Hans Von Hammer is the lead in a new serial beginning in issue #265 of The Unknown Soldier, with Steve Savage playing the guest star this time around. This 3-parter not only follows up on the 'Balloon Buster' saga from the previous 3 issues, but also serves as a sequel, of sorts, to the duel between the 2 WWI aces from issue #s 181-183 of Star Spangled War Stories published almost 10 years prior. Despite having met on fairly cooperative terms during their last encounter, in this new adventure, Hans Von Hammer & Steve Savage are once again antagonists.
Pitting the two pilots against one another are writer Robert Kanigher (creator of both characters), and artist John Severin a long time vet, who'd worked on many titles for many publishers, specializing in westerns and war books (which would seem to make him the perfect artist to work on a Balloon Buster story). He had worked with Kanigher previously on DC war features including the 'Losers,' 'Sgt. Rock' and an earlier 'Enemy Ace' serial. Having served in WWII (along with most of the talent who'd previously worked on both Enemy Ace & Balloon Buster), Severin had a great eye for detail, and his aircraft & firearms are probably the most realistic looking of all the artists who worked on either WWI feature.
|The bounty's out|
|A familiar yellow Spad - could it be --?|
|For the balls necessary to bring a pistol to an airplane flight, a strangely hat-less Steve Savage gets the ol' Enemy Ace salute!|
To unwind the next day, Von Hammer engages in one of his favorite pastimes, hunting. Returning from his excursion, Von Hammer is attacked by another bounty hunter, and in the cliffhanger, his car is shot off the road. 'The Hunt for Von Hammer' (my cheesy title, not Bob Kanigher's) would continue in the next issue of The Unknown Soldier. Nice start to an exciting serial, and John Severin's art makes a nice contribution to the adventures of both The Enemy Ace and The Balloon Buster.