I'll be honest: I HATED that they made DUM DUM DUGAN a LMD (Life Model Decoy) AKA another android in the Marvel Universe. And that he had died in 1966! All as part of the Original Sins crossover that added a lot of grief, even though a lot of it didn't make much sense and still doesn't. But the Dugan retcon did to an extant since the Ol' Walrus has been fighting against evil since the late 30s. I can't quite accept that practically every Silver/Bronze/Modern Age appearance of Dum Dum wasn't actually him.

They tried to restore some dignity by having the LMD learn what he really and destroy himself after pleading for non-existence. Of course, that wasn't the end. The Duganator was reactivated in SHIELD #9 (N'15), its fiftieth anniversary issue whose first story used JACK KIRBY's original concept artwork for what became "Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD" inked by none other than JIM STERANKO! And they reprinted the actual first appearance of SHIELD from Strange Tales #135 (Au'65).

But it is the second story, "Dugan Lives!" that interests me the most. SHIELD Director MARIA HILL has Tech Agent Paul Kraye revive Dugan's consciousness in a new, more powerful artificial body. He's not happy because, according to him, he's not Dum Dum Dugan, never was Dugan and can never be Dugan. He wants oblivion but Hill tells him only she can grant him that...for his co-operation!

They enter Area 13, the base of the new HOWLING COMMANDOS, monsters "drafted" by SHIELD to combat the horrors of the world. Now called S.T.A.K.E. (Special Threat Assessment for Known Extranormalities) and led by a driven MARTIN REYNA, the monsters are kept in detention cells. Reyna considers them non-people with no rights including a zombie that was once JASPER SITWELL. The sight of his late comrade denied his grave as well sends Dugan into a rage which spurs Reyna to become WARWOLF and slashes Dugan's face, revealing the metal underneath. Reyna, however, does not consider himself a monster.

Reyna, Dugan and the late Sitwell are sent to Oakland to find a creature with Reyna referring to Dugan as "Robot" and Sitwell who can track monsters as "Wormfood".

Meanwhile we learn that Maria Hill cannot shut down the Dugan persona nor does she know where all his spare bodies are. She has no real control over Dum Dum Dugan. It's all a bluff.

Back in Oakland, Duggan gets attacked and "destroyed" by KID ABOMINATION a thirteen year old gamma mutate. Inhabiting another body, Dugan is able to communicate with Sitwell to de-escalate the violence.

Dugan decides to stay with STAKE to keep an eye on things while secrets and plots go on around him leading to Howling Commandos of SHIELD #1.

________________________________________________________________________-

I like this new direction and look forward to the new series. Granted Dugan is a lot like DC's Robotman and Tower's No-Man. Though no longer human, he's the most human character in the story. He'll need more allies beyond the Zombie Sitwell whose just as much as a mystery as everyone else. Behind his gruff exterior, there is compassion and morality that unfortunately is rare in comics nowadays!

It screams for an Original Human Torch guest spot as well as the Marvel Monsters.

I would give this series a chance!

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I'm torn by the Dugan revelation in that it was really implausible that so many Howlers were still alive and getting more so every day. This is a clever way to address that. OTOH, like you my brain is laboring to recon Dum Dum back to 1966!

It does seem as if Marvel is deliberately retiring its WWII heroes. Reb Ralston was killed a few years back, Fury and Captain America have been replaced, and now Dum Dum. I haven't seen Gabe Jones or Eric Koenig in some time. Bucky's off in space.

That seems a little sad until you realize that DC also tried to rid itself of its wartime heroes at least twice and did it really badly both times! Now they're retconned out of existence, which is certainly better than the Extant travesty.

As to the new series, you make it sound interesting. Yeah, Dugan's new status quo is very similar to NoMan. But it's a swell concept and nobody's using it, so why not?

As to the Final Fates of the original Howlers:

  • In Secret Warriors #17 (Ju'10), both Dino Manelli and Percival Pinkerton had already passed with Pinky succumbing to cancer with Dum Dum at his bedside.
  • Secret Warriors #19 (Au'10) saw the deaths of Gabe Jones and Eric Koenig who sacrificed themselves in a battle against HYDRA so the rest of their unit could escape.
  • Secret Avengers Vol. 2 #3 had the assassination of Robert "Reb" Ralston.
  • So apparently only Izzy Cohen is still alive (possibly) though when last seen he was confined to a wheelchair.

Is that supposed to be Dum Dum as an android or an android that just thought it was Dum Dum?

1966? That would mean he was only very briefly part of SHIELD, and died before Steranko took over the series. They could at least have given him the 70s appearances he made.

That's the sort of thing I feel is wrong with modern day Marvel. They want to use him, but can't deal with him being 90, so they make him a robot, kill him, then bring him back as a different robot? If you want Dum Dum, use him, not a copy. If you don't want him, don't use him at all. Iron Man is no longer connected to Vietnam. If they can't or won't deal with people connected to WWII, move them to a later war like they did Tony Stark.

My head hurts.

Ron M. said:

That's the sort of thing I feel is wrong with modern day Marvel. They want to use him, but can't deal with him being 90, so they make him a robot, kill him, then bring him back as a different robot? If you want Dum Dum, use him, not a copy. If you don't want him, don't use him at all. Iron Man is no longer connected to Vietnam. If they can't or won't deal with people connected to WWII, move them to a later war like they did Tony Stark.

A long, long time ago, I stopped thinking of "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." as the same character who was in "Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos." It was simpler that way.

When they tried explaining why Nick wasn't old with that Infinity Formula they forgot about his buddies. If they were going to go that route they should have said the Howling Commandos were all using it. Made no sense to give him an out then keep making us wonder why Dum Dum and the others weren't aging either.

One idea Secret Wars missed was a reality where the characters had all aged normally, preferably set in the late 70s or early 80s, where the main heroes would be going into retirement.

I honestly wish they'd allowed the FF and Spidey to age normally. Now we'd be reading about the adventures of May "Mayday" Parker for real, and also a second generation of Fantastic Four, which would probably sell better. Plus, Reed and Sue would now be elder statesmen instead of untouchable, boring characters. Even Johnny could be retired, which wouldn't be a bad thing -- it would allow Jim Hammond to shine. Hey, it would be kinda cool if the original Human Torch joined the team!

The one downside to this scenario -- in my mind, at least -- is how ridiculously powerful they've made Franklin. And not just powerful, but kind of a do-anything character. He thinks hard, and whatever he wants happens. Even in stories where he's a grown-up (and necessarily limited, power-wise), his power set is undefinable. If they were to allow the FF to age, Franklin would have to be reduced to a defined power set that was dramatically interesting.

I submit that Marvel has done this: just not as fast, and not as well, as you would like. Peter graduated; he went to graduate school; he dropped out to be a professional photographer; he married MJ; she became pregnant.

Although they were set in an alternative continuity, May Parker's different titles - Spider-Girl, Amazing Spider-Girl, Spectacular Spider-Girl etc. - together lasted more issues than Stan Lee's Amazing Spider-Man run. Isn't that real enough? And if the characters aged in real time we'd be onto generation III by now.

After his success with Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars, Jim Shooter wanted to reboot the entire Marvel Universe in the mid 80s, starting every title over but was overruled. This led to the New Universe with predictable results.

Then in the 2000s, Marvel started the Ultimate line but originally it was supposed to gradually replace the MU titles but like DC and their Post-Crisis books and New 52, they couldn't eliminate all of their history/epics without upsetting some major talent. Plus they wanted to redo all of the great stories in a short amount of time.

No matter how many versions or #1s they put out, nothing remains new forever.

The Lee/Ditko Spider-Man pretty much took place in real time.

Ron M. said:

When they tried explaining why Nick wasn't old with that Infinity Formula they forgot about his buddies. If they were going to go that route they should have said the Howling Commandos were all using it. Made no sense to give him an out then keep making us wonder why Dum Dum and the others weren't aging either.

Too late now, but they should have had the Howlers, in WWII, wander together into a mysterious cave with unknown gases. They would all pass out and awaken as unaging Howlers.

Philip Portelli said:

After his success with Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars, Jim Shooter wanted to reboot the entire Marvel Universe in the mid 80s, starting every title over but was overruled.

Source?

Then in the 2000s, Marvel started the Ultimate line but originally it was supposed to gradually replace the MU titles

Source?

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