Hot on the heels of Sgt. Rock’s appearance in the recent DC Universe Legacies #4 comes a new a new Our Army at War one-shot, sporting a cover by Joe Kubert, no less! This story tells parallel tales of two very different wars… or are they really so different? After opening scenes set on December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001, the story follows the path of two soldiers into their respective wars using alternating panels. This technique is used frequently in comic books, but seldom to better effect. Most of the time I find it annoying and tend to read first one strain of the story, then the other, but “Time Stands Still for No Man” uses this technique as well as I have ever seen it used, and the cover blurb “War is War” succinctly sums up the theme of the story.

I was never a big fan of DC or Marvel’s war mags, but this story as well as the recently completed “Last Ride of the Howling Commandos” have got me reading both Sgt. Rock Archives as well as Sgt. Fury Masterworks.

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Yeah, I wouldn't want him as a lifelong adventurer either, CK, and always balked at his post-WWII appearances. The retirement option sounds awfully nice. But either way, he had his fight, and he won it. Decisively.
I finally got the new Our Army at War one-shot -- I didn't see it on the shelf at my friendly neighborhood comics shop and bought it elsewhere -- and mostly (mostly) liked it.

It isn't a Sgt. Rock story per se; he and the Combat-Happy Joes of Easy appear in it, but it's not about them. Good, because that allows me to (try to) forgive the mistakes (which I'll come back to). Instead, it's very much like one of Bob Kanigher's tales of two soldiers who are different but alike, in this case a young man from Nebraska in the '40s and another young man from Brooklyn in the '00s who are drawn into war because of a great national tragedy (Pearl Harbor for the one, 9/11 for the other),

In the probably the best different-but-alike bit in the story, Rock and the Joes and their modern-day counterparts are presented and perceived as larger than life because they are incredibly experienced vets. After all, back in Rock's day, there wasn't the one-year tour of duty. You stayed in the war until you got killed, got too wounded to fight, or the war officially ended ... whichever came first. However, the modern Capt. Duncan is surprised when our Brooklynite tells him he's on his third tour. "Third? Damn, how bad is if life at home that you'd voluntarily sign up three times? Got a death wish or something?" The answer is quite affecting.

And it wasn't until the second reading that I caught the connection between our two protagonists.

However, the writer hit a totally false note with Sgt. Rock's characterization, from the very first words out of his mouth: "All right, ladies, ya got one hour of R&R and then we break for Saint-Marcel at 1300 hours." Rock, gratuitously insulting the men under his command? No. Not the Rock whose adventures I've been reading since high school.

And then there's that glaring somebody-ought-to-go-to-the-woodshed-for-this mistake on page 15 ...
Refresh my memory...?
Look here:


In most of Sgt. Rock's appearances* (save for flashback tales of how he got a battlefield promotion), Rock is a master sergeant, as designated by the insignia of three chevrons and three rockers. Notice, in the image above, Rock has three chevrons but only two rockers.

This artist has carelessly demoted Rock to sergeant first class.

* In the first two or three Sgt. Rock stories in Our Army at War, Rock was a first sergeant, as designated by a small diamond in the space between the three chevrons and the three rockers.
Ah, thanks. (I would not have caught that on my own.)
Maybe, but you would think the people who work there, the people who make these comics, would know better.

But of course not ... look at this promotional art for Billy Tucci's labor of love, Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion:


Here, Rock is presented as a first sergeant. (This was fixed when this painting was used for the cover of the first issue.)

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