Young Allies 70th Anniversary Special #1: Review

Aug 2009
Stan Lee, Bob Oksner

Story Name:

You Must Remember This ...

Review & Comments

Rating:
3 stars

Young Allies 70th Anniversary Special #1 Review by (May 9, 2011)
Hank wears a yamulke, which he wisely removes before pretending to be a German officer. He probably wore it in all his Young Allies appearances, yet no-one in the so-far reprinted issues makes reference to his Jewishness, not even Red Skull or other Nazis. But then no-one says anything about Whitewash being black, except for Whitewash himself. This adds to the sense of unreality in Young Allies, even for a medium containing an Atlantean, a flaming android and a being from the smoke dimension. For instance in #1 they 'invade' Berlin to rescue someone from the Red Skull and get away with it. They take a long time circumnavigating the globe without air travel. And when they eventually get home Cap's only response is that he's been lonely since Bucky went to visit his pals, and Torch was just beginning to worry about where his ward Toro was.

Young Allies comic lasted from Summer 1941 to #20 October 46. Meanwhile they also featured in Kid Komics #1-10 February 43 to Spring 46, plus Amazing Comics #1 Fall 44, Complete Comics #2 Winter 45 and Mystic Comics V2#4 March 45. After the demise of their own comic they moved into MMC#75-83 August 46 to July 47 and Sub-Mariner Comics #22 Spring 47. In the modern Marvel scheme of things the post-war issues would have to feature the 2nd Bucky, Fred Davis. And this issue, along with the Captain America: Forever Allies limited series, makes it clear that many or most of the war-time issues must be fake in the new Winter Soldier version of history, because the 4 Sentinels enlisted in the forces.

The story in this issue of Bucky's meeting with the 4 boys and their clash with Red Skull is a mutated mish-mash of selected bits from the text stories and their 2 meetings with the Skull in YA#1 and #4. Here Bucky isn't affiliated to the Sentinels, he is just sent to talk to them in what looks like a large convention. The 4 named boys are group leaders who are about Bucky's age or older. (Bucky was 16 when he was introduced to Cap in Brubaker's CAv5#12.) Modern Bucky complains that the comics made them all look and act 12 years old. Toro's joining the group and vying with Bucky for leadership happened in YA#1. But the foiling of Red Skull's sabotage plans relates better to YA#4. (In YA#1 they stopped him from extracting a vital message from a British spy.) Cap and the Torch turned up to help at the end in both issues (but it didn't happen *every* issue of YA). Bucky and Toro met for the first time in YA#1 and in this retelling. In anybody's chronology this puts the event before the formation of the Invaders soon after Pearl Harbor. Which fits with the publication date of YA#1. In YA#1 Cap and Torch also claimed to meet for the first time, which would be true in Timely comics. However in this issue they may have met before, which would tie in with Brubaker's Marvels Project #6.

In this issue's main story Roger Stern puts a modern spin on the story of Timely's Young Allies, young boys who fought crooks, Nazis and Japanese during WWII. The group grew out of the Sentinels of Liberty, which in our world was a club of youngsters (probably boys) who answered adverts in Captain America Comics from #1 onwards (3 of which are reprinted in this issue). The club had the usual badges and secret code. In the world of the comics the Sentinels were a boys club led by Bucky Barnes. Before the Young Allies comic itself, the Sentinels appeared in 2 text stories in CAC#4 and #8, reprinted here in the wrong order as the 4th and 2nd stories. The members mentioned in #4 bear no relation to the YA characters, but those in #8 are recognisable but with slightly different names. Percy 'Knuckles' Bartwell became Percival 'Knuckles' Aloysius O'Toole in YA, and Jefferson Van Smythe became Jefferson Worthington Sandervilt. Tubby Tinkle gained a forename Henry, and Whitewash was given the surname Jones. This issue claims that the names in all the comics were changed to protect their identities. The real names here are Pat 'Knuckles' O'Toole, Geoffrey Worthington Vandergill, Henry Tinkelbaum and Washington 'Wash' Carver Jones. (Strangely no-one comments on the fact that Bucky Barnes' and Steve Rogers' real names were used in comics.) The club in the text stories seemed to only be a small local affair. But maybe they were 2 different local chapters of the bigger club, which would explain why the boys in #4 were completely different. The boys in these 2 stories refer to themselves as the Sentinels of Liberty. It is only the title of the story in #8 which calls them the Young Allies. But in YA#1 the Sentinels club is described as nation-wide and the named characters seem to be a local subset specially-trained by Bucky to be the Young Allies. In the text stories the boys only know Bucky's civilian identity, but in YA he leads them in costume.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Young Allies 70th Anniversary Special #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This is set during the period when Captain America (Steve Rogers) was thought dead, and Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes) had become his replacement.

Bucky visits the grave of Sgt Duffy in snow-covered Arlington National Cemetery in Late December. Duffy was in charge of the recruits at Camp Lehigh, including Pvt Steve Rogers in most issues of Timely's Captain America Comics.

Bucky remembers living at Lehigh with his father, who was killed at this time of year on a training exercise in 1937. (I think this is the first time a date has been given for his father's death.) Bucky spent 3 years toughening up after that, until the government made him the original Captain America's partner for 4 years of war.

Bucky's early memories tie in with those established for the Winter Soldier version of Bucky in Ed Brubaker's run of Captain America. They present a harder Bucky than in 1940's Captain America Comics, whom the government presented already trained to Cap as a partner. This is also why Bucky is shown toting a machine gun, something which happened rarely in earlier tellings. The previous idea of Bucky becoming Cap's sidekick by accidentally discovering his identity was declared a PR gimmick by Brubaker in The Marvels Project. Much as most of the Timely Young Allies history is treated here.

He also remembers lecturing to the Sentinels of Liberty youth group, where he met the future Young Allies:- Pat 'Knuckles' O'Toole, Washington 'Wash' Carver Jones (probably named after African-American polymath George Washington Carver), Geoffrey Worthington Vandergill and Henry Yosef Tinkelbaum. A month later they tailed him to a fight with Nazi saboteurs at a Naval yard led by the Red Skull. They joined Bucky in the fight, soon followed by Toro, and then Captain America and the Human Torch. This was Bucky and Toro's first meeting, and they started squabling over leadership of the other boys.

The government saw PR value in naming the 6 boys the Young Allies, and giving them their own comic. The comic exaggerated their exploits, and made up most of them, especially the later ones after the real 4 Sentinels of Liberty joined the army.

Bucky then seeks out a special memorial grave for the Young Allies, and sees only Hank and Geoff's names on it. Knuckles and Wash must still be alive! He tracks down Knuckles in hospital, and finds Wash visiting him. He convinces them of who he is, and tells them of his life as Winter Soldier.

They recall the last time the 6 Young Allies all had a reunion, in liberated Paris at the end of August 1944. Hank had been in the Marines, but now he and Geoff were working for the O.S.S., Knuckles was a Private in the army and Wash was a pilot in the Tuskegee Airmen, the African-American 332nd Fighter Group. They complained about their portrayal in the comics, especially the stereotypical comedy negro 'Whitewash'.

Knuckles offered to split a bottle of brandy he was given by a grateful French farmer. But their celebration was aborted when Geoff spotted a known German agent Kleinschmidt. They followed him and disrupted his cell's plan to burn down Paris with incendiary bombs. (Kleinschmidt mentions that they are doing what von Choltitz wouldn't. Gen'l Dietrich von Choltitz was governor of Paris. Hitler ordered him to destroy Paris rather than let the Allies have it, but he refused.) Geoff and Hank probed the nazi forces pretending to be SS officers, before calling the others in. Torch absorbed the flames when the warehouse full of incediaries ignited during the battle. Kleinschmidt tried to escape but Bucky and Wash caught him on Wash's motorbike. Modern Bucky reveals that Red Skull was behind the incediary plan.

After the war Wash flew in Korea and was promoted to Colonel. Knuckles became a drill Sergeant until he retired to run a tavern. Geoff transferred to Naval Intelligence and the fledgling CIA and died in Indochina/Vietnam. Hank was a successful business man until he died in an accident.

Bucky tells them what he knows about Toro's death in Sub-Mariner #14. He doesn't know about Toro's resurrection happening in Avengers/Invaders #12 in the same month as this issue. More significantly he doesn't remember that he himself, as young Bucky from 1943, used the Cosmic Cube to cause that resurrection. But then I believe his life as Winter Soldier has left him with holes in his memory.

In the present day, Wash and Knuckles show Bucky the still-unopened bottle of brandy. They have kept it in a tontine, i.e. it goes to the last surviving member of the team. But they drink much of it that night, before Knuckles passes away.

Wash marches in the President's inaugural ceremony, and then dies a few months later. This issue ends with Bucky emptying the rest of the brandy bottle in front of the now-completed gravestone, with the names of all 4 Sentinels and pictures of all 6 Young Allies.

Roger Stern wrote another story featuring present-day Bucky and the wartime Young Allies, in the Captain America: Forever Allies limited series which Peter has documented on this site. The present-day portions of the 2 stories overlap slightly, as Forever Allies opens with Wash's funeral, which occurs before the final scene of this issue

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> Young Allies 70th Anniversary Special : Book info and issue index


Story #2

The Young Allies Deal a Blow for Justice

Writer: Stan Lee. Editor: Joe Simon.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

This is the text story from Captain America Comics #8. Sentinel of Liberty Percy 'Knuckles' Bartwell sees Betty Ross a prisoner of a gang who want information about the government's new super-torpedo. He rounds up other Sentinels Jefferson Van Smythe, Whitewash and Tubby Tinkle and their President Bucky Barnes, who phones Steve Rogers at Camp Lehigh. Betty is threatened with torture, so the boys burst in and attack the gang. The crooks overpower them, but they have delayed things enough for Captain America to arrive and save the day.


Story #3

The kidnapping of Diana Dunn

Writer: Ray Gill. Penciler: Bob Oksner. Inker: Bob Oksner. Editor: Joe Simon.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

This is the Terry Vance story from Marvel Mystery Comics #14. Terry Vance schoolboy sleuth and his pet monkey Dr Watson accompany their friend cub reporter Deadline Dawson to interview teen actress Diana Dunn. Unfortunately they interrupt filming when they try to stop what they think is a kidnapping. Later they see Diana really kidnapped, disguised as more filming. But they follow the kidnappers and see it is for real. Dawson goes to fetch the police while Terry and Dr Watson sneak into the kidnappers' basement. Dr Watson causes a diversion while Terry rescues Diana. And Dawson arrives with the police to arrest the gang. This story isn't directly relevant to the Young Allies, except to show that other teen characters were featured in Timely comics. Terry ran in Marvel Mystery Comics from #10 to #57 and then transferred to Mystic Comics v2#1-2. He was accompanied by Dr Watson from the start, and Deadline Dawson joined the regular cast from the 2nd appearance in MMC#11.


Story #4

Captain America and the Bomb Sight Thieves

Writer: Stan Lee.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

This is the text story from Captain America Comics #4. Bucky Barnes is President of the Sentinels of Liberty youth club in his civilian identity. They meet in a room next to one where professor Colby has invented a new bomb sight. (This club has members named Pete Keller, Joey and Larry.) One day crooks Monk and One-Eye interrupt a club meeting and break into Colby's room, intending to steal a bomb sight and sell it to a foreign dictator. Unfortunately for them Steve Rogers is there to give a patrotic talk to the club. Steve knocks One-Eye out of the clubroom, while the boys pile on Monk. Steve takes the opportunity to change to Captain America and returns to deal with Monk.



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Bob Oksner
Bob Oksner
Paolo Rivera
Paolo Rivera (Cover Penciler)
Paolo Rivera (Cover Inker)
Paolo Rivera (Cover Colorist)

Editor: Joe Simon.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Betty Ross
Betty Ross

(Elizabeth Ross)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes

(James Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(James "Bucky" Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Jim Hammond)
Red Skull
Red Skull

(Johann Shmidt)

Plus: Deadline Dawson, Doctor Watson (Monkey), Nazis, Sentinels of Liberty, Terry Vance, Young Allies.