TITLE: Our Army At War Issue 226
YEAR: December 1970
COMPANY: DC Comics
Editor: Joe Kubert
Story & Art by Russ Heath
A few years after World War II, there was a boon in war comics.
People loved them and one of the most popular characters for DC Comic was Sgt. Franklin “Frank” John Rock a.k.a. “Sgt. Rock” of Easy Company, who made his first appearance in “Our Army At War” #83 (June 1959). And the series would eventually change its name from “Our Army At War” to “Sgt. Rock” with issue #302 (March 1977).
Neal Adams made his DC Comics debut for “Our Army At War” in issue #182 but the series would be remembered for the run of writer Robert Kanigher and artist Joe Kubert.
With this issue #226, despite the cover and the big SGT. ROCK name featured, Sgt. Rock is only featured in several panels for two pages. This time around, Joe Kubert is the editorr and Russ Heath is the artist and writer.
And this issue came out before I was born. I acquired it via purchasing various lots many years ago, but haven’t read it until today.
The first story featured in this issue is rather interesting because it features a Black soldier named Rickey of Easy Co., who he and his Sgt., Mac and a few soldiers have come upon a Nazi M.G. Nest.
I don’t think I recall reading many comic book stories featuring Black soldiers during World War II before 1971, but as I’m not an “Our Army At War” erudite, perhaps someone can chime in to let me know if other ethnicities were often featured in major war storylines for “Our Army At War”.
But the story features Rickey and Mac as they must take down the Nazi M.G. Nest and when Mac sends their guys in, nearly all of them get mowed down by machine gun fire except Rickey and Mac.
Rickey has never took part in real combat until now and with only a few of them left, Mac sends Rickey and the remaining others to take down the Nazi M.G. Nest which of course is unthinkable. Needless to say, Rickey is scared out of his mind and he thinks of his past as a child always being in fear.
But what happens when Rickey rushes out to the Nazi M.G. Nest?
The second story is set during the Civil War and focuses on Lt. Walker, a Calvary officer who tends to be looked as incompetent by his General.
So, the General has Lt. Walker riding an air balloon to do recon on the Confederate Army and take as many photos and relay back information via morse code. Unfortunately, as Lt. Walker is sailing above enemy lines, his air balloon is shot down. And to make things worse, he doesn’t know Morse code.
Will Lt. Walker survive behind enemy lines?
I found the issue quite interesting to read. Considering the anti-war sentiment towards The Vietnam War looming in America. But reading the letters columns, “Our Army At War” had hardcore readers. Some aficionados going as far to discuss the weaponry or vehicles featured in the comic book series.
Also, it was interesting to see the various “More For Your Money… And Better!” promotions for DC Comics. It made me wonder how the page count was before the promotions. Also, to see promotions for Jack Kirby’s “Forever People” and “New Gods”.
And last but not least, it was definitely interesting to see this: