New Reviews of Old Comics
When I first started collecting I thought war comics like Sgt. Rock were kind of a joke. I wanted to read super-hero titles and from a collector point of view thought only the super-hero titles were worth anything. War titles seemed to drag on for a lot longer than the actual war itself! Lots of sound effects from tanks and guns; budda budda, ka-boom, brrrp, vip vip, etc. *yawn* Recently, however, I’ve rediscovered war comics, especially Sgt. Rock and am amazed at how difficult it is to find the DC Showcase Presents reprint books. Apparently there are a lot of Rock fans out there.
This issue has Sgt. Rock as the star of a 12 page story called “Obituary for a Dog Tag” written by Bob Kanigher with art by Frank Redondo. Because no Sgt. Rock story is complete without Joe Kubert being involved he serves as editor, and rightly so. It starts with Rock and one of his soldiers talking about dog tags and what they mean beyond what they were made for. Eventually Easy Company comes across a convent school that was just bombed, where they find a nun who isn’t going to make it, but she makes the men promise they will bring an orphan boy to a nearby couple for care. The boy turns out to have Rock’s dog tags because he’s the baby Rock once saved, which astute readers of Army At War #132 will remember (if that have that good of a memory). Despite the boy turning out to be a supreme P.I.T.A Rock continues on as his guardian angel, saving him from a minefield and out running a German patrol until he gets the boy to the couple as promised. There is a little twist here at the end, which I won’t reveal in case you actually find this issue and get to read it. Kanigher’s story is good and Redondo’s art isn’t up to Joe Kubert levels but that’s a high bar for anyone drawing Sgt. Rock, so I’ll give Redondo props for above average work.
Next is a five page alien-take-over story called “The New Population” which is un-credited except for “Randall” being written in a panel on the first page. I’m not sure if this is aliens or Earth bound life forms that mutated because of pollution, but either way they’re freaky looking and planning to take over the Earth. It was all right.
Then we have a two page spread by Timothy Truman about Capt. Herbert A Werner, a German u-Boat captain, which was fairly interesting. I’m a Tim Truman fan, which helps the enjoyment factor here.
The humor section comes courtesy of a 3 page story called “Fun In Boot Camp” about a new recruit writing home to mom and dad which is cute. It is signed, but I can’t interpret the handwriting.
Finally it’s “Beast of Blackloch” by Jan Duursema about a Scottish sea monster that lives in a lake. This is a decent story with exceptional art.
Like a previous Sgt. Rock review I wonder if the back-up stories are from students of the Joe Kubert School (my guess would be yes). For me, this makes Sgt. Rock issues just that much more enjoyable. It would be nice if there were mainstream titles like this now giving up and coming talent some experience. Seems like a worthy propostition.