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Take 10

Take 10: World War II Heroes

The Invaders, the Howling Commandos and more

Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas.

This week, both CAPTAIN AMERICA: FOREVER ALLIES and SPITFIRE take a fond look back at Marvel heroes of World War II and their brave exploits. Falling in line with this directive, the Secret Cabal selected their top 10 picks for the most noble veterans of that conflict in the Marvel U.

For each character you get the quick rundown as well as a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!


First Appearance: SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS #1 (1963)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: In the Marvel Universe, Gabe Jones holds the distinction of being the first African American to serve in an integrated military unit, with that unit being none other than the elite Howling Commandos. The other Howlers never treated Gabe as anything but a man and soldier, and he earned their respect and admiration time and again. Even following the war, Jones remained one of Nick Fury's closest friends and allies, and continues to do so.
Spotlight Comic: SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS #8-Gabe and the Howlers take on Doctor Zemo!

First Appearance: INVADERS #7 (1976)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: Daughter and sister of two men to take on the role of Union Jack, Jacqueline Falsworth accompanied the Invaders on their dangerous missions even when she had no powers of her own to speak of, then became one of them as the super-fast Spitfire when a blood transfusion from The Human Torch saved her life following an attack by Brother Blood. Jackie proved a spirited addition to the team, willing to risk the new lease she had been given in the cause of freedom.
Spotlight Comic: INVADERS #12-Spitfire is born!

First Appearance: MARVEL COMICS #1 (1939)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Jim Hammond may not technically have been born-he was built-but that didn't stop the fiery synthetic man when it came to battling for liberty as passionately as any hot-blooded patriot. The Human Torch and Toro both made invaluable additions to the Invaders and no doubt presented possibly the most imposing and terrifying visual spectacles Axis troops ever saw during their World War II campaigns. The pride in what he was doing and disgust at what he was battling made the Torch more human than many of the villains he took up flaming arms against.
Spotlight Comic: INVADERS #22-The Torch and Toro take charge!

7. UNION JACK (Brian Falsworth)
First Appearance: INVADERS #18 (1977)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Brian Falsworth began his career as a costumed adventurer battling the Nazi regime as the Destroyer, seeking revenge for the kidnap of his friend and lover Roger Aubrey, transformed into the superhuman Dyna-Mite. Upon rescuing Roger, who himself took up the Destroyer mantle, Brian embraced his own lineage and succeeded his father, James, as Union Jack, Britain's proud defender. As a member of the Invaders, Brian would serve proudly for the remainder of the war, bringing further honor and accolades to his family.
Spotlight Comic: INVADERS #20-The new Union Jack earns his stripes!

First Appearance: SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS #1 (1963)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Boston native Timothy Aloysius Cadwallader Dugan took an interesting road to the Howling Commandos, working as a circus strongman before attracting the attention of Nick Fury by saving his life. Beginning a long tenure as Fury's right hand man that extends to this day, the affectionately nicknamed "Dum Dum," with his trademark bowler hat and handlebar moustache, became probably the most distinct Howler, and maybe the most feared as well thanks in large part to his prodigious strength.
Spotlight Comic: SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS #3-Dugan and his fellow Howlers team with a young Reed Richards!

Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: While he would certainly have never tattooed the stars and stripes or union jack anywhere on his person, Namor was one of the most potent and powerful living weapons aimed at the Axis during World War II. While his loyalty remained primarily to Atlantis, in a weak moment the Sub-Mariner would likely admit a kinship to his Invaders comrades as well as a satisfaction at helping topple a regime that offended his inner nobility greatly.
Spotlight Comic: SUB-MARINER COMICS #8-Namor wages war against the Axis!

First Appearance: SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS #1 (1963)
Why They Make the List: The most fearsome and fearless military unit America and her allies boasted during World War II, this eclectic collection of tough guys were the fellas you wanted watching your back when things got rough in the foxhole. From fearless Nick Fury to dashing Dino Manelli to spirited "Reb" Ralston, the Commandos stood out as a unique group to say the least. The crew teamed with the likes of Captain America and the Invaders and endured casualties to remain dedicated, distinguishing themselves as a group of not-so-average soldiers in a war larger than life.
Spotlight Comic: SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS #1-The Howlers raise hell in WWII!

First Appearance: CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 (1941)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: While Captain America may have grabbed more headlines during World War II, it's not hard to argue his teen sidekick, Bucky Barnes, had the tougher job of the two. In addition to pulling side duty with the Young Allies and other groups, Bucky served as the poster boy for America's war-time youth movement while also undertaking some of the more down and dirty tasks the military didn't want Cap getting mixed up in. It was hardly kids work, but Bucky acquitted himself with distinction.
Spotlight Comic: CAPTAIN AMERICA #50 (2009)-Bucky celebrates his birthday by looking to the past!

First Appearance: CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 (1941)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Nobody wanted to serve his country more than Steve Rogers, but as a frail youth, he didn't qualify for the army's standards as America headed into World War II. Many would have accepted this fate, but Rogers chose to take a tremendous risk and subject himself to an experimental serum that could have killed him, but instead transformed him into Captain America, the one and only super-soldier of his kind. Cap would save countless lives and inspire even more during WWII, proving everybody can find a way to help in times of crisis.
Spotlight Comic: CAPTAIN AMERICA - THEATER OF WAR: OPERATION ZERO-POINT #1-Cap discovers the Nazi secret weapon!

First Appearance: SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS #1 (1963)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: A scrappy kid from Hell's Kitchen, Nicholas Fury crossed the Atlantic Ocean to fight not just for the pride of his own country, but to stop the spread of Nazi tyranny and spare other nations their cruel ambition. Fury possessed no special powers, but his grit, toughness and indomitable spirit were more than enough to establish the early years of a man who has been one of the Marvel Universe's most stalwart saviors. Fury's rough charisma and impressive leadership skills inspired the Howling Commandos and even Captain America himself to follow his cue as he became Marvel's embodiment of the "ordinary" soldier capable of extraordinary heroics.
Spotlight Comic: FURY: PEACEMAKER #1-The untold earliest adventures of Nick Fury!


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as much as I like Wolverine, he could never make this top 10 list. His time duing the war was more back stories and not as a prominant role-player as the 10 listed here. And not to mention the people that DID read these comics back in those would not be too happy seeing a modern day character making a WWI top 10 just cause someone wrote a story that took place years ago that no one read about years ago..


There are a few note worthy omissions here: Wolverine - Served on missions alongside Nick Fury, Captain America, and Black Widow; possibly during a time when he was unaware of his mutant nature due to amnesia caused by a combination of traumatic experiences and his mutant healing factor's reflexive attempt to "heal" him by locking the traumatic memories away. Black Widow - Served alongside Captain America and Wolverine, possibly even Nick Fury; all along serving as a spy and black ops solider. and the most egregious omission: Isaiah Bradley (Original Captain America) - Isaiah was subject to inhumane experiements by the US government in an attempt to perfect the Super Soldier serum. Isaiah then later set out on a rescue mission against military orders. Isaiah "borrowed" the shield and uniform that were intended for Steve Rogers to use in an attempt to free imprisoned jewish captives before they were murdered. During this mission he was subjected to poisonous gas, captured and tortured. Once free from captivity he was imprisoned by the US government for disobeying orders and stealing government property, and his family was informed he had been killed in service. Years later Isaiah was freed from US imprisonment, but his herois actions were never truly recognized by the government; with the exception of Steve Rogers, who after learning of Isaiah visited and paid his respects in person. THIS should have at least earned a honorary mention on your list.


hey! What happened to Wolverine?