Captain America Just Gave Marvel's Howling Commandos a Whole New Meaning
This weeks Your Nerd Side Show:
The following contains spoilers for Captain America: Finale#1, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
For well over a year, Steve Rogers' life has been consumed by the constant battle he has been fighting against the Outer Circle. Through their global conspiracy, the Outer Circle has maintained a stranglehold over the world at large.
After making the trek to the Outer Circle's Shadow Capitol, the titular hero of Captain America: Finale #1 (by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Carmen Carnero, Colan Woodard, and VC's Joe Caramagna) and his allies launch their final strike in the war at hand. In a bid to clear the way for Captain America's last stand against the Outer Circle, Sharon Rogers, now the Destroyer, joins forces with the super-soldier formerly known as Redacted to draw away enemy fire. This proves to be too much for them, at least until Sharon and Redacted are joined by Ian Rogers - and an entire lycanthrope army of (quite literal) Howling Commandos.
Who Were Marvel's Original Howling Commandos?
First appearing in 1963's Sgt. Fury #1 (by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby), the Howling Commandos were an elite strike team formed from various United States Army Rangers. Fury led the Howling Commandos in numerous missions against the Axis Forces during the Second World War. For years, the unit was tasked with going behind enemy lines to recover key figures and vital information, and was often dispatched to far away locations. For their accomplishments, the Howling Commandos went down in history as one of the most successful units of all time, so much so that they played a prominent role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Captain America: The First Avenger.
Long after the Allies emerged victorious over the Axis powers, the Howling Commandos continued to operate throughout the the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Afterwards, many members of the Howling Commandos followed Fury into the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D. to carry on their battles in secret. Even in the modern era, classic members of the elite unit were enlisted into another special forces team in an effort to locate and bring in Frank Castle, aka the Punisher. Between their storied history and the experience that comes along with fighting over the course of nearly a century, there was never any question as to the Howling Commandos' efficiency.
Marvel's Howling Commandos Has Evolved Over the Years
After years of facing off against nearly every kind of threat imaginable and being left in a Life Model Decoy of his own former body, Dum-Dum Dugan finally got to lead his own team of Howling Commandos. Introduced in 2005's Nick Fury's Howling Commandos #1 (by Keith Giffen and Eduardo Francisco), this version of the team was overseen by S.H.I.E.L.D. and its most seasoned operatives, and consisted of monstrous heroes ranging from the Living Mummy to the infamous Man-Thing.
This new team of Howling Commandos established a legacy that both lived up to and existed outside the shadow of the previous version. Their impact was so great that a second lineup was established shortly after the first group disbanded. In spite of how different they were, these Howling Commandos never let go of their military roots and proved themselves to be as effective as the original team, and these same values can be seen in Ian Rogers' pack of werewolf soldiers who share the venerable title.
How Marvel's New Howling Commandos Connect to Captain America
Ian Rogers may not have previously been involved with the Howling Commandos, but as the adoptive son of Captain America he has an understanding of what it means to be part of their legacy. Ian has spent years training and fighting alongside Captain America, and even more years fighting across more covert battlefields on Earth. Upon returning to Dimension Z, Ian has not found a cause of his own to champion, and this could be enough to launch him and his new Howling Commandos into the spotlight.
On top of being Steve Rogers' son, a seasoned superhero in his own right, and the leader of an entire dimension, Ian Rogers is too great of an extension of Captain America to be simply forgotten again. Although he hasn't been around as long as the Winter Soldier or Sharon Carter, Ian's existence is indicative of the kind of high-flying, fantastical stories that made Captain America who he is today, and he and his Howling Commandos deserve their moment in the spotlight.