Release Date 1/8/14
Written and Created by Vito Delsante; Art by Giancarlo Caracuzzo
Published by New Paradigm Studios
When my brother and I started collecting comics back in the 70’s, our early collection included titles such as G.I. Combat, Sgt. Rock and Weird War Tales. Those titles made up half of our comic book purchases each month, and we enjoyed them as much as any superhero comic back then.
It was around that time that we took our first family trip to Italy, which included a visit to the Abbey of Monte Cassino, one of the hard fought battlegrounds during the Italian campaign of World War II and a stone’s throw from our family’s hometown. Over the years we’ve heard countless stories from our relatives who lived through the war in Italy during those years.
And so began our interest, if not obsession, with World War II.
In recent years I picked up as many war themed comics as I could find, but in my opinion there still weren’t enough. Then I picked up a copy of Vito Delsante and Giancarlo Caracuzzo’s World War Mob #1 (of a four issue mini-series). When I saw the cover with Benito Mussolini in the crosshairs (by artist Mike Manomivibul), I was intrigued. When I finished the first issue, I was hooked.
The story begins in New York City’s Lower East Side in 1932. A teenage Vincenzo Di Greco works his way up from street gang leader protecting his turf to footsoldier for mobster Lucky Luciano. He’s got a heart of stone and isn’t afraid to shed blood when necessary, which makes him, in his own words, a good soldier. Delsante’s words and dialogue bring out the fire in Di Greco’s heart, and artist Giancarlo Caracuzzo’s doesn’t hold back when representing Di Greco’s neighborhood and his bloody handywork in World War Mob’s beautifully drawn and watercolored pages.
Cut to December of 1944. Di Greco, now a captain in the U.S. Army, leads a squad through the snow of the Ardennes against the German army. He’s not afraid to “bring the fight to them” as his squad takes out a German gun post. Two months later, while on leave for some R&R in Sicily, he’s handed a note that leads him to an empty bar and face to face with New York mobster Meyer Lansky flanked by two GI’s as his personal security detail.
Lansky gets to the point: Lucky Luciano wants Benito Mussolini assassinated and he’s in Sicily to recruit Vincent. As they speak, four other representatives of the Five Families have traveled to Europe to recruit the other soldiers that will take part in the mission, one from each family. Vincent looks over the list of his fellow recruits and spots a name from his past: Victor Santi of the Mangano crime family. They have a history, and now they’ll be forced to work together to assassinate il Duce against incredible odds. They’ve been given their orders (kill Mussolini or don’t come home), but they have to figure out a plan on the fly. Their first problem: they’ll need to go AWOL to carry out the mission.
Reviews of World War Mob will make their share of comparisons with mafia/war movie combinations like Goodfellas meets The Dirty Dozen or comparable movies of those genres, but those comparisons are unnecessary because World War Mob is a great comic book with a story that stands on its own. My only disappointment is that World War Mob is a four issue mini-series and I wish it was ongoing. Once I finished the last panel of the last page, I started counting the weeks to the next issue. Can’t wait for issue #2.