Monday, March 20, 2017

The Losers - Panama Fattie!

the one hundred and fifty-seventh issue of Our Fighting Forces by Jack "King" Kirby is the only two-part story in his often overlooked run on The Losers.

"Panama Fattie" begins right where you think it might in the country of Panama, specifically the crucial Panama Canal which is vital to the U.S. and its prosecution of the war in the Pacific. We meet a rotund smuggler named "Panama Fattie" who is the head of a gang of hoods who it turns out work for the highest bidder, this time that happens to be the Japanese government. The Losers are attached to the Navy and sent to investigate the smuggling and undercover as sailors are waylaid by Fattie's men. A ferocius fight ensues but unexpectantly Fattie grows fond of Captain Storm before she reveals her role as leader of the gangsters. Despite Fattie's affections the Losers seem destined to die by firing squad as the story closes.

Kirby always seems to find a way to work gangsters into all his series and given its historical nature The Losers would be a relatively easy mileau to introduce such concepts. Putting the gangsters in Panama is a neat twist and continues the wide-ranging world hopping The Losers are accustomed to. While it's easy at this distance to imagine that everyone in the western world was a loyal supporter of the war effort, it doesn't take much awareness of human nature to know that there will always be types who seek to make hay off the suffering of others. Profiteers exist in every war and usually are the characters who will never themselves take up a gun in defense of their country.

More to come as we find out more about the threat to the Panama Canal next time.

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