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Our Army At War 210
"I'm Kilroy!"


Story: Robert Kanigher Art: Russ Heath

(Originally Reviewed On 02/12/02)

On the cover by Joe Kubert, Sgt Rock and Easy Company must leap into the water before the enemy submarine base goes up... with them in it! (Holy Yellow Submarine, Batman!)

Paddling on a rubber raft, Little Sure Shot asks Rock what the bottles are doing in the water, and the Sgt. tells him that they're filled with some notes from a scribblin' G.I., whose writing arm he'd like to break! The messages from Kilroy are as follows: "Sgt Rock's Mother Was a Wave -- Kilroy" "Hold Your Nose Before You Dunk" "Please Leave 2 Quarts" and "You're On The Right Track, Ol' Rockhead! * Kilroy"

Beaching their raft near a small fishing village off the Italian coast, and after reading the messages in the bottles, Rock tells Little Sure Shot to get the raft out of sight, and for the rest of Easy to keep their eyes peeled for their contact, in a place filled with enemies! Although the bottle messages were cute, headquarters has told them that there's a hidden German Submarine Base, which is sending out two-man U-Boats, which have been sinking Allied ships. When Bulldozer asks where their contact is, Easy sees a couple of messages from Kilroy... "Got Your Umbrella?" "Don't Get Your Feet Wet, Ol' Rockhead!" Rock is less than happy about the nature of the message, while Bulldozer figures Kilroy's not crazy about him, either. When the tide wipes the messages off the stones, Easy Company sees that they have some unwelcome company, while Rock tells them to make like sand crabs...

Laying half in and half out of the water, they watch as the enemy drew closer, and Rock tells Easy to take them out before they can alert the main force! The Nazi Squad is no match for Easy, enemy soldiers fall to punches, chops, and kicks.

At the sound of a plaintive greeting, Rock turns with his rifle drawn, and sees an old man with a message from their contact. Little Sure Shot asks if the message gives the location of the sub-base, while Rock fumes... "I Can Tell By Your Stripes That Sergeant You Made, But I'm Told That In School You Never Got Past First Grade! * Kilroy" The old man tells them to follow, and Little Sure Shot tells Bulldozer that their contact drew Rock a picture so that he wouldn't have to read the message. He tells them that the Nazis are launching their subs from a cave beneath the inlet, many subs and their mission is a formidable one. Rock tells the old man to go, and thanks him...

Easy Company climbs towards the area of the hidden submarine base, and Little Sure Shot sees a couple of subs making their way in. On a piece of driftwood, "Rockhead... I'm surprised you've come this far -- without breaking your leg! * Kilroy!"

From their vantage point, Easy sees a group of Waffen SS guarding the entrance, and Bulldozer wonders what their next move will be, to which Rock tells him... follow my lead... just follow my lead! Removing a couple of bullets from his ammo belt, Rock throws them between the guards and Easy, and while they rush over to find out what made the noise, Easy Company circles around them, and head down the entrance-hole...

Noiselessly, Easy Company head down... safeties off... stepping lightly... at the ready! At the bottom, they see the sub-base in all its glory, and with such an arrangement, The Ratzies can really make a dent in the allied supply routes, but while Rock tries to come up with a way to stop them, Easy is discovered, and told to raise their hands!

Now treated as special guests by the U-Boat Base's commanding officer, Easy is given a tour, and are told that they are the first non-aryans to see the operation firsthand. When asked if he finds it interesting, Rock gives an anachronistic Artie Johnson trademark reply... Ver-ry interestin'! The commanding officer regrets that their visit is to be of a short nature, but such are the fortunes of war, and they are lined up against a wall to be shot... Ready -- Aim -- F--

A grenade is dropped in the middle of the area, causing both the Nazis and Easy Company to scatter! Gritting his teeth and covering his ears for the inevitable explosion, Rock opens his eyes and is speechless when he discovers that the detonation pin is still attached, along with a note around the handle! "I Figured You Could USE One Of These, Ol' Rockhead! Don't Let It Go Off Under Your Tin Pot! *Kilroy"

Picking up the potato masher, Rock tells Easy to wipe the floor with some Nazi soldiers, which Bulldozer, Jackie Johnson, Little Sure Shot, and Ice Cream Soldier do with aplomb, clearing the way for Rock to reach the sub's fuel tanks, then telling the men to clear off while he chucks the masher into the fuel! Bulldozer and Jackie assure him that they'll be done in a sec, and Rock pulls the pin, then both he and Easy dive for the water...!

Both he and Easy Company make it to the cave entrance before the explosion, and it feels like half of Italy was caught in the blast when the fuel went! Easy Company took their time in resurfacing... the fuel's pressure pushing them deeper than they would have thought. With the sub base out of commission, Rock has time to wonder what became of Kilroy?

Staggering onto shore, Rock figures that the graffiti writer would be well served to be caught in the explosion, but admits that he did help with the mission, but it's no reason to be provoking him... even as they walk along the sand, not reading the last message... "Sgt. Rock's Mother Was A Petrified Tree! Kilroy"

In the Take Ten Letters Page, Tony Isabella from Cleveland, Ohio writes about Our Army At War #206: The cover was one of the finest. It's refreshing to see some lovelies on a war comic, and the ones you drew were really great. A terrific cover.

"There's A War On" was a very good story, but I think it could have been better with greater development. I realize that you are busy, but since Russ Heath is reportedly taking over Rock, why not expand the story length?

One final suggestion on "Rock" and your other regular characters. Why not alternate artists more? I would like to see artists not usually associate with war comics (Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Nick Cardy, and Murphy Anderson) do some material for the DC war titles.

The Battle Album (though not interesting to me, as I am not a war-buff), was beautiful. I realy love the artwork contained in these fact pages. Ken Barr is a talented newcomer and I hope to see more of his work.

"The Wall", though a reprint, was a good story. If you must use reprints, reprint stories of other wars like this one.

Ken Barr scored a second time with "Death Crowns An Ace."

Joe replies: In answer to some of your points and questions:

As you can recognize from the lead story in this issue, Russ Heath illustrated Rock, but "taking over" is an inaccurate phrase.

Anytime we can get hold of artists the caliber of those you mentioned, we'll grab 'em - just as we did Ken Barr.

And keep writing, Tony... we'll keep listening.

This issue "features" Kilroy, a graffiti writer who drives Sgt. Rock as crazy as Mxyzptlk would drive Superman!

Russ Heath is an artist, whose art makes you believe that he was there in person while the story was taking place.

Robert Kanigher would give Sgt. Rock a battle antenna, which was on par with Spider-Man's spider-sense and Daredevil's radar sense. Heck, even parts of Rock's uniform, such as his helmet would begin to speak and narrate some stories, on par with the symbiote costume which would be known as Venom!

This Review Is Dedicated To Tony Isabella

Steve Chung
"I'm Review!"