FIRST AVENGER Friday: The Howling Commandos

Were back with what is the second and final installment of FIRST AVENGER Friday. In this installment were going to discuss the Howling Commandos.  The Howling Commandos in relation to the Captain America mythos aren’t that heavy. In the Marvel comic universe the books were known as Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos. If Fury rings a bell to Marvel Cinematic Universe fans that is because Fury would be one Nick Fury played by Samuel L. Jackson in the Marvel films.

So how do the Howling Commandos fit into Captain America: The First Avenger? Pretty simply really the Howling Commandos fit into the comic universe as an attack squad in the European Theatre of World War II. With Captain America: The First Avenger taking place during World War II that pretty much explains how the two comic books worlds colide in the film. From this point in I’m going to get into details about the various members of the Howling Commandos in Captain America: The First Avenger. Thus if you want to remain as pure and unspoiled to the film as possible you might want to stop reading here.

For those of you still following along for all the hype I just gave the Howling Commandos they are never actually referred to as such in the film. Rumors had when it was first reveled that The Howling Commandos would be appearing in Captain America: The First Avenger was that another well known group that saw action durring World War II in the Marvel Comic Universe and counted Captain America and his close friend James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes as members might be the “team” in Captain America: The First Avenger. That team would have been The Invaders. In the end the Howling Commandos got the nod. Here is a role call of those making an appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger.

First up is James Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes (Sebastian Stan). In the books Bucky was a young side kick to Captain America. In the film he is played as Steve Rogers best friend. Of course Rogers goes on to become Captain America shocking Bucky when they first meet again after Bucky is sent to the front lines in the film.

Timothy ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan (Neal McDonough) is one of the first people we see as a member of the Commandos. His trademark bowler hat and epic mustache which would be very hip to the facial hair inclined hipsters of the world are fully presented in the film. Fun fact about ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan from the Marvel universe. He once encountered and pursued Godzilla. I doubt will ever see that in film.

Gabe Jones (Derek Luke) is another member of the Commandos that gets quite a bit of screen time in the film. In the books Gabe Jones was notable for being the first African-American to serve in an integrated unit in the United States Army. The books as entertainment tends to be were a bit progressive here as integrated units didn’t really happen until signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1948 well after the end of World War II in 1945. For a fun comic book related fact about Jones one doesn’t have to go far. He was a member of the ‘Godzilla Squad’ of S.H.E.I.L.D.along with Dum Dum.

Jim Morita (Kenneth Choi) I’ll be honest I had a hard time digging much up on this character. He exist in the books being credited as a member of the NISEI Squadron in addition to his work with the Howling Commandos. In the film I think he gets a pretty great one liner that makes it fairly obvious why Captain America would choose him to join the Commandos.

James Montgomery Falsworth AKA Union Jack to Comic Fans (JJ Field) It should be noted here for comic fans that much like Howling Commandos is never mentioned in the film neither is Union Jack. If anything the inclusion of the character feels more like a tip of the hat to comic fans more than anything else.

Jacques Dernier (Bruno Ricci) In the books “Frenchie” as he was occasionally referred to often crossed paths with the Howling Commandos but as best I can tell from my readings was never a full fledge member of the group. Kepping with that in Captain America: The First Avenger you rarely if ever see Jacques in any kind of Military dress and he looks more like a civilan.

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John Coovert

About John Coovert

John was fortunate enough to be born in one of the most magical times of cinema: the eighties. Having an ultra cool aunt that introduced him to awesome sci-fi (Alien, Aliens, Terminator, Predator) and horror (Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Jaws) on VHS, and a cool mom that took him to the theater to see films like Back to the Future, Return of the Jedi, and Goonies, it's no wonder he fell in love with one of the finest forms of escapist entertainment, film. John continues to appreciate all forms of film, actively seeking out information and discussing it with all who will listen.

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