Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Charlton Notebook: Sarge Steel #5

A little bit of a bait and switch here folks, as this was the first non-Giordano issue of the series - but he was still providing the cover. Bill Montes takes over as penciller and he's adequate, but is much more rough around the edges than Mr. Giordano. We've got a decent little story here, in which Steel heads to communist China to free an imprisoned scientist. It's nothing we haven't seen before, but Joe Gill's script keeps things moving and Steel's 'tough guy' talk is very entertaining. The series was in the process of transitioning from 'Private Detective' to 'Secret Agent' at this stage. This was also one of the only places to find a true femme fatale in comic books during the 60s. Even with the international intrigue, Sarge Steel borrows as much, if not more, from the likes of Sam Spade as he does from James Bond. It's a fun book, and the terribly dated terribly dated villains only add to the entertainment value. The series can still be had for peanuts in lower grades.

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