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All-Winner’s Squad: Band of Heroes #3: Review

Aug 2011
Paul Jenkins, Carmine DiGiandomenico

Story Name:

Days of Glory

Review & Comments

4 stars

All-Winner’s Squad: Band of Heroes #3 Review by (August 22, 2011)
Paul Jenkins shares with Ed Brubaker (in his Captain America and Marvels Project comics) the idea that Timely comics in the Marvel Universe were propaganda. But to Brubaker this meant that they were mostly fiction. Jenkins has them mainly fictionalised versions of real events in the war, as in the comic story shown in #1 which mimicked the actual actions of Blue Diamond and Invisible Man in Occupied France. (As an aside, it is astonishing how few real Timely stories were actually set in the actual war. Even after Pearl Harbor. And even Captain America stories. In fact it might be true that Sub-Mariner spent more stories fighting Nazi troops than Cap did.) Vagabond wasn't just a 1-issue wonder. He had stories in USA Comics #2-4, Young Allies #4 and Comedy Comics #11 (and he may have been Fighting Hobo in USA#5). He was one of the strangest of heroes with his hobo persona and his clownish costume (as seen in Bill Bryon's memory) and antics. Davey Drew and the Demon are taken from Mystic Comics #7-10. Davey fought the evil Demon, protected by a mystical cloak and with the help of the Prince of Good. His pointed ears here suggest that Davey and the Demon have merged. I don't know who the man with goggles is. The flying helmet he wears inside the comic suggests he may be American Ace (or one of the other pilots) mentioned last issue. Looking at the finned helmet and goggles on the cover makes think of the undersea hero Fin from Daring Mystery Comics #7-8 and its successor Comedy Comics #9. He did get a mention in Jenkins' interview. But the rest of Fin's costume is nothing like that on the cover. We still have no confirmation that Archie the medic is Archie the Gruesome (also mentioned in Jenkins' interview). His lone appearance in Comedy Comics #10 hasn't been reprinted, so I have no idea if his child-like speech pattern is a clue.

If the intro page was helpful, the covers get more misleading. There is a Victory Boy there, as misplaced as he was last issue. Blue Diamond and Transisto-Mech are similarly no-shows. Captain America is depicted in WWII battle gear, although he only appears this issue in present-day civvies. Father Time is shown (not Moon Man). The only valid entrant is Young Avenger. And maybe the guy in goggles and a finned helmet is supposed to be the one in goggles and aviator's flying helmet inside? Cap and Bucky aren't in the WWII bits this time, despite accompanying the squad in their landing on Guadalcanal a few days ago (last issue). Modern Cap says he stayed part of the squad until after the Ardennes Offensive (Battle of the Bulge), Dec 44-Jan 45. (But that makes his stint (since early 1942) cover most of the US's part of the war, hardly the short period he describes it as to Alyssa.) Of course Cap would have to frequently leave the Crazy Sues to fit in his adventures with the Invaders, and all the other WWII stories modern Marvel has told about him. Not to mention all the Timely tales (but see below). There are other characters from #2 that I can't see in this one:- Father Time, Fighting Yank, Flash Foster, Taxi Taylor and Transisto-Mech. And Blue Diamond and the Victory Boys from #1's 1944 scenes still haven't joined. The intro page repeats the idea that the only comic issue containing Captain Flame was pulled from distribution because of his death. But #2 shows his book being on hold in 1942, and #1 has him still in action in 1944 events in #1. Hopefully more light will be shed on this in future issues. This issue continues to show that the Marvel Universe's Timely comics differs from ours. We see an issue of an imaginary Boys' Hero Action Comic, starring Cap and Bucky, Blue Diamond, Vagabond and Taxi Taylor, and supposedly introducing Moon Man.

In Paul Jenkins' interview in he said that the central character of the series would be Slo-Mo Jones. But the 1st 2 issues were told from Young Avengers' POV. This issue we are presumably witnessing the switchover to Slo-Mo. I don't know whether Loki was the mystery man lurking in a trenchcoat in #1. It doesn't seem his style. When he popped up at the end of #2 I entertained the notion that he might be Alyssa's ally. But now he just turns out to be one of the bad guys. There is a question of when the present-day portions of this series happen in Marvel chronology. The presence of adult Loki suggests it precedes the Siege event (or is in the future after adult Loki doubtless returns). Steve Rogers' appearance in this issue is out of costume, allowing it to be between his return from 'death' and Siege. But this assumption could be shattered if he is shown as Captain America in later issues. In #1 and #2 I complained that it wasn't easy to connect names to faces in the crowded war scenes. And I was only able to figure out who a lot of the characters were by reference to Jenkins' interview (and Timely reprints and helpful Internet sites like This time there are helpful names and pictures of some of the cast on the introduction page. For instance that's the only way I would have known that the red-bearded guy who appears in one panel is Vagabond. On the other hand this appears to be contradicted by the page of Bill Bryon (Young Avenger)'s memories which shows 3 costumed heroes (in comics panels) and 3 deaths-in-action. Moon Man is clearly seen in costume and death. But Vagabond-in-costume is accompanied by a dead man who definitely doesn't have a red beard (or red hair). On the third hand Young Avenger-in-costume obviously didn't die in action, and is pictured next to a dead Victory Boy (possibly his cousin Piotr, see #1).

#4 makes it clear I misread part of this issue. It wasn't Johnson who had the death wish, it was Davey Drew. And as with #2, I think I missed spotting an unremarked Blue Diamond. The man on the cover with a finned helmet is confirmed to be Fin next issue. But the man with goggles inside this issue still doesn't look like him. It's not American Ace, who only joins next issue. He could still be one of the other unnamed pilots Sgt Byrd mentioned last issue. Another goggly possibility is Taxi Taylor.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

All-Winner’s Squad: Band of Heroes #3 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue concentrates more on the present-day storyline than the WWII events.

Writer Alyssa Bryon has been transcribing the memoirs of her grandfather Bill, who revealed that he was the WWII hero Young Avenger, and a member of the army unit the Crazy Sues (Specialized Unit Enhanced Soldiers). But he didn't get very far before having a heart attack. And then Loki materialised.

Last issue Alyssa got cryptic messages on her laptop from someone mentioning Project Firefly. The Norse god of trickery wants to know who this was. Alyssa genuinely doesn't know. Loki warns her not to investigate the subject. And if she's contacted again, to tell her mystery informant to contact Loki.

Gramps is taken to hospital but dies. His funeral is attended by Captain America (Steve Rogers) and wheelchair-bound Sgt Byrd (joint leaders of the Crazy Sues). When Alyssa questions him Cap claims to know nothing about Operation Firefly. She also spots aged Slo-Mo Jones and tries to corner him. But he escapes (presumably with a remnant of his old super-speed).

On the way home her cryptic informant takes over her car radio. He tells her she is being followed by 2 men-in-black. He can't give her information directly, but he wants her to continue interviewing the few surviving members of the Crazy Sues. He gives her Slo-Mo's address.

At first Slo-Mo says he can't talk to her because he signed an official secrecy document. But he relents through guilt, and tells her he killed Captain Flame.

The WWII flashbacks this issue are on Guadalcanal 13th August 1942, a few days after the invasion by US Marines last issue. The 1st flashback is in the memories of the dying Bill Bryon. The 2nd may be in Slo-Mo's memory. Bill also sees some deaths:- a Victory Boy, Vagabond and Moon Man (but see my Comments).

The squad is being led by Sgt Byrd. There are a lot of guys from last issue. Merzah (the Mystic), Cortez (Captain Flame), (Jap-Buster) Johnson, Slo-Mo Jones, Archie the medic, (Captain) Strong are mentioned. Moon Man was unidentifiable last time but comes to the fore this issue. I also spotted Young Avenger and the Invisible Man. There are 2 new guys Davey Drew and Vagabond, who are named and pictured in a helpful intro page. There is also an unnamed guy with flying helmet and goggles.

Captain Flame does much of the work as usual with his ability to absorb and redirect energy, while Merzah detects enemy movements. Slo-Mo and Strong get injured. But white Strong carries black Jones out of danger, despite his racial bias shown last issue.

Cortez is overloaded with energy and the flashback ends with him about to explode next to Johnson and Drew. Johnson seems to have a death wish.

Carmine DiGiandomenico
Carmine DiGiandomenico
Andy Troy
Mico Suayan (Cover Penciler)
June Chung (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Loki Laufeyson)

> All-Winner’s Squad: Band of Heroes: Book info and issue index

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