Behold, the Bronze Age!
Cover: Tatjana Wood
“Heap the Corpses High!”
Writer: Robert Kanigher, Penciler: Lee Elias,
Inker: Romeo Tanghal, Colorist: Tatjana Wood, Editor: Paul Levitz
The Nazis developed ICBM missiles that can strike at America. The Unknown Soldier is ordered to find the location of the missiles and eliminate the man in charge.
In Paris, Mlle. Marie believes she executes Hitler! It ended up being a decoy. Chased throughout the city, she is rescued by the Unknown Soldier and both barely escape the city with their lives!
Sgt. Rock and Easy Company are trapped and pummeled by a Nazi unit. Rock saves his men but at great physical cost. Recuperating in a battalion aid field hospital, he is visited by the Unknown Soldier who assures him that Rock will lead Easy Company soon.
Sure enough, Rock walks up to his recuperating Company and moves them out to retake the mountain retreat that nearly slaughtered them. They are again pinned down but saved by a mysterious masked skier who attacks the Nazis from the rear. It is Mlle. Marie!
Rock and Mlle. Marie work their way into a crevasse in the mountain to find the ICBMs aimed at America. Rock and Marie are trapped and saved by … Sgt. Rock of Easy Company?
Surprise! The Rock with Mlle. Marie was actually the Unknown Soldier in disguise! Unable to stop the countdown, the Soldier seemingly gives his life by dropping a string of grenades into the crevasse. Is the Soldier dead? No, Rock and Marie spot him skiing down the mountain.
This house ad explains it better than I can …
While not the best war comic ever written, this issue is pretty good, if only because it is so long. Most war comics at the time had two or three stories per issue – here was over 30 pages of non-stop action! Kanigher is at his best here – giving us plenty of action but some characterization, too, although in a short-handed way. “B Company got slaughtered, Rock.” “I got eyes.” Rock is both cold and caring. The Unknown Soldier is too. Mlle. Marie seems to be the only passionate fighter in the pack.
The art is excellent. Lee Elias’ spanned the Golden, Silver and Bronze Ages – known mainly for his work on the Golden/Silver Age Green Arrow. That being said, every time I open up a DC war comic I am slightly disappointed when the artist is NOT Joe Kubert. But Elias’s style is clean and clear and fits the story – James Sherman and Jack Abel reflect this style.
Rock had met the Unknown Soldier before, and they make an odd team-up. Easy with his combat-happy Joes of Easy Company do not mesh with the espionage of the Unknown Soldier’s world. But Kanigher pulls it off.
This is not the first time Mille. Marie gets short shrift in a team-up book (and when I was a kid reading these stories I thought her name was pronounced “Millie Marie”).
The Brave and the Bold #53 touted three Battle Stars: Sgt. Rock, Johnny Cloud, & The Haunted Tank (its crew obviously counted as one star…) also had Mlle. Marie. Four stars …
What do you expect in a man’s world?
About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped. Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!