America #273-274 "Death of a Hero" (1982)
Writer: David Anthony Hall
Penciler: Mike Zeck
Inker: John Beatty
Colorist: Bob Sharpen
Letterer: Jim Novak
Commandos reunion sets the stage for a seemingly impossible kidnapping
of General Sam Sawyer by Baron Von Strucker. Captain America teams
up with Nick Fury's older S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, (ex-Howlers Gabe, Dum Dum,
and Koenig) when Sawyer shows up at a SAC Command center where Hydra
steals a cache of nukes. The rest of the former Howling Commandos show
up and a firefight ensues between Hydra. Von Strucker escapes and S.H.I.E.L.D.
tracks them down to Hydra Island, which has returned to the surface.
They arrive and a plot of LMD and nuclear holocaust ensues.
by all the surviving
Howling Commandos and
Gen. "Happy" Sam
last seen in Strange
Tales #158. The
this story are not
one of the
few in the
yet to be
this is one
of Von Strucker's "returns" from
story features the best of the Howling Commandos reunions and a rare
event in Marvel history....the death of a long-running character that
has yet to be retconned. The death of "Happy" Sam Sawyer proved
a poignant and heroic storyline for a well-loved character and it's certainly
a must-have for all Fury fans. The plotlines of the story must have been
surprising then, but today seems continuity clumsy and clinched with
its heavy reliance of LMD's and yet another "resurrection" of Von Strucker.
Why Hydra Island resurfaced is never explained, and nothing in this tale
was ever referenced when S.H.I.E.L.D. (2) went back to the island. The
final epilogue is touching and Dum Dum utters an epitaph which fits Sawyer,
and in fact all of them there, "Sam was never made for no wheelchair-you
know that Nick."