Real Name: Michael Lee Kelly

Identity/Class: Human (World War II era)

Occupation: Soldier, former boxer

Group Membership: Deadly Dozen

Affiliations: Sister Angelique, Ronson Carpenter, Clancy, Howling Commandos (Isadore "Izzy" Cohen, Timothy "Dum-Dum" Dugan, Nick Fury, Gabe Jones, Eric Koenig, Robert "Reb" Ralston), Richard Longtree, Sam Sawyer, Wildcat Smith

Enemies: Jake "The Snake" Cochran, Captain Conner, Nazis, Karl Schroeder, Dr. Lola Steimle, Dr. Steinem, Dr. Sweikert

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Able Company base, England
Formerly Boston, Massachusetts

First Appearance: Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#1 (June, 1972)

Powers/Abilities: Combat Kelly was an experienced boxer, and was deadly in hand-to-hand combat. In the military, Kelly wielded a machine gun and grenades.

Weight: 198 lbs. (circa 1940)

History: (Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#1 (fb) - BTS) - As a boxer, one of Michael Kelly's fights included a match with Hurricane Martinez in Boston Gardens. The fight was witnessed by Timothy Dugan.

(Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#3 (fb)) - In July, 1940, Kelly was boxing in the military service's employ, and made it to the finals in the army championships. He faced Jake "the Snake" Cochran in a match, and was able to best him easily in the ring, but Cochran kept getting up to fight again no matter how hard Kelly hit him. Kelly suspected that Cochran had been drugged so that he would be murdered in the ring, but had to go through with the match. In the 10th round, Kelly hit Cochran so hard that he didn't get up again. Afterwards, Kelly was informed that Cochran died of brain damage.

Before his hearing, Kelly was released so that he could aid the military in meeting the challenge of Karl Schroeder, a German boxer. As Kelly trained, Schroeder met with him, and tried to get him to throw the fight. When Kelly refused, Schroeder and his friends beat Kelly up, beating him in the gut. Despite his injuries, Kelly was determined to fight. In the ring, Shroeder kept going for Kelly's gut, and Kelly finally decided to use this to his advantage. He let Shroeder go for his gut, then struck him in the head, KOing him. The charges against Kelly for Cochran's murder were dropped, and it was revealed that Cochran had indeed been drugged in order to ruin Kelly's career. Kelly's match with Schroeder earned him the nickname of "Combat".

(Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#3 (fb) - BTS) - In 1942, Kelly committed manslaughter, and was sent to prison. The particulars of this incident are unrevealed.

(Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#1 (fb)) - Kelly was released from prison by Captain Sam Sawyer, who wanted him to serve as the leader of his Deadly Dozen squad. Kelly was introduced to his squad by "Dum-Dum" Dugan, their former leader, and was annoyed to find Laurie Livingston, a woman, amidst their ranks. Although he couldn't remove Laurie, he was able to convince Sawyer to bring his friends Jay Little Bear and Doc Watson into the Dozen. For his first mission as leader, Kelly was to destroy a German jet designed by Dr. Steinem at a Luftwaffe complex in Germany. Kelly and the Dozen successfully broke into the facility, and remained undetected until Kelly was ready to attack the jet.

(Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#1) - Kelly had the Dozen throw their grenades at the jet, destroying it. The fires from the explosion then threatened to reach the jet fuel stored there, and they evacuated the complex just as it exploded. They then met up with their rendezvous plane and returned to England.

(Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#2) - Kelly led Jay Little Bear, Dino Manelli and Percival Pinkerton in tunneling into a Nazi concentration camp to rescue its prisoners, who included Ronson Carpenter, Wildcat Smith and Richard Longtree. They set off explosives in the tunnels and in a guard tower to create cover smoke, but Carpenter, Smith and Longtree were all killed trying to help save their fellow prisoners. When they returned to England, Kelly asked that the three men be given the Medal of Honor, but Sawyer refused.

(Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#3) - In January, 1945, Kelly led the Deadly Dozen into the frontlines of the war during the push into Germany following the Battle of the Bulge. During a lull in the action, Kelly was pressured by his men into telling them the story of how he became a convict. Not long after he finished his tale, the fighting resumed.

(Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos#104) - The Deadly Dozen were under the command of Captain Conner, who was unrealistic about the odds they were facing. The Deadly Dozen were reinforced by Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, but Conner remained obstinant. When Fury finally showed Conner that thousands of Germans were headed for their position, he cracked-up.

(Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#4) - Sgt. Fury beat up Conner in anger, then assumed command the situation, ordering Miller and Wagner to bring Conner back to headquarters. Fury led his and Kelly's squads into battle against the Germans, and they succeeded against enormous odds, driving off the Germans. When Conner returned, he tried to kill Fury and Kelly for commiting mutiny, but Miller caught up to Conner and killed him for abandoning him and Wagner after an attack. Wagner and Miller both died, and Kelly was incensed when General McCord decorated Conner for bravery, but Fury observed that Wagner and Miller were the true heroes, and that decorations didn't really matter. Kelly told Fury that it was an honor to have served under him, and they collected Wagner and Miller's bodies, but left Conner on the battlefield.

(Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen#5) - Kelly joined the Deadly Dozen in training on an obstacle course, and helped free Jay Little Bear when his bow was caught on barbed wire. After the training, he took notice of Laurie Livingston setting off with Howard Shigeta and Doc Watson, and wondered what their connection was.

(Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen#6 (fb)) - The Deadly Dozen were given time off to attend a USO dance, and Kelly wound up dancing with Laurie, but couldn't bring himself to love her because of an old love, a fact he kept secret. They were interrupted when Captain Sawyer summoned them for another mission, and assigned "Mad-Dog" Martin to the squad. Martin had a bad reputation for having abandoned fellow pilots on a mission, but Kelly took him on. Martin flew the team aboard his B-17 to a Nazi fortress, and dropped the team off to face the Germans on the ground, but then he abandoned them.

(Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen#6) - Martin returned and crashed his plane into the fortress, allowing the Deadly Dozen a chance to take the fortress. He won the respect of the Deadly Dozen with his actions.

(Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen#7) - As the fortress was mopped up by the Allies, the Deadly Dozen had to walk to their rendezvous point. They found a farmhouse in France near the German border where Sister Angelique lived, and found that she had German soldiers as guests. The Germans agreed to turn themselves over to the Deadly Dozen, and Kelly befriended their ranking officer. Although tempers flared between the two groups when one of the Germans tried to rape Erika, one of Sister Angelique's charges, Sister Angelique halted them by taking up a gun and threatening to shoot them. The Deadly Dozen finally departed with the Germans as their prisoners.

(Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen#8) - While preparing for their next mission in an underwater obstacle course using mines, Laurie was snagged on a net, threatening her life. Kelly set her free, and took responsibility for the slip-up. Laurie thanked him by going to see the movie Casablanca with him, and afterwards, they romanced in a park. The next day, the Deadly Dozen were sent on their mission, although Kelly now wanted to shield Laurie from harm, but Sawyer refused his request. They swam from their boat to the German shore, and captured Dr. Lola Steimle, who was impersonated by Laurie so that they could infiltrate the facility of Dr. Sweikert, a sadistic German surgeon. With Kelly dressed up as her driver, Laurie entered the facility, but when she presented Dr. Steimle's ID, she realized she hadn't changed the photo. Kelly sprang into action to fight off the guards while Laurie maintained her facade, but he was captured by them and brought to Sweikert, and was soon followed by Laurie.

(Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen#9) - Dr. Sweikert intended to operate on Laurie and Kelly so that he could perform medical experiments, and took Laurie first. Kelly broke out of his bonds, and took a gun from a guard. He fought his way into the operating room, and confronted Dr. Sweikert, who had already operated on Laurie, severing her achilles tendon. He tried to convince Kelly that he was needed to save Laurie's life, but when he went for a knife, Kelly shot him dead. As Kelly went to carry Laurie out, he was reunited with Little Bear, who had led the Deadly Dozen in a rescue attempt, only for them all to be killed in the process. Little Bear and Kelly disguised themselves as doctors so that they could get Laurie out, but as they loaded her into an ambulance, Little Bear was shot in the back. Dying, Little Bear closed the doors of the ambulance so that Kelly could get away.

Kelly brought Laurie back to England, and was brought before Captain Sawyer, who was furious with him. Kelly was himself incensed, having lost all of his friends, and seeing the woman he loved crippled. He tore off his badges and stripes, and told Sawyer that if he wanted him back in a stockade, then he would go, but he wouldn't fight anymore. As Kelly walked away, Sawyer remained confident that Kelly would fight again.

Comments: Created by Gary Friedrich, Dick Ayers and Jim Mooney.

The Combat Kelly who first appeared in Combat Kelly#1 (1951) is apparently a different character, according to Jess Nevins. An article in Marvel Vision#28 claims they're the same character, but there's apparently no connection in the comics.

The letters page to Sgt. Fury#99 says that they are different.--John McDonagh

Kelly was referred to as a sergeant by Laurie in issue #6, but continued to wear a corporal's stripes to the end of the series.

by Prime Eternal

Combat Kelly should not be confused with:

Images taken from:
Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#1, cover
Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#3, page 11, panel 4
Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen#9, page 28, panel 4

Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#2 (August, 1972) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos#104 (November, 1972) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#3-4 (October-December, 1972) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#5-6 (February-April, 1973) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#7 (June, 1973) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), John Tartaglione (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen#8-9 (August-October, 1973) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)

Last updated: 09/22/15

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