Blazing Battle Tales #1, July 1975

“The One-Armed Beast”

Script: John Albano

Art: Patrick Broderick and Jack Sparling

This Sgt Hawk and His Killer Platoon tale sees the eponymous sergeant hand pick a team (if two can be called a team) of crack operatives to go behind enemy lines to rescue a French girl who knows the names of hundreds of resistance fighters. She’s been captured by “one of the most sadistic officers in the German command.” Hawk and his men are soon at the spot, and waste no time dispatching the enemy in a variety of gruesome ways. However, having rescued the girl, they have to face the might of the whole German army getting her back to safety.

Completely enraged by the thoughts of the indignities the girl faced while captive, Hawk goes berserk and carves his way to a German camp. As they approach, US bombers blow the whole place to smithereens.

However, the sound of a jeep reveals that the German officer is still alive and making a break for it. Hawk coolly squeezes the trigger on his machine gun, causing the jeep to run off the road and explode. Hawk and his chums celebrate by watching the guy go up in flames.

“The Sky Demon!”

Story: John Albano

Art: Al McWilliams

Captain Gunner is a bit of a maverick flier. However, he’s given his head as he has a weird “sixth sense” that guides him to important targets. When Lt General Sands takes over as base commander, Gunner has his wings clipped. Later, on a sortie, Gunner is ordered to return to base — despite his having a hunch about a passing train.

Later that evening Gunner is summoned, and Sands apologizes for scoffing at his sixth sense. From now on Gunner will be allowed to fly solo once more. Intelligence has been received that that train was carrying a very special passenger: Adolf Hitler!

“Blazing Battle Tales Salutes: Bronze Star Winner… Pvt. William Swanson”

Writer: John Albano

Artist: John Severin

A true life tale of Swanson’s exploits

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John Albano is probably best known for co-creating Jonah Hex at DC. Blazing Battle Tales sadly sees him slumming it somewhat, and is a pretty sorry book. It is partially redeemed by the art jobs on the back up stories from Al McWilliams and the always reliable John Severin. Pat Broderick, in one of his earliest jobs, lacks his later panache, and the Sgt Hawk story is a painful read.

The cover, by Frank Thorne, is the best thing about this comic. Past that, avoid..!

©2010 Atlas/Seaboard Periodicals/the respective copyright holder