For today's first hit of World War II heart and machismo, let's take it back to January of 1969 for Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos # 62 by Gary Friedrich, Dick Ayers and company. While we're used to Fury being a hard assed, cigar chomping leader, here we get him as a loud mouthed Army recruit starting basic training in 1941 before America actually entered the conflict. Sgt. Bass is in charge here and has only nine weeks to whip these bums into shape. Straight out of Hell's Kitchen, the only reason Fury signed up was because he lost his job and was flat broke. Hoping to wait it out a couple years, Fury figures on breezing through basic and challenges Bass to a fight nearly right away. The result? Big mouthed Fury gets socked in the gut and has to be helped to his feet by fellow recruit Jim Schaeffer who tells Fury to get that chip off his shoulder.
Fury becomes the necessary scapegoat of the unit and is dubbed "Foul-Up" by Bass. The seemingly rough sergeant knows there's a great soldier inside of Fury, it just needs to be brought out. Bass gets a little bit of backstory and heart as we learn that his son Danny wouldn't enlist due to being a pacifist. The brash Fury doesn't see it that way and can't stand the needling. Wanting to quit, the other troops won't let him, nor will the top brass. During their final training mission, things get real with Nazi saboteurs take over the training grounds and firing live shells at the soldiers, killing two. Fury is thrown into command and takes out the gunners with a pineapple (grenade). But not before taking part of a blast and losing half of his shirt as per Fury usual.
It was interesting to see Fury's origins being such a jackass but could have used a little more fleshing out as to why Bass and the brass saw so much potential in him. Most of the issue Fury is complaining and ready to quit, not exactly showing off glimpses of greatness. Sadly no awesome Hostess ads here, we just get notes about bulking up, learning karate and finishing high school. Jim Schaeffer doesn't ring a bell but someone so integral to Fury's beginnings has to come back at some point as an ally or villain, right?! Guess I'll just have to keep reading.