This late-1960s annual collects two 1964 issues of SGT. FURY by Kirby, both inked by George Roussos (as George Bell). While I really preferred the Dick Ayers inked issues, Roussos does pretty good here, and suits the material much more than he did on FANTASTIC FOUR.
“The Fangs of the Desert Fox” from SGT. FURY #6 features the Howlers given a mission to kill Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox in charge of the German campaign in North Africa. Unfortunately, Dino Manelli is injured in a practice jump, and replaced by George Stonewall, who turns out to be a bigot, with particular problems with the black and jewish members of the team, Gabe and Izzy. So of course those two are the ones who end up saving him during the mission. Stonewall is still cool towards them after they return, but quietly leaves his forwarding address to Gabe and Izzy.
A little preachy, but well-intentioned, and a great war comic, with lots of firefights, hand-to-hand combat, loving renditions of tanks and planes and more.
That story was also the SGT. FURY selection for the recent MARVEL VISIONARIES – JACK KIRBY
Some special features between the two reprints, one of them from Kirby, the single page “Weapons of War” from SGT. FURY #5, showing various machine guns used in WWII.
Next up is “The Court-Martial of Sgt. Fury”, from SGT. FURY #7. In France now, the Howlers are given a mission to help the French resistance attack a German ammo depot. The American lieutenant in charge turns out to be an old school-mate of Fury. Just as they’re about to attack, Fury tries to stop the attack, and they get caught in an explosion.
Fury wakes up back in England, with no memory of why he tried to stop the attack, and is put on trial. This gives us some background on Fury from before the war. Some very interesting writing in there. On the sidelines, the Howlers of course wind up in the guard-house after defending Fury’s honour from slurs by rival Sgt. Bull McGiveney. Eventually Fury gets his memory back and realizes that he stopped the attack because it was a trap, as he knew from questioning a German prisoner earlier (but for some reason didn’t pass on the information at the time. Whatever).
The story works a lot better this issue than the other one, and the art is just as good, if a bit less action filled, with all the court-martial scenes. That does give a rare chance to see Sgt. Fury in his dress uniform.
There have been occasional rumours that we might see an ESSENTIAL SGT. FURY at some point for a while now. I certainly hope so, as they’re a lot of fun, with art as good or better than Kirby’s super-hero art of there era, with some really fun stories, and most haven’t been reprinted in well over 30 years.