Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Most Dangerous Game of World War II

A few years ago, I wrote a post describing that how--according to fiction--the world is full of evil Big Game Hunters.

Well, Our Army at War #196 is further proof of that. The issue includes a 9-page back-up story titled "Indians Don't Fight by the Book," featuring some typically wonderful Russ Heath art work. It's a World War II-era tale, but it manages to fit an evil Big Game Hunter into all the same.

The protagonist is a Seminole Indian named Joe Swamp Fox. He's having a hard time learning to drill and march or otherwise do things according to the book, which earns him the ire of his sergeant.  But Joe still knows how to fight--even if he doesn't fight the army way.

When his squad is ambushed, it's Joe who saves the day, though he gets captured while covering the escape of his buddies.

The local German commander is Colonel Kurz, who happens to be a big fan of Westerns and jumps at the chance to lead a "posse" on an Indian hunt. So Joe is given a bow and a knife, then given a head start before Kurz and two other Germans pursue him on horseback. Kurz, in the best tradition of Evil Big Game Hunters, is determined to show that the "inferior Redskin" can be defeated by the "German Aryan."

Well, that doesn't go well. Joe lays a false trail and gets the Germans to separate. This gives him a chance to kill one of them and get a rifle. From there, it's pretty easy to pot another German and then capture a now-wounded Kurz.

Rather than leaving Kurz to die, Joe then carries the German for miles through horrible weather back to the American lines.

The story is good one, carried mostly by Heath's magnificent art. I think it would have been better served as a longer story--perhaps even a 20-pager. That would have allowed the man-hunt to go on longer, building up a greater degree of suspense and excitement.

But it's still fun for what it is, allowing Colonel Kurz to join the ranks of Evil Big Game Hunters such as General Zaroff and Sebastian Moran.

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