Gold Key's comic book version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. never hit the same tongue-in-cheek vibe that the original TV series always had, but it featured the same sort of strong plots and action that were also a trademark of the early seasons of the show.
The 12th issue (May 1967--writer unknown; art by Mike Sekowski) is a good example of this. It's a great yarn, typical of the skillfully told stories that Gold Key regularly gave us.
"The Dead Man's Diary Affair" starts with a THRUSH agent faking his death. Alex Devoe is a master of disguise used by THRUSH to deliver cash payments to its agents around the world. But Devoe decides to go into business for himself, faking his death in a plane crash and disappearing with a half-million dollars of THRUSH cash.
At first, the heads of THRUSH assume Devoe was killed in the crash and that the money burned. But Devoe knows that it won't be long before they figure out he's alive. For Devoe to live long enough to enjoy his ill-gotten gains, he needs to destroy THRUSH before they destroy him.
And what better way to do this than to enter UNCLE headquarters in disguise, replace Mr. Waverly (UNCLE's leader) with himself and then use UNCLE's best agents and his own diary--full of information on THRUSH activities--to destroy the evil organization.
It's a strong plot concept and even includes an explanation for why Devoe doesn't just send UNCLE the diary and let them do the work of dismantling THRUSH on their own. He wants to be personally sure the bad guys are destroyed and also wants the personal satisfaction of overseeing the process himself.
Solo and Kuryakin check out a lead from the diary, which leads to the capture of a race car driver who was smuggling gold. With this confirmation that the diary's information is accurate, the two agents take off on a multi-nation montage, dismantling several THRUSH operations.
Finally, "Mr. Waverly" joins his top agents when they prepare to raid a conclave of THRUSH leaders. But here his plan starts to unravel. Though his disguise skills have made him Waverly's physical double, he doesn't have Waverly's speech patterns and personality down exactly. Soon, Kuryakin begins to have doubts and sends a request back to New York to thoroughly search the headquarters.
In the meantime, THRUSH has spotted the UNCLE agents and arranged an ambush. Solo survives, but "Waverly" is killed. Much to Solo and Kuryakin's relief, the real Mr. Waverly is found tied up in a closet back at HQ.
There are a few minor quibbles with the story. It's a little too dialogue-heavy and it seems unlikely that Waverly could be tied up in a room at UNCLE headquarters for what must have been days without someone stumbling over him. But these are indeed quibbles. Overall, the story has a strong, internally logical plot, exciting action and an effective villain in Alex Devoe.
Next week, we return to Lost Valley for yet another visit with Turok and Andar.