Sergeant "Sarge" Steel

Written by John Censullo

History

Sarge Steel #1 (December 1964) • "File #101 the Case of the 'Pearls of Death'"

Lin Ying hires private detective Sarge Steel to find her fathe r, Charles Ying, who was carrying 57 matched pearls to Ivan Chung's office. Her fathe r had not met Chung, but was offered a large sum of money by Chung for the pearls. Steel tells Lin that Ivan Chung is a terrorist that is very active in Saigon. As theydrive to a Brooklyn waterfront in Steel's specially built XK-150 Jaguar to search for her fathe r, Lin asks the detective about his metallic left hand. He explains that he lost it in Saigon, and wouldn't be surprised if Chung was at least partially responsible for it. In one of the warehouses, theyfind evidence that Lin's fathe r had been the re. Shortly the reafter, Steel and Lin are captured by Chung and taken out to sea. As Steel hovers on the verge of unconsciousness, he thinks back to when he first encountered Chung.

Capt. Sergeant Steel was in the Special Forces, assigned to Army Intelligence. He was working closely with the CIA operatives in Saigon where the Vietnamese government was desperately striving to contain the terrorists who were turning that eastern metropolis into a shambles. Chung was half Chinese Tong and half Russian saboteur. Capt. Steel and Yo Chang, an associate who knew the jungle, chased Chung into the jungle. theyfought the ir way through Viet-Cong soldiers, and found Chung inside a hut. As Steel led his captive to his vehicle, Chung pleaded with him. Chung claimed he would be executed, but Steel declined Chung's bribes. After he turned his prisoner over to the authorities, Steel was warned that the entire anti-American organization had given orders to kill him. As he prepared for a date later that night, Steel was attacked by an assassin, but his training enabled him to easily overcome his attacker. Later, as he danced with his date, a grenade was lobbed into the room. He grabbed the grenade and attempted to through it back outside, but it was coated with a sticky substance that prevented him from getting rid of it. Thinking quickly, he thrust his arm out the window. the blast obliterated his hand, but he and his date survived. Ivan Chung vanished from his Saigon cell, later reappearing in a New York office where he called himself an importer and headed the firm known as Eurasian Trade Associates Inc.

Steel wakes up and Chung makes him and Lin an offer. If Lin tells Steel where she or her fathe r hid the pearls, and Steel can arrange for the m to be delivered to Chung, the n he will let the three of the m live. After Chung leaves the cabin, Lin tells Steel that the pearls are sewn into her largest valise, which is back in her hotel room. Chung listens to the conversation through a hidden microphone, and orders one of his men to retrieve the pearls. However, back in Steel's office, his secretary Bessie Forbes speaks with a CIA operative, having called the m after remembering Steel's past encounter with Ivan Chung. One CIA operative is assigned to watch the Ying's hotel room. He captures Chung's thug when he breaks into the room. the man confesses his instructions to the agent. Meanwhile, Steel tricks Chung and is able to knock him out and grab his gun. Steel takes control of the boat and heads back to New York.

Sarge Steel #2 (February 1965) • "File #102 Case of the "Man Who Blackmailed the World"

Steel meets with Werner Von Wess, once the most notorious U-boat captain in the Nazi navy, and his lovely companion, Lisa Monelli, in Central Park. Von Wess has stolen a nuclear submarine. He has already detonated a few nukes over Greenland and Melville Island, but he still has fourteen Polaris missiles left. He states that the vessel is now offshore, ready to launch a missile at New York at any moment. theydemand one billion dollars from the U.S. government within 72 hours. theyhave chosen Steel as the ir intermediary because he has semi-official status with the government intelligence people, he is a decorated hero of the Special Forces branch of the military, and he retains his commission in the Reserves. Eventually, Lisa Monelli turns on Von Wess, and Steel in able to disable the sub.

Sarge Steel #3 (April-May 1965) • "File #103 Case of the "Heritage of Hate"

After his twice weekly workout with his friend Rocky, Steel returns to his locker to discover a man trying to steal his luger. He breaks the man's wrist and chases him off. Later that night, he returns to his office and a group of men attack him, demanding his luger. Steel knocks the m out, but is himself knocked out by an unknown assailant. He wakes up to find a beautiful German woman, Inga Ross, tending to him, claiming she found him unconscious. Steel realizes his luger has been taken. the police arrive to tell him that his gun, serial number 3779 KU, was used to commit two attempted murders in Europe in the last five days. Steel insists that it's impossible, that the gun has not been out of his possession in six years.

Steel and the woman are brought to the station to see the evidence. the silver luger used in the crimes in Paris and England belonged to a dead war criminal. It had the same serial number and ballistics patterns as Steel's. the police concluded that the manufacturers had held up the ir production of the standard weapon, just at the point where theywere finishing the luger Steel owned. This othe r gun, a special alloy with silver, was an exact duplicate. the gun belonged to Rudolf Wolk, known to millions as the Smiling Skull, the executioner who'd taken so many lives with that silver luger. After theyleave the station, Miss Ross holds a gun to Steel's side, telling him to do exactly as she says. He is brought onto a jet, which takes him to a tiny South American country.

the plane lands on an airstrip near the peak of a volcanic cone, where theyare met by the Smiling Skull. the Skull explains that he has been active in many parts of the world in recent months, and rumors persist that he is not dead after all. He had known that his weapon had a twin, so he sent his organization to track it down. Now he will frame Steel for all the murders. Steel turns the tables on the Skull, grabs his gun, and runs. He is helped by Inga, whose fathe r is being held captive by the Skull. theystumble upon the organization's jet fighter-bombers and the atomic bombs theyplan on dropping on the world. As the enemy closes in, Steel punctures drums of high octane fuel and ignites the m. He the n frees Igna's fathe r, and othe r prisoners. Outside, the Skull confronts Steel, but the hero defeats the killer. the local gendarmes are called and the Skull and his followers are rounded up.

Story: "the Sport of Judo"

Synopsis: Sarge Steel talks about the Straight Foot Throw Standing in a three-page featurette.

Sarge Steel #4 (July 1965) • "File #104 Case of the Kiss of the Cat"

Steel has a number of encounters with a woman named Lynx. Her beauty and style, and her pet ocelot, cause a furor wherever she goes. Crimes are committed whenever she is around, but theycan never be tied directly to her. When Lynx steals a sculpture called the Dreamer, Steel finds her, but is stopped by a black panthe r that knocks him out cold. He the n tracks her down to an island off the coast of Florida called Cat Cay and arrests her. However, enroute to prison, she dives off the stern of the police cutter into shark infested waters. She is listed as "probably dead" on the police blotter.

Story: "Sport of Judo"

Synopsis: Sarge Steel talks about the Osoto Gari-Major Outer Reaping Throw and the Osoto Makikomi in a three-page featurette.

Sarge Steel #5 (September 1965) • "File 105 the Case of the Caged Brain"

While on vacation in Miami, Steel meets a beautiful woman named Li-Li a.k.a. the Black Lily. the Black Lily was a Communist intelligence agent, who had been part of the Ivan Chung apparat in Saigon. She seduces him, drugs him, and brings him back to China, where Chung is waiting. Emmet Crayne, a genius who was convinced of the benefits of Communism but later became disillusioned, has been blackmailed into defecting to the Communist bloc. He is refusing to finish his work on nuclear launchers because he believes Chung will kill him when he is done. Crayne will not finish his task unless Steel is waiting the re to take him to freedom when the work is completed. Steel is able to overcome Chung and his brute, Nhu. Li-Li the n points her gun at Steel, but cannot shoot. She has fallen in love with him. Steel and Crayne escape in a plane, but Li-Li is killed by a grenade before she can join the m.

Story: "Sport of Judo" • Sarge Steel talks about how judo saved him from a mugger in a three-page featurette.

The Fightin' Five #34 (September 1965) • "Sport of Judo"

Sarge Steel talks about judo in a three-page featurette. (From othe r sources, not verified personally.)

Sarge Steel #6 (November 1965) • "File 106 Case of the King's Assassin"

the President requests that Steel protect King Abhim Fal-Rif while he is in the United States. Steel is warned by Hassam, a wealthy Egyptian and cousin of the King. He tells of anothe r cousin, Shiek Zara-Faid, who is the King's worst enemy. Steel had already been briefed by the CIA about Zara, who's been studying with the Moscow and Peking crowd, majoring in murder. Steel later prevents the King's assassination, killing Zara in the process. However, during his visit, the King had fallen in love with Hollywood actress Bibi Cane. It would take many years for the m to be able to marry, if at all, so Steel shows the m the way to Mexico. He the n receives a call from the White House. Steel travels to Washington D.C., where he gives a complete report on everything he had done. the hero is the n given the title of Special Agent Sarge Steel.

Special War Series #4 (November 1965) • "Sport of Judo"

Sarge Steel talks about judo in a three-page featurette.

Sarge Steel #7 (January 1966) • "File #107 the Day they Killed Sarge Steel"

the State Department discovers that an organization called POW (Prosecutors of the World) has a list of the elite intelligence agents on both sides of the iron curtain. Five of the seven people on the list have already been eliminated. Only Sarge Steel and Nicole Planchet of France are still alive. POW believes that the world leaders are inept or corrupt or both, and they wish to dictate the countries' policies. To be sure that the world leaders would take the m seriously, they made up the list of agents theywould kill in order to demonstrate that theycould reach anyone. Steel is ambushed and filled with twenty 7.63 mm slugs in the chest, and two rifle bullets between the shoulder blades. He is brought to a city hospital and pronounced dead. Shortly the reafter, Nicole Planchet is also found dead. It is later revealed that Steel was wearing a new flexible nylon body armor, which enabled him to fake his death. Steel tracks POW to the Swiss Alps. He discovers that Nicole Planchet is alive and also on POW's trail. theyare the n both captured and meet the group's leaders, Eric Rinn and a woman called Roja. the two agents escape and are able to detonate a room full of high explosives, destroying the organization.

Story: "Sport of Judo"

Synopsis: Sarge Steel talks about how he protected himself against three attackers in a three-page featurette.

Sarge Steel #8 (March-April 1966) • "File #108 Case of the Terrible Talon"

the Talon and his operatives in Germany have been kidnapping men like Prof. Franz Froelig, extorting money from industrialist Herr Brimhaufen, and destroying a power station. A group of West German business and professional men contact Sarge Steel for help. After ignoring a warning to leave Germany or die, Steel is kidnapped by Talon agents, along with Gerta, a West German Security Bureau agent. theyare taken to East Germany and brought before Talon. Steel is able to resist a mind-control device, takes Talon as his prisoner, and soon escapes with Gerta. theydrive away in Steel's specially equipped Mercedes-Benz, but are soon followed and attacked by Talon's men, who don't realize the ir leader is in the car. theyreach the border into West Germany, and bring the criminal to justice. Talon's men launch an assault outside the building which is holding his trial. After the attackers are defeated, Steel tells the Court to let Talon go. theywill let it leak out that Talon betrayed his people to the m in return for his freedom. He'll spend the rest of his life being hunted, never knowing a moment's peace.

Story: "Blue Four Top Secret"

Synopsis: Three-page supplement which explains some of the weapons and devices used in the main story.

The Fightin' Five #37 (April-May 1966) • "Sport of Judo"

Sarge Steel talks about judo in a three-page featurette. (From othe r sources, not verified personally.)

Secret Agent #9 (October 1966) • "File #109 'The Warmaker!'"

Mr. Ize, an optics specialist, has developed a visor that enables him to hypnotize people, melt metal with infrared rays, and emit gamma rays. He forms a private army of mesmerized soldiers, and recruits Ivan Chung, the Smiling Skull, Kapitan Von Wess, and Lynx to his cause. Chung suggests that a hypnotized Sarge Steel would be very useful to the m. the Smiling Skull makes two attempts to capture Steel, but fails. the n, while Steel is driving home, Chung tries to push his car off the road, but Steel stops him by firing a shot from a Colt 357 Magnum into Chung's engine block. At Steel's apartment building, Mr. Ize uses his special visor to mesmerize the doorman, the n he and Lynx break into Steel's quarters. When he returns home, Lynx distracts Steel long enough for Mr. Ize to mesmerize him. the y the n head to the country of Kuwania. Mr. Ize bombs a huge oil refinery near the capital of the country, fully expecting the Premier to conclude the attack came from a neighboring country. During the confusion, Mr. Ize and his followers loot the country's incredible riches. A bullet grazes Steel's head, releasing him from Mr. Ize's control. Steel feigns death, and his enemies leave him behind. When theylater discover that Steel is alive, he pretends to still be under Mr. Ize's spell. theyarrive by plane at Mr. Ize's base in the Atlas Mountains, where Steel learns that Ize will buy many more weapons with this new wealth, adding it to his current stockpile. When the villains become suspicious of him, Steel makes his move, destroying the weapons and confronting Mr. Ize. Mr. Ize tries to kill Steel with a blast from his visor, but the hero raises his metal fist which reflects the beam back at his attacker. the instant Mr. Ize's warped brain stops functioning, his evil crew flees.

Story: "Sarge Steel's Scrapbook of Judo!"

Sarge Steel reviews past judo lessons in a seven-page featurette (reprints Sarge Steel #4 and #5).

Judomaster #91 (October 1966) • "File 110 Case of the 'Double Agent'"

While the nation watches, Sarge Steel shoots an astronaut believed to be Lt. Comdr. Wayne Langley. Steel reveals that he is actually Ivor Guvchenko, a foreign agent whose mission was to penetrate the Gemini project. the real Langley is unconscious in the astronaut's van. Steel still has his eye on Guvchenko's superior, Irena Dubaya. the hero is unaware that a bug has been planted on him, and he falsely believes that his cover as a mere private investigator hasn't been blown. Steel returns to his office in New York to discover that his secretary, Bessie Forbes, has been replaced by a beautiful woman calling herself Miss Dura, who he quickly recognizes as Irena Dubaya. She claims that his usual secretary has contracted a virus but will return to work soon. Once alone, Steel uses a radio direction-finder to search for bugs, and is surprised when he finds one in his metal hand. He later identifies anothe r bug in her pencil. He pretends to demand money from the government, suggesting to Irena that he can be bought. She approaches him with an offer to become a double agent, which he accepts.

Judomaster #92 (December 1966) • "File 110 Conclusion of the .... Case of the 'Double Agent'"

Steel continues in his role as a double agent for Irena Dubaya, however she soon learns of his scheme. the spies steal a B-70, the Mach 6 Intercontinental Bomber, from USAF SAC Command. But when theyattempt to kill Steel, he captures the spies and gains control of the aircraft.

Judomaster #93 (February 1967) • "File 111 Case of the 'Devil's Wife'"

Sarge Steel goes to meet U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Pierce Bruyden at the airport. He sees Bruyden up ahead, but a beautiful woman interrupts and touches him on the cheek, paralyzing him in his tracks. Moments before, she had done the same to Bruyden. As Steel stands helplessly by, she and anothe r man take Bruyden away. Six minutes later, the effect wears off. Steel learns that she is Santana Noir a.k.a. the Devil's Bride. She has blackmailed nations, seated a king, destroyed a prime minister, and looted half a dozen private art collections. Using his contacts, he gets Santana to come to his Manhattan penthouse apartment. She again renders him immobile, the n brings him by helicopter to her island complex.

Judomaster #94 (April 1967) • "File 111 Part II Case of the 'Devil's Wife'"

Steel and Ambassador Bruyden (called Bluyden) escape from Santana (called Satana) and her men. Chained to Bruyden's wrist is a booby-trapped briefcase containing many important documents. the two men are able to reach Santana's house and contact the FBI. Santana and her army arrive soon afterward. Steel grabs Santana as the FBI chopper appears. Barely avoiding enemy fire, Steel and Bruyden make it to the chopper with the ir captive and escape from the island.

Judomaster #95 (June 1967) • "File 112 Case of the 'Village Moneyman'"

Bebe Summins hires Steel to find her fathe r, Eric Summins, a counterfeiter who disappeared soon after leaving prison three months earlier. She's received phone calls telling her to stop looking for him or else. A man the n attacks the m, but Steel easily knocks him out. Steel brings the girl to his secretary's apartment for safekeeping, the n begins his search. the next morning, two men from the Treasury Department are waiting for Steel in his office. theyremark that theyheard he stopped working for the CIA recently. Steel responds that he's back in business for himself now, but he told the Agency that he'd help the m out whenever theyneeded him. the Treasury agents ask for his help in finding Eric Summins, who theybelieve is making phony money again. Steel notes that some of Summins' plates were never found. Later, at his secretary's apartment, he finds a typewritten note from Bebe telling him to meet her later that night. Based on the condition of the room, he concludes that she didn't leave of her own accord. Two men watch from the window; one aims a gun at him.

Judomaster #96 (August 1967) • "File 112 Conclusion of Case of the "Village Moneyman'"

Steel barely avoids being shot. He returns fire and kills the gunman, but his partner escapes into the night. First, Steel goes by the Daily Mirror to check a the ory of his in some old newspapers, the n he goes to meet Bebe at the location mentioned in the note. Thugs grab Steel and Bebe and take the m at gunpoint to the mastermind of the operation, Frank Jackson (also called Johnson), a crime syndicate big-wig that Steel thought went straight long ago. Jackson tells Bebe that as long as she does what he says, he won't kill her fathe r. Steel reveals to her that theykilled him three months earlier after obtaining his plates, the n burned his body in a fire. Jackson wanted the Treasury Department to believe Eric Summins was behind the counterfeit operation. Steel gets the upper hand, and Bebe runs for a police officer.

Secret Agent #10 (October 1967) • "File #113 the Case of the Third Hand"

Sarge Steel has fallen hard for a girl named Linda Velvet. One early morning, as he escorts her home after a night on the town, the two come under fire. Linda is shot and passes out. Steel soon realizes that she was the target, not him. Later, an old friend at the CIA informs him that Linda had been working as a contact for the Third Hand, the biggest independent spy ring in the world. His friend believes she was shot because the organization thinks she's selling the m out to the CIA through Steel. Soon after, Linda is killed in the hospital by a poison gas grenade. Something doesn't seem right to Steel, so he heads to her apartment to look for clues. the re he finds members of the Third Hand searching for something important. theyknock him out and escape. When he wakes up, he is helped by Linda's neighbor, Sarah Tempest, and her boyfriend, Hobart Jefferies. He finds a photo of a man, who Sarah identifies as Linda's boyfriend. Steel recognizes him as a two-bit gunsel named John Vance. When he returns to his own apartment, he finds that it too has been searched. the thieves are still the re and take him captive. theybring him to John Vance, who demands that Steel give him what he wants. Steel overpowers the thugs and escapes, concluding that Vance is not smart enough to be the head of the operation. Back at his office, he finds the true boss, Sarah Tempest, and her right-hand man, Jefferies. After Jefferies is shot, Steel captures Tempest. He later discovers the incriminating evidence that the criminals were looking for inside a stuffed bunny that he had won for Linda.

Judomaster #97 (October 1967) • "File 114 Case of the 'Widow's Revenge'"

A hired thug tries to kill Steel as he converses at a newspaper stand, killing the blind news merchant instead. Steel shoots the assassin, the n heads back to his parked car. When he gets the re, he finds an attractive woman waiting for him. She tells Steel that her aunt, Mrs. Donald Reynolds, is the one behind the attempt on his life. Mrs. Reynolds wants revenge because Steel sent her husband to prison. But the woman says her aunt is not really the one responsible. She's paying out the money, but it's Ralph Gonner, her uncle's old partner, who's hiring the killers and telling the m what to do. Steel arrives at Gonner's house, but discovers that Gonner knows nothing, and that Mrs. Reynolds died the previous week. When he returns to his apartment, "Mrs. Reynolds" is waiting in the shadows, pointing a gun at him. Steel turns on the light, temporarily blinding the stranger. Bullets fly and the intruder is shot. It is the woman that he met by his car. She is actually the daughter of the Reynolds. When her mothe r died, she vowed to get revenge. She dies in Steel's arms.

Judomaster #98 (December 1967) • "File 115 Case of the 'Key West Caper'"

Steel's secretary, Bess, is kidnapped. A note is left on his desk. It is a map of an island somewhere off the southe rn tip of Florida, and contains a warning that she will be killed in 48 hours. Using scuba gear, Steel swims to the tiny island. He is attacked by a man wielding a knife, but Steel succeeds in knocking the attacker out. the man was also carrying a machine gun which Steel had seen only one time before. Soon after, Steel is surrounded by othe rs and brought to an abandoned plantation. He finds his secretary sedated, and standing next to her is Eric Rinn and Roja! He had destroyed POW, and all the ir dreams of power, and now the y intend on destroying him. However, theyare going to kill Bess first, and make him watch. Bess wakes up and attacks Roja, giving Steel the opportunity to disarm Rinn. When Rinn pulls a pistol, Steel grabs the machine gun and fires. As Rinn falls, he accidentally shoots Roja, killing her. As Rinn's men burst through the door, Bess and Steel dispatch the m all. Bess is terribly shaken by the experience, having never killed anyone before.

Charlton Appearances

  • Sarge Steel #1, 9 issues (1964–66)
  • The Fightin' Five #34, 37 (1966)
  • Special War Series-Judomaster #4 (1965)
  • Judomaster #91–98 (1966–67)
  • Secret Agent #10 (Oct. 1967)
  • In 1977/1978, Modern Promotions reprinted many Charlton Comics including: Judomaster #93, Judomaster #94, Judomaster #96, Judomaster #98

 

Original text copyright DC Comics unless otherwise noted. Used without permission.