Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Sgt. Rock Meets The Viking Prince?

Two great warriors, drawn by one great artist, but both historical figures very much defined by their times.

Still, the fates aligned, and these two heroes once met....

...and here is that story, told by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert!

The Prince And The Sergeant

The story begins in Our Army At War #162 (January, 1966), with Little Sure Shot of Easy Company telling the group of the stories of the Viking legends, with their great prince, as mortar fire rang out, ending the tale.  Aboard a British ship, Sgt. Rock would have to lead Easy Company to the shore, and to find the hidden drone base of the Nazis on the beach, as the British ship would continue to provide cover.

As the British ship was found by enemy fire, Easy Company came ashore.  There, they were nearly found by a Nazi patrol, but, Sgt. Rock took to heart the sacrifice of the British commander, planning to lure the Nazis away from his troops so they could complete the mission.

Wounded, Rock continued to fight, leading the troops into a frozen ice cave, where Rock thought he saw a man in the ice.  Things suddenly warmed up as a grenade was tossed into the cave, trying to kill the Sergeant.  Failing, it also freed the Viking Prince from his icy slumber, and Jon quickly dispatched the Nazi troops.  In shock, Rock asked Jon why he through himself into battle wanting to die....and Jon told him.  

Back in the day, the Viking Prince was a mighty warrior, and was taken to Valhalla by a beautiful Valkyrior maiden.  Smitten, Jon wanted her for his own, but she was committed to bringing the dead to Odin.  In the afterlife, Jon faced Haggor, Clefter of Heads, beating him.  At the celebratory feast after, Jon challenged Odin for his Valkyrior, angering Odin, who also realized she brought Jon to Valhalla too soon, thus sent him back to Earth to live, but now cursed to never die by metal, wood, fire or water, entombed in ice until freed by Rock's battle with the Nazis.  The pair were then set upon by a Nazi warplane, which Jon dispatched.  Rock then decided to bring Jon along on his suicide mission, hoping that will end Jon's suffering, allowing him to die (and to complete the mission). 

Kill Me -- Kill Me!

The tale of Jon and Rock continued in Our Army At War #163 (February, 1966), with Jon having renewed happiness to go on a final mission with Sgt. Rock, much to the concern of the sergeant, when the two were beset by Nazi troops, with Jon wading into battle against them.  

As it seemed the troops were to overwhelm the Viking Prince, Sgt. Rock saw spirits of Odin and the Valkyrior above, with Odin promising Jon will never have the maiden.  Jon fought on, with Rock joining the battle, The pair then met Helga, after Jon took out the Nazi tank following her.  Helga claimed to be in the underground, to lead them to the Nazi drone base.  The trio found Easy Company, and headed to the caverns below the base, but Jon's Valkyrior stopped her...

....as Helga was a traitor, leading them to the forces in control of the base.  Jon went into battle to keep the enemy busy, as Rock and Easy Company got their explosives ready, and set them off, destroying the drone base, Nazi troops, and Jon, who would be happy, dying in battle, and ending up with the maiden he loved.

This pair of stories has been reprinted many times, most notably in the Sgt. Rock Special #1 of October, 1988, The Viking Prince collection of September, 2010 and in Showcase Presents: Sgt. Rock #3 of September, 2010, because while nothing is ever easy in Easy, finding stories should be!

Read a little of Rock's end of the war adventures here, as well as a time when the Viking Prince was in another time here!


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