Christmas Special: An Alarmingly Violent Christmas with Sgt. Rock
With all the talk of holiday traditions over the past few weeks, there may be some of you out there wondering how Sgt. Rock, the toughest man in comics, spends his Christmas.
...It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect.
Sliding under your tree just in time for Christmas '86 comes "The Shining Star," by Robert Kanigher and Andy Kubert, and if there is a sweeter phrase in the English language than "A Christmas Combat Classic," I have yet to hear it.
Our story opens with the Rock of Easy reminiscing about a letter he got from his father during World War I, where Sgt. Rock Senior details his involvement in the Christmas Truce of 1914, which--not to get too sappy with my love of the holiday--still remains one of the most geniunely moving true Christmas stories of all time. Unfortunately for Sgt. Rock, this is World War II, which is how he ends up in Northern Italy on the lookout for Nazis.
And then, from the town, there arose such a clatter...
That Rock sends the bazooka to deal with the matter!
And that, I promise you, is the most Night Before Christmas parody you ever need to worry about from me. Best to be moving on.
As you might expect, the sudden arrival of a Nazi tank--which crashes out of a church on Christmas, just in case you forgot what kind of evil we're dealing with here--means that it's time once again for Easy Company to beat the living hell out of pretty much everybody, which plays excellently if you hum "Good King Winceslas" to yourself as you read it.
Whichever jaunty tune you choose to think of while seeing Little Sure Shot smack a Nazi with a rifle held like a baseball bat, it all ends with Sgt. Rock deciding to wander off into a snowstorm by himself, which you'd think they'd cover in Boot Camp. Clearly, this man is an army of one.
And that's when Giuseppe, Maria, and the donkey show up.
We can all see where this is headed, right? Maria's pregnant and thanks to the Nazis, there's no room at the inn, so they turn to Sgt. Rock, who leads them to a nearby
Rock gets so caught up in worrying about Maria, however, that he doesn't notice the German patrol creeping up on him until the last minute, and while I'm reasonably certain that he could take out eleven enemy soldiers with a few well-placed snowballs under normal circumstances, Rock offers to surrender if they'll keep the poor couple safe. The Nazi sergeant doesn't believe him, though, and he and Rock are about to blow each other away when the baby finally gets around to being born and starts crying, which--while the worst possible thing to happen in a movie theater or restaurant--comes in surprisingly handy on the battlefields of the Second World War.
Thus, It's A Christmas Miracle!, and the Germans decide to let Rock and Sure Shot go peacefully, marking the only time in the history of DC Comics that Sgt. Rock didn't solve a problem by shooting it, punching it, or blowing it up. Although from what I can tell in the story, everybody just leaves Maria, Giuseppe, and their brand new infant in a cave in the middle of a blizzard two miles from where soldiers just blew up a tank, which, now that I think of it, doesn't seem very cheerful at all!
Seriously, Rock: How about a little follow-through next time?