Alternate Assemblies - Howling Commandos

Thursday, 4 July 2013 08:39:00 Europe/London

 Alternate Assemblies - Howling (Monster) Commandos

I’m Matt Hardy and this is another original Heroclix team ripped from the obscure reaches of Comic Book History.

Howling Commandoes 1

This week we look at what happens when Commandos really Howl….

 The ‘Howling Commandos’ was the nickname given to Sgt. Nick Fury’s squad of World War II Army Rangers.



 Anyway, the recent Amazing Spider-man set has 4 figures with the Howling Commandos keyword.

But these new characters would rather see you dead than wear a soldier’s uniform and would tear your arms off rather than give a salute. These Commandos are a bit more…monstrous.

ASM011 Living Mummy
ASM025 Manphibian
ASM034 Satanna Hellstrom
ASM017b Brother Voodoo

Howling Commandoes 2

It simply doesn’t look right fielding these guys in a soldier team. Living Mummy is about to eat the guy on the left!!
So if these 4 are nothing to do with Fury’s wartime squad, what makes them ‘Howling’ Commandos?
Scary monster stories are synonymous with comic books. Marvel’s 1950’s and early 1960’s Sci-Fi/Fantasy titles revelled in B-movie monsters with some wonderful names!

Howling Commandoes 3

In more recent years, we find stories of monsters working for the government or military. DC’s Creature Commandos, Hellboy’s BRPD, – the establishment using monsters as weapons, often against other monsters, is ripe with story potential.

Cue Marvel: -
The super-spy agency SHIELD operates a secret R&D containment unit called Area 13. Held here are all Marvel’s mystical crazies and killer monsters. These half-mad, blood-thirsty, monsters, freaks and misfits, are outfitted with SHIELD weaponry and used as a black-ops assault team. Forced to expand their ranks by rounding up other rogue Marvel monsters, this group is ideally suited to counter supernatural threats. SHIELD simply drops their monsters directly on top of the latest terrorist cell or villain conclave and let monsters do what monsters do best. And what monsters do best is kinda brutal….

 You will never find this top-secret team referred to by their official name: the SHIELD PCU (Paranormal Containment Unit). Really there could only ever be one name for a team of Monster Soldiers working for Nick Fury’s SHIELD. 

War Wolf

In the picture we have Warwolf, Living Mummy, Vampire-by-Night and a clone of Frankenstein’s Monster called ‘Frank’.

The full ranks of the Commandos also include many other Marvel Mystical and Monster characters that have made their way into Heroclix, and it’s from those we will make our team:

81 ASM015 Werewolf By Night
92 ASM011 Living Mummy
61 HA029 Gorilla-Man
152 WS049 Groot
65 ASM010 Frankenstein's Monster
79 ASM017B Brother Voodoo
66 ASM009R Daimon Hellstrom
Total: 596pts

Remember those 1950’s Marvel Monsters with wonderful names? Most had just one solitary appearance (often as the villain of the story) and were then forgotten. Looks like writer Keith Giffen trawled through Marvel’s back catalogue for his Commandos, as from Marvels past we have Gorilla-man, Glob (a reanimated corpse with superhuman strength) Grogg (a huge winged dragon that serves as the teams transportation) and of course, Groot - The (tree) Monster from Planet X!

(Giffen must have taken a particular liking to Groot as he reuses him in his Starlord series – in the team that would go on to become the Guardians of the Galaxy)

OK - This is a fairly simple team to put into play. Gorilla-Man’s long dial of Toughness and Regeneration mean you can risk him out in the open. Hellstrom is the Commando’s undercover agent, his Shape-Change and Phasing making him perfect ‘bait’ to lure your opponents figures into range. And then Brother Voodoo does his thing - moving up and Mind Controlling in one turn. Suddenly your opponent’s figure finds itself moved next to your Frank, Groot and Mummy. Then the hurt starts.

I am Groot


You may have noticed that the comic is titled Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos, but apart from a brief walk-on in issue #1 Fury has nothing to do with this story. The Howling Commandos (reluctant) Commanding Officer is Clay Quartermain. Whilst likely a rare figure in a clix collection, his willpower and range for 22pts still make him a useful addition to any team.

CT101 Clay Quartermain

So what ATA do we use for a SHEILD team of Monsters who hunt Monsters?


The final team:

 81 ASM015 Werewolf By Night
61 HA029 Gorilla-Man
152 WS049 Groot
65 ASM010 Frankenstein's Monster
79 ASM017B Brother Voodoo
92 ASM011 Living Mummy
60 ASM025 Manphibian
Total: 597pts

So that’s our real ‘Howling’ Commandos Team. One more time….Wah-Hoooo!

 Although full of great ideas, clever redesigns and sharp dialogue, the Commando’s book (and the rest of Marvels 2005 attempt at a horror line) never really took off and only ran for 6 issues (and one appearance in Blade). Still for those who like our monsters with a side of attitude then Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos was written by Keith Giffen, with art by Eduardo Francisco, Dan Norton, Derec Aucoin and Mike Norton. Published by Marvel Comics. 

Hope you enjoyed learning how Commandos really Howl. Next time, we look at a Marvel team of misfits and runaways (but not the Misfits or Runaways….)

Posted in Alternate Assemblies By

Matt Hardy

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Matthew Hardy

posted on Thursday, 4 July 2013 20:55:39 Europe/London
You are correct Vicente - I meant to say they needed to be next to another character with the Howling Commandos Keyword, not ATA. My slip. It's meant to suggest that members of the HC monster team needed to be present to 'convince' the other monsters to work for SHIELD.

Vicente De los Santos

posted on Thursday, 4 July 2013 17:49:57 Europe/London
My computer hates me....

The right answer:

Playing monsters is always fun! Nice read matt!

Reading the ATA I've seen you specify that the character using the Capture ability has to be with another character who has the Howling Commando TA. Are you using two ATAs? or are you referring to the Howling commando Keyword?

Please admin, delete the mixed one :D


posted on Thursday, 4 July 2013 17:14:53 Europe/London
Great article Matt... lots of stuff I didnt know and the team looks kinda fun to play :)

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