Jack Kirby begins his run with the heroes (Johnny Cloud, Captain Storm, Gunner and Sarge) on a mission behind Nazi lines in which they are to work with the local resistance to rescue a great musician, a woman who has become a master of the classics, especially those by Hitler's favorite composer Wagner. We first meet the team as they are skulking around the local area seeking a secure way to enter the town where the musician lives. They find the way in, even battle the local Nazi commander who himself is conducting a brutal search for the same artist. He is a music lover, but the irony is that his soul is no less black for his purported love of music. The pianist is discovered at last and the team is successful in saving her as well as many other local townsfolk before the Allies launch a deadly bombing attack on the hapless town.
This story sets up the structure of most of the Kirby stories pretty well. While our four heroes are mostly front and center in most of their stories Kirby will tell, they nonetheless are not necessarily the focus of the story. I was reminded of Will Eisner's approach to The Spirit in which the titular hero was often out of the limelight in his own series.
D. Bruce Berry is the inker for Kirby at this period,a time when Mike Royer who had inked Kirby with great success needed a break from the relentless schedule the "King" maintained. Berry like Royer before him sought to retain as much of the real Kirby as he could, but sadly he was not able to bring the drama that Royer succeeded in supplying and much of Berry's work on Kirby feels more like tracing than true lush inking. The inker in those bygone days was needed to make the work dark enough for reproduction and Berry accomplished that, but added little to the finished product aside from that.
|D. Bruce Berry's own stylish artwork.|
More to come.