Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

Two parallel universes from two silver age comic book publishers examined ad naseum!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Fiends: Arch-Enemies for Men of Steel

No no no... we are not speaking of a bald bad guy (well actually we are) or a deformed madmen (wait, yeah we actually are!). Instead, we are considering the OTHER Men of Steel, Sterling and Sarge specifically. Both lads faced several memorable foes during the respectable runs in Zip Comics, Mighty Comics and Sarge Steel/Secret Agent, yet none as persnickety as these two crumps!

Baron Gestapo was the necessary component for every established MLJ hero during World War II, the Nazi opposite number. They each had one: Hangman had Captain Swastika, the Web had Count Berlin, the Shield had the Hun. All were ranked officer in the secret service of the Nazi's infiltrating American society (well except the Hun) and possessed a tenacity not found among most fictional Germans of that era.

Ivan Chung was the rare mixture of Chinese and Russian, enlisted to work with the Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam conflict. Sarge Steel was among those for whom he clashed with, initially unsuccessfully. Chung gained his revenged by sending minions to lop a hand grenade which Sarge smothered at the cost of his left hand!

The brazen attitude of Gestapo, however, was unmatched by his fellow foreign agent. While Chung often used covert means and third parties to exact his revenge, the Baron actually barged right into the White House and threatened Roosevelt in Zip Comics #28! Nevertheless, the superior might and right-left hook combos Sterling delivered always flattened this flailing foe! Still, Gestapo would continue to escape the pokey and plague Sterling through the duration of the war.

Chung eventually succumbed to being allied with various other rogues with a grudge against Sarge, which we considered earlier this year, and when old badly attempted to make a play while Sarge was distracted by the Smiling Skull, it becomes quite evident that Ivan isn't up to snuff from his earlier menacing demeanor. With but a *klunk* Ivan is down for the count. However he ends up getting away, and undoubtedly reconsiders his life as a free lancer after having disenfranchised himself with his foreign masters!

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