazis.

This is a fun one of course, particularly for any fan of science fiction and most comic fans are that. The use of trickery to wage war is often an overlooked aspect of the narrative of warfare but here it's front and center. And Rodney Rumpkin is a soldier many a nerd fanboy can identify with, and it's easy to see more than whisper of Kirby himself in the character. One of Kirby's duties recognized his drawing talent and he was tapped by his leaders to make maps and such which put him in some danger.

More Losers to come next time.

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  1. Easily my favorite of Kirby's Losers run.
    It combines the "regular joe" attitudes felt both in the 1940s and 1970s about fanboys...before sci-fi became "mainstream".
    (Hey, look! "Kirby Quotes"!)

    1. It's a fun fun story. The nebbish who is a sci-fi fan is a painful cliche, even in this more accepting age.

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