Click on the cover for a larger image.

Military Comics Issue No. 7

February 1942

Writer: Dick French, Artist: Chuck Cuidera (Cover art by Cuidera)

The Return of Genghis Khan: High in the Himalaya Mountains, a huge nomad finds an ancient temple guarded by a strange old Mongol. The Mongol tells the nomad that if he can pull an ancient sword from a stone and cleave the tombstone of Genghis Khan, it will prove that he is the reincarnation of Khan. But if he fails, then he will be killed to preserve the secret. The nomad succeeds in pulling the sword from the stone and cleaves the tombstone in two pieces. The Mongol proclaims that he is indeed the reincarnation of Khan, and then promptly crumbles to dust, as befits a 700 year old guardian whose purpose is accomplished. The new Genghis Khan rides into the nearest Mongol village and, with the sword as proof, declares the Golden Horde reborn. The Mongols flock to his banner, and soon he has a huge army that he leads in a sweeping conquest to the sea. Amazingly, the leaders like Churchill and Roosevelt see this primitively armed army of Mongols as a greater threat than Japan or Germany and declare a truce in the World War so that they can be defeated. Hitler agrees to the truce, but secretly sends his agent, Von Trope, to make a pact with Genghis Khan, though he admits his intent to double-cross the Mongol as soon as it is convenient. In the mean time, seven monks approach a mountain mission on horseback. They find the missionary dying. With his last breath, the missionary tells them they must stop Khan. Of course, the monks are really the Blackhawks, in desguise. They ride to find the Horde, which is pillaging and burning its way across Asia. Blackhawk and Chop Chop go in for a closer look. Blackhawk is captured after being struck in the head by horse's hoof. Chop Chop puts up such a fierce resistance that he is made a general by Khan. Von Trope lands in a twin-engine bomber and is taken to Khan, where he makes an offer to provide weapons and planes, and the Nazis and Khan will divide the world between them. Khan refuses, saying he is destined to rule the whole world. Von Trope and Blackhawk are about to be put to torture. The other Blackhawks use Von Trope's bomber to attack the Mongols' encampment. They strafe the Horde, and also rip the tent from 'General' Chop Chop. When Chop sees the predicament Blackhawk is in, he immediately cuts him loose. They all escape in the bomber. But Blackhawk rides back to challenge Khan to single combat. He wins the fight and reveals that Khan is not really immortal, but is wearing armor that deflects arrows and swords. The Mongols apparently consider this a sign that he is not the true reincarnation of Khan and fall on him. The penultimate panel shows Khan's body being picked apart by vultures.

I enjoyed this story. It has some great art work, especially the splash page. The action scenes are done well, too. The story doesn't make a lot of sense though. It has the historical inaccuracies that are common in a comic book, like mistakenly calling refering to the Mongols as Tartars. It also seems very unlikely, that the most powerful nations on Earth would pause in the middle of World War II because of concern about this army of Mongolian warriors armed with swords and bows. I also found the resolution unconvincing. Blackhawk's revealing that Khan wore armor had not been set up anywhere in the story as something that showed him to be a fake. The opening panels showed the nomad actually fulfilling the prophecy and there was nothing in those panels to suggest that he was a fraud. He seemed to be the genuine article. There is a scene early in the story that shows a sword breaking against Khan and his Mongols proclaiming that he is immortal, but that is something they put on him, not something he claimed. I felt like Khan got a raw deal at the end of this. It is signed by 'Chas. Cuidera'.

Other stories:
      The Blue Tracer, by Fred Guardineer
      Loops and Banks, by Bud Ernest
      The Sniper, by Ted
      Shot and Shell, by K. L. Nordling
      Yankee Eagle, by John Stewart (this strip features some great ship artwork)
      Death Patrol, by David Berg
      Miss America
      Inferior Man, by A. Jaffee
      Women of France (a text story)
      Secret War News: Phantom Army of Menace, by A. McWilliams
      The Atlantic Patrol, by A. McWilliams (more excellent ship illustrations)

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