"Blackhawk: "The Man In The Iron Mask"": The Blackhawks gather in Jugoslavia to commemorate their late comrade Andre, who died saving their lives and those of many others, on the 6-month anniversary of his death, which would have been Andre's birthday. It's too stormy to take off afterward so th
- The peasants call him IRON FACE --- They think he's a ghost sent to plague us -- heh -- heh -- a joke, no?
- 1 Synopsis for Blackhawk: "The Man In The Iron Mask"
- 2 Appearing in Blackhawk: "The Man In The Iron Mask"
- 3 Synopsis for The Sniper: "The Story of Lord Henry Perkins"
- 4 Appearing in The Sniper: "The Story of Lord Henry Perkins"
- 5 Synopsis for Loops and Banks: "The Russians' Mascot"
- 6 Appearing in Loops and Banks: "The Russians' Mascot"
- 7 Synopsis for X, of the Underground: "The Berlin Express
- 8 Appearing in X, of the Underground: "The Berlin Express
- 9 Synopsis for Shot and Shell: "Bunglers in Baghdad"
- 10 Appearing in Shot and Shell: "Bunglers in Baghdad"
- 11 Synopsis for Phantom Clipper: "Introducing the Phantom Clipper"
- 12 Appearing in Phantom Clipper: "Introducing the Phantom Clipper"
- 13 Synopsis for Death Patrol: "The Rescue of Del Van Dyne"
- 14 Appearing in Death Patrol: "The Rescue of Del Van Dyne"
- 15 Synopsis for Blue Tracer: "The Yellow Butcher of Koko Nor"
- 16 Appearing in Blue Tracer: "The Yellow Butcher of Koko Nor"
- 17 Synopsis for Secret War News: "Secret Passage To China Front"
- 18 Appearing in Secret War News: "Secret Passage To China Front"
- 19 Synopsis for Atlantic Patrol: "U.S.S. Kearney"
- 20 Appearing in Atlantic Patrol: "U.S.S. Kearney"
- 21 Notes
- 22 See Also
- 23 Recommended Reading
- 24 Links and References
Synopsis for Blackhawk: "The Man In The Iron Mask"
The Blackhawks gather in Jugoslavia to commemorate their late comrade Andre, who died saving their lives and those of many others, on the 6-month anniversary of his death, which would have been Andre's birthday. It's too stormy to take off afterward so they take shelter inside a nearby mountain castle, seemingly abandoned. A weird figure, wearing a big iron helmet, confronts them and warns them to leave this place, that it's a Nazi base. The figure vanishes behind a sliding wall panel and a clot of Nazi soldiers run into the room; much shooting and punching and chasing ensues. Blackhawk and Olaf get captured, and Blackhawk has a smack-talking conversation with General von Ezel about the Man in the Iron Mask.
Meanwhile outside, Chop Chop, Hendrickson, Boris, and Zeg decide to enter the castle and search for their team-mates. Two gloating German sentries throw a lever, and the drawbridge yanks upward, becoming a ramp, dumping them into a dungeon. Then they start pumping water, and water snakes, into the dungeon. Not far away, von Ezel is having Blackhawk flogged with a bullwhip. He orders up a firing squad to execute Blackhawk and Olaf, but this is interrupted by the swashbuckling Man in the Iron Mask, who drops an iron chandelier onto the firing squad, frees Blackhawk and Olaf, then leads them away via a secret passage. They arrive at a heavy trap door, lift it, and find the other Blackhawks and pull them out of the flooding chamber. The Blackhawks want to stay and fight, but "Iron Face" convinces them that they're far too outnumbered. As soon as they leave, the Iron-Masked Man is captured by a platoon of Germans.
Halfway down the escape tunnel, Blackhawk forms a suspicion about their benefactor's identity, turns around, and runs back into the castle. The others follow. They rescue the Man in the Iron Mask from being tortured, and per Blackhawk's surmise, it turns out to be Andre! He survived the landslide but his face was smashed up so badly that he had been wearing the mask ever since. At this point in the fight, "Iron Face" head-butts General von Ezel into the death-trap from which three of the Blackhawks had just escaped, a flooding chamber filled with water and water snakes.
Not one to give up easily, Blackhawk single-handedly flies into Germany, to a particular concentration camp, and frees a famous plastic surgeon, Dr. Fritz von Rath. But it's no use; von Rath's imprisonment has driven him insane. Andre's face can't be repaired until and unless the surgeon's mind is repaired.
Appearing in Blackhawk: "The Man In The Iron Mask"
- Andre ("Iron Face")
- Dr. Fritz von Rath (Insane)
- Nazi Regional Headquarters, inside an old castle
- concentration camp
- Blackhawk Island
- Blackhawk modified fighter-bombers
Synopsis for The Sniper: "The Story of Lord Henry Perkins"
Lord Henry Perkins and London's famous Dr. Blokk are both secretly Nazis. Their secret meeting at Dr. Blokk's office is broken up by the Sniper, who enters via a window, shoots a pistol out of Dr. Blokk's hand, then leaves before the police arrive. Perkins and Blokk proceed with their plan which is to use the Perkins family's castle as a wartime orphanage, removing many children from the frequently-bombed city of London. Or so it seems. Actually Perkins telephones the Prime Minister and threatens to blow up the castle, and all the children in it, if he doesn't surrender to Germany that very night.
The very suspicious Sniper has broken into the castle and is snooping around, when Dr. Blokk gets behind him and head-konks him with a pistol. Sniper doesn't black out, but he's dumped thru a trap door into a dungeon cell. There he meets Lord Francis Perkins, imprisoned twin brother of Henry. The cell's only entrance is the trap door above them, and it's spring-loaded, Lord Francis hasn't been able to get it open the whole time he's been there. But the Sniper has his rifle with him, and three bullets; he's able to spring the lock with one shot. Dr. Block tries to stop them from climbing out of the trap door, so the Sniper yanks him thru it and drops him on the cell floor, then Lord Henry greets the climbers with a handgun. The Sniper sends a rifle bullet down the barrel of this pistol, disarming Perkins, who isn't beaten yet. He throws a switch, activating the timer on the explosive charges that he's planted all around the castle. The Sniper will have time to either save the children or catch the spy, except Lord Francis is on hand to herd the children to safety, while the Sniper chases Lord Henry. Henry snatches a broadsword out of a wall display and flees to the roof, where the Sniper corners him, fights him, and kills him with one last rifle shot. The children, Lord Francis, and the Sniper all escape just before the mines go off and the castle collapses.
Appearing in The Sniper: "The Story of Lord Henry Perkins"
- English Soldier (Dies)
- Miss Blake
- Winston Churchill (Behind the scenes)
- Lord Francis Perkins, Henry's twin.
- Dr. Blokk's office
- Lord Perkins' Castle, many miles from London (Destroyed)
Synopsis for Loops and Banks: "The Russians' Mascot"
Capt. Loops McCann and Lieut. Banks Barrows have been sent to the Russian Front, to supervise the assembly of some P-40s, shipped in crates from America. For two weeks they build these fighters, but aren't allowed to fly them. This drives them crazy. They've got, from somewhere, some "Mickey Finns" and some vodka, so they trick two bearded Russian pilots into drinking knockout cocktails, disguise themselves with fake beards, and try to fly along on the Russian squadron's patrol. They're of course caught, and grounded all over again.
They find a little girl, Olga, a half-starved war orphan, hiding in the hangar, and bring her to the barracks, where the Russian squadron adopts her as their mascot. She endears herself to them by doing their sewing and laundry. This goes on for several days. An escaped enemy pilot sneaks onto the outpost, grabs little Olga, knocks her out and steals a Russian uniform from her, then bluffs his way onto the airfield and steals a P-40. Olga recovers and runs to tell her pals Uncle Loops and Uncle Banks about it, so they steal two more P-40s, and pursue the escaping German. They catch him, and Loops shoots him down, just before six Heinkel fighters show up. Banks shoots down two of them and Loops gets one. A flight of Russian fighters arrives, one more Heinkel is shot down, and the other two escape.
Loops and Banks fly back to the Russian airbase, and rush to the hospital to check on Olga. That's where their American boss confronts them and starts into an energetic disciplinary chewing-out, when little Olga speaks up, and says why they did what they did. This wins over the Colonel, that old softy, and he calms down.
Appearing in Loops and Banks: "The Russians' Mascot"
- Colonel, their C.O.
- Escaped German Pilot (Dies)
- Russian Airmen:
- Banks' stash of "Mickey Finns"
- Russian Curtiss P-40 fighters (one destroyed)
- six German Heinkel fighters (four destroyed)
Synopsis for X, of the Underground: "The Berlin Express
Bob Gray follows X to Berlin, where X has organized an all-girl team of Underground saboteurs. One of them betrays the others to the Gestapo, for a cash reward. Bob Gray pitches in and helps them fight the Gestapo, and he still wants to join their gang. Two officers, and Brock the traitor, are captured alive. The Underground fighters take two votes: 1/ the prisoners are hanged, and 2/ Bob is not allowed to join.
Appearing in X, of the Underground: "The Berlin Express
- Bob Gray, ex-reporter
- Fraulein Brock
- X's all-female Underground agents, seven or more
- Berlin Express
Synopsis for Shot and Shell: "Bunglers in Baghdad"
In Baghdad Shot and Shell get inadvertently embroiled in the intrigues of a cell of saboteurs who plan to destroy Iraq's oil pipelines. They lose two fistfights, then blunder into a secret meeting of the saboteurs, and win this third brawl. The saboteurs try but fail to kill them both with dynamite, but end up knocked out and blown up themselves.
Appearing in Shot and Shell: "Bunglers in Baghdad"
- veiled dancer (gets away?)
- obese European man (Apparent Death)
- his gang (Apparent Death)
- old soothsayer
Synopsis for Phantom Clipper: "Introducing the Phantom Clipper"
Captain Perkins sails the Phantom Clipper in to Norfolk, Virginia, to donate the big sailing ship to the U.S. Navy. Concealed inside its hull are some supercharged engines, a layer of armor plate, two 8-inch guns, six torpedo tubes, and a scouting seaplane.
Elsewhere at these same piers, a gang of saboteurs steals a destroyer, and escapes out to sea. The Phantom Clipper, and its newly reorganized crew the Yankee Clippers, give chase. They capture the ship and the saboteurs alive.
Appearing in Phantom Clipper: "Introducing the Phantom Clipper"
- Yankee Clippers: (First appearance)
- Captain Seth Perkins (has a peg leg) (First appearance)
- Hook, First Mate (has a hook) (First appearance)
- Erik, Engineer (First appearance)
- Sea Biscuit, Bosun (First appearance)
- Lieutenant "Tiger" Shark, USN (First appearance)
- Herr Kohn
- his crew: Karl, others
- Phantom Clipper (First appearance)
- U.S. Destroyer (stolen)
Synopsis for Death Patrol: "The Rescue of Del Van Dyne"
The Death Patrol invade a prison camp in Naziland and rescue Del Van Dyne, who isn't dead after all. In the process, Hank is apparently killed by machinegun fire.
Appearing in Death Patrol: "The Rescue of Del Van Dyne"
- The Death Patrol
- Del Van Dyne
- Chief Chuckalug
- Hank (Apparent Death)
- King Hotintot
- Frere Jacques (formerly The Patchwork Kid)
- Mademoiselle From Armentieres
- The Goucho (First appearance)
- Prison Camp Hospital in Naziland
- Hotintot's Spear
- Hank's Lasso
- Jacques's Slingshot
- Chuckalug's Bow and Arrows
- Goucho's Bolas
- Death Patrol's unique customized warplanes
Synopsis for Blue Tracer: "The Yellow Butcher of Koko Nor"
Japanese soldiers have captured and fortified the Chinese walled city of Koko Nor. When the Blue Tracer swoops in and smashes their fortifications, the Japanese commander orders the execution of one hundred civilians, in reprisal. This has to stop; Wild Bill Dunn has a meeting with the Chinese General about recapturing the town.
That night a large body of Chinese soldiers, flanked by the Blue Tracer, creeps up to the walls of Koko Nor. A signal is given and the mighty juggernaut surges forward and smashes thru the city's wall. A Chinese horde swarms thru the opening, and a city-wide battle ensues; Dunn and his partner Boomerang Jones pile out of the Blue Tracer and join in the street-to-street fighting. Dunn soon learns that the commander, General Muki Zu, has holed up in the city's "Dragon Tower," and he races there on foot. Atop the tower, Gen. Zu is manning a machine gun and inflicting casualties, until Wild Bill races out onto the fortified rooftop and there's a pistol-versus-machine-gun shoot out. That's not going very well for Dunn, but meanwhile Boomerang Jones has scaled an adjacent building, and hits the Japanese officer on the back of the neck with a thrown boomerang. Bill dashes forward and punches out the general. Koko Nor is recaptured.
Appearing in Blue Tracer: "The Yellow Butcher of Koko Nor"
- Gen. Muki Zu (First appearance)
- his Infantry Unit
- 100 Chinese Civilians (All die.)
- Chinese General
- Chinese Infantry
- Koko Nor, China
- Dragon Tower
- undisclosed meeting place in China
Synopsis for Secret War News: "Secret Passage To China Front"
Nat Nitkin's old friend Bill had a tough job conveying American-built bombers to China by cargo ship. With great difficulty he reached Likiang Airbase in China, with a shipload of unassembled Martin Bombers. He got the bombers assembled, recruited and trained crews for them, and prepared to take on the Japanese Air Force. The new squadron's first mission was a leaflet-dropping raid on Shanghai, with a bombing run on a battleship on the return leg of the trip. The squadron took losses at every step of this mission, and none of the bombers survived it.
Appearing in Secret War News: "Secret Passage To China Front"
- Nat Nitkin
- Bill, Major in the Chinese Air Force
- Captain Wang, Cargo Ship Skipper
- Chen, Burma Road Truck Driver
- Colonel Wong, Chinese Air Force
- Wu-Ching, Bomber Pilot (Dies)
- Chang, Bomber Pilot (Dies)
- Lung, Bomber Navigator (Dies)
- New Martin Bombers, assembly required
- Chinese Lockheed Lodestar Bombers
- Freight Steamship
- Japanese Destroyer (Atago Class)
- USN PBY Flying Boat
- Mitsubishi 2-engine bombers
- RAF Curtiss Hawks
- Karigani Pursuit Planes
- Japanese Battleship (Matsui Class)
Synopsis for Atlantic Patrol: "U.S.S. Kearney"
Night, 16-17 Oct 1941: A US destroyer on convoy duty encounters a U-boat, and is damaged by a torpedo hit, but stays afloat and returns to port in Iceland.
Appearing in Atlantic Patrol: "U.S.S. Kearney"
- USS Kearney, DD-432
- Blackhawk: The Man In The Iron Mask is reprinted in The Blackhawk Archives, Volume One.
- Andre appeared to die in Military Comics #3. He caught some serious bullet wounds and jumped down the side of a mountain, to start a landslide. Being a Blackhawk is dangerous. He makes his return in this issue.
- While he's wearing the Iron Mask, Andre speaks normally, without the Maurice Chevalier accent. No wonder nobody recognizes him.
- General von Ezel's grudge against Blackhawk goes back to a previous encounter, in which von Ezel lost ten thousand men.
- The proper Grumman XF5F Skyrockets will be back in Military Comics #15. This issue continues the use of the single-rudder modified version.
- Blue Tracer: General Muki Zu, the infamous "Yellow Butcher of Koko Nor", is missing one eye, and doesn't even wear a patch over the empty socket. He is captured alive at the end of this story.
- In Death Patrol, The Goucho, spelled that way, has joined the team some time between stories. Hank the Rustler is killed with a whole lot of machinegun fire. The previously apparently dead Del Van Dyne rejoins the team.
- Loops and Banks:
- The Russian P-40 Warhawk fighters are painted bright red, and emblazoned with white stars. The German Heinkel fighters are painted in green camouflage tones, with what look like correct markings.
- Lieutenant Barrows has got a supply of "Mickey Finns", which can't possibly be legal.
- First issue for Phantom Clipper by Fred Kida. This series runs until Military Comics #16.
- The Phantom Clipper is a 3-masted, square-rigged clipper ship, only with advanced concealed supercharged engines, armor plate, two 8-inch guns, six deck-mounted torpedo tubes, a fog generator, and a seaplane.
- Secret War News: "This is an actual story based upon inside facts gathered from the British Information Bureaus."
- Shot and Shell were last seen in Norway; no explanation is given for why or how they are now in Iraq.
- A unnamed wizened soothsayer appears a few times in this story, and narrates part of it, and gets the last line: "Yea .. the sands rustle and fold over .. thy lives are an open book .. a comic book! All is revealed ere a month does pass in MILITARY COMICS .. Allah be praised ..."
- The Sniper breaks the Fourth Wall, at the bottom of the first page and the top of the second, to narrate his own story, then again at the ending panel, where he explains why he let Lord Perkins live so long.
- The Sniper gets whacked in the head with a pistol but does not black out.
- X, of the Underground: Bob Gray is now captioned as an "ex-reporter"; last issue he was with the New York Globe.
- Also featured in this issue of Military Comics were:
- World War II Recommended Reading
- Adventures in the Rifle Brigade (Volume 1)
- Adventures in the Rifle Brigade (Volume 2)
- All-American Men of War (Volume 1)
- All-Out War (Volume 1)
- Blackhawk (Volume 1)
- Blitzkrieg (Volume 1)
- Capt. Storm (Volume 1)
- Four-Star Battle Tales (Volume 1)
- G.I. Combat (Volume 1)
- Men of War (Volume 1)
- Military Comics (Volume 1)
- Our Army at War (Volume 1)
- Our Fighting Forces (Volume 1)
- Sgt. Rock (Volume 1)
- Sgt. Rock (Volume 2)
- Star-Spangled War Stories (Volume 1)
- Unknown Soldier (Volume 1)
- Weird War Tales (Volume 1)