History as a Howler
Fighting Nazis alongside the Howlers led Gabe to work alongside Captain America and together they destroyed a Nazi rocket lab. The team was then assigned to help Cap discover why the Nazis were headed to the African Nation of Wakanda. When they got there, they help protect Wakandans from the Red Skull and his minions. When the Armless Tiger Man attacked Wakanda’s princes, T’Chaka and S’Yan, Gabe shot the villain dead. The Black Panther at the time offered Gabe citizenship to Wakanda for conducting himself with class and honor, while his superior officer Nick Fury had tasked Gabe secretly to retrieve Vibranium for the U.S. military. Gabe declined the Panther’s offer as he couldn’t leave his country behind, and the Panther accepted his choice but said that he’d be there for him and call on him again. Conflicted with Vibranium in his pocket, he lied to Fury that his mission failed as he didn’t want to betray the trust he built with the Panther.
Captured by Nazis during a mission, Jones escaped to France and agreed to help the resistance rescue famous American jazz singer Carla Swain (born Carla Williams), who had been trapped in Paris when the Nazis occupied France. Posing as defecting American jazz musician Lips Norton, Jones infiltrated Nazi-run nightclub Le Gai Chanteuse and reached Swain, but she did not want to leave. Embittered by racial prejudice in America, the African-American Swain was content to stay in Paris as long as her talents were respected, believing the fight for equality back home was futile, but Gabe argued otherwise and convinced Swain to attempt escape with him. By this time, local Nazis had captured Gabe’s fellow Commandos when they sought to rescue Jones. Carla urged Gabe to forget them, saying white men would never risk their lives for him, but Gabe came to their rescue regardless. During the ensuing skirmish, a Nazi officer used Carla as a human shield and demanded the Howlers’ surrender. Carla was stunned when the Howlers did indeed surrender to protect her and even more surprised when Reb Ralston subdued the Nazi, saving Carla and the others. She thanked Reb and Gabe for helping her realize how prejudice had blinded her and told them she would return to the USA as a proud American. This led to an on-and-off romance between Carla and Gabe over the years.
A later mission reunited Gabe with “Drummer” Bellaman, whom the Nazis had captured as a test subject. He escaped their lab with a vial of their new experimental plague. Pursued by Nazis, Drummer fled to London but did not contact Allied forces since he feared either side using the virus as a weapon. Unknown to Drummer, however, the virus would eat through the vial he stole within hours if not contained. Aware of Gabe’s bond with Drummer, Col. Sawyer assigned Fury and Jones to find him. Bitter over the poverty he had experienced in America, Bellaman refused to cooperate with Jones at first and even considered using the virus for personal gain; however, after he instinctively saved some children during a Nazi air raid, Bellaman was so moved by their family’s gratitude that he did something impulsively noble, swallowing the virus sample. Knowing the virus would become inert and spread no further if he contained it within his own body long enough for it to affect him fatally, Drummer resolved to stay free just long enough to die so no one could salvage the plague. In the end, Drummer helped Fury and Jones defeat the plague-seeking Nazi agents, and a dying Drummer begged Jones to end his pain. Gabe sadly complied, shooting him.
Surviving World War II, Jones re-enlisted in the Army when the Korean War broke out in 1950, serving with the reunited Howlers during that conflict. The ex-Howlers sometimes worked together on special assignments thereafter. For instance, in 1959, Jones teamed with Fury and Dugan to hunt down and execute Nazi war criminals for U.S. military intelligence. Jones’ activities during subsequent decades are largely unrevealed. Working for military intelligence again in recent years, he was ordered to investigate his old wartime ally Captain America, who had recently revived from decades of suspended animation. Assigned to verify Cap’s identity and help him transition into modern life, Jones supervised tests proving Rogers was indeed the real Captain America and helped Cap obtain his back pay, modern credentials and personal effects.
When Nick Fury became public director of elite intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D., Gabe Jones and Dum Dum Dugan joined the agency as two of Fury’s closest aides, helping run the organization and participating in major missions. Their old wartime comrade Eric Koenig soon joined S.H.I.E.L.D. as well. The ex-Howlers also mentored younger S.H.I.E.L.D. recruits, notably Sharon Carter (niece of World War II heroine Peggy Carter), European jet-setter Contessa Valentina de Fontaine, bookish boy wonder Jasper Sitwell, FBI veteran Jimmy Woo, and jovial ladies’ man Clay Quartermain, who became Gabe’s best friend within S.H.I.E.L.D. As a senior S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Jones helped provide security for the wedding of Reed Richards, AKA Mister Fantastic, and Susan Storm, AKA Invisible Woman, and clashed repeatedly with the subversive organization Hydra, its most recent incarnation founded by the Howlers’ old foe Baron Strucker. Jones’ most celebrated solo assignment was infiltrating the subversive Secret Empire, posing as their ruling inner circle’s Number 6. When ambitious rogue member Number 9 tried to eliminate his peers and take over, Jones was prepared; he allowed Number 9 to take out most of the rest of the inner circle, but took precautions to protect himself and then defeated Number 9, toppling the Empire’s remnants. Jones then posed as Number 9 just long enough to capture agents of Empire-affiliated high-tech subversive group A.I.M. Jones, Dugan, Koenig and Fury kept in touch with fellow ex-Howlers, and the Commandos occasionally reunited—sometimes for special missions, but more often for social gatherings, during one of which Jones announced his engagement to Carla Williams.
After aiding in the first of many S.H.I.E.L.D. attempts to capture the Hulk, Gabe was one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who remained most loyal to Fury when the Hate-Monger (Adolf Hitler’s clone) framed Nick as a traitor, and Gabe later helped expose the frame-up as a Hydra plot. When the Secret Empire regrouped under new leadership, Jones infiltrated them again, this time posing as weapons expert Number 68. New S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Peggy Carter also infiltrated the Empire as Jones’ backup, helping him save Captain America, the Sam Wilson, AKA Falcon, and the X-Men from execution at the Empire’s hands, then teaming with those heroes to thwart the Empire’s attempted overthrow of the U.S. government.
Partnered on further S.H.I.E.L.D. assignments, Peggy and Gabe grew attracted to each other, Gabe and Carla having broken up. When a mission pitted them against the Red Skull, the Nazi villain was so offended by the agents’ interracial romance he had them captured and tortured for seven hours, but Gabe and Peggy remained defiant, literally spitting in the Skull’s face, until Captain America and Falcon stormed the Skull’s base. Gabe freed himself and Peggy, and they called in S.H.I.E.L.D. backup to wrap up the case, though not before the two agents shared a passionate embrace in the heat of the moment. The Red Skull, though defeated, escaped. This same mission exposed the Falcon as an unwittingly brainwashed pawn of the Red Skull, but Gabe and Peggy remained supportive of the Falcon, who was ultimately pardoned. Gabe and Peggy later drifted apart as assignments separated them.
Jones joined Dugan, Woo, and other agents in a S.H.I.E.L.D. task force dedicated to battling the giant monster Godzilla. Gabe served as second-in-command under Dugan, a sometimes-awkward arrangement since Dugan regarded Godzilla as a mindless menace to be destroyed while Gabe correctly sensed a degree of higher intelligence, even benevolence, in the creature, and tried to avoid harming Godzilla. Aided by Super Heroes such as Los Angeles’ Champions, the Avengers and Fantastic Four, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Godzilla squad clashed repeatedly with the monster, sometimes capturing him briefly and sometimes even teaming with Godzilla against greater threats such as the monster-making mad scientist Dr. Demonicus, whom Jones captured.
Arresting Demonicus again after his defeat by the Shogun Warriors, Jones was also among the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who helped the Micronauts prevent Microverse tyrant Baron Karza’s conquest of Earth. When a Howling Commandos reunion was interrupted by Hydra, General Sam Sawyer sacrificed his life to save the Commandos and Captain America, and Gabe played the Howlers’ bugle charge at Sawyer’s funeral. Aided by Dr. Kate Waynesboro, Jones later led S.H.I.E.L.D. forces hunting a rampaging Hulk, more destructive than ever thanks to the dream demon Nightmare’s influence. The mission failed, and Dr. Stephen Strange, AKA Doctor Strange, was forced to banish the Hulk to another dimension.
A Special Field Officer (L-4), Commander Jones was one of the few high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agents not killed and replaced when the artificial humanoids known as the Deltites subverted S.H.I.E.L.D. from within. Even after the Deltites had Fury declared a traitor, Jones remained totally loyal to Fury, though he ultimately played only a small part in Fury’s defeat of the Deltites. The United Nations disbanded S.H.I.E.L.D., and a handful of key agents including Jones traveled the world with Fury closing down S.H.I.E.L.D. offices and disposing of assets. Jones retired to Boston where he ran a paintball business until Fury, then rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D., persuaded Jones to join the new S.H.I.E.L.D. as a recruiter and trainer. Gabe trained the new S.H.I.E.L.D.’s first cadet squadron to a state of battle-readiness, also doing occasional field work. Nick Fury himself eventually left S.H.I.E.L.D., however, operating as a rogue spymaster following his own agenda.
Gabe kept in touch with Peggy Carter, helping thwart a Skeleton Crew attack on her new employers, the Avengers. Jones was later assigned to capture fugitive boy genius Amadeus Cho, AKA Brawn, clashing with Cho and his allies the Renegades: Warren Worthington III, AKA Angel, Heracles, AKA Hercules, and Namora. When a vengeance-crazed Hulk led his alien Warbound army against Earth, devastating New York, Jones deputized the Hulk’s friends Rick Jones and the Renegades to help resolve the crisis and assigned S.H.I.E.L.D. super-agent Carmilla Black, AKA Scorpion, to assist; they all aided in damage control and protecting civilians and teamed with other Super Heroes to oppose the Hulk, who was eventually defeated. Angel and Namora were granted amnesty, but Hercules and Cho were arrested for destroying a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. Jones hoped to negotiate some form of amnesty for them as well, trying to shame Cho into joining the post-Hulk disaster relief efforts, but a paranoid Cho blamed S.H.I.E.L.D. for many of his problems and feared being turned into a military asset, so he and Hercules stole classified data from Jones’ office and fled. Cho even tried to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D.’s operations with a specialized computer virus, though Hercules talked him into reversing this at the last moment. Around this time, Commander Jones also investigated the apparent murder of his friend Clay Quartermain by a mad Leonard Samson, AKA Doc Samson.
When corrupt politician Norman Osborn disbanded S.H.I.E.L.D. and replaced it with his new organization HAMMER, about 1200 S.H.I.E.L.D. agents refused their automatic transfers to HAMMER and instead formed the Howling Commandos Private Military Contractors (HCPMC), a mercenary army led by Dugan, Jones, Sitwell, and Koenig, based in Sudan. Fury hired the HCPMC to aid in his ongoing conflicts with HAMMER, Hydra and other major players, agreeing to bankroll HCPMC’s operations. There was tension between Fury and Jones at first since Gabe resented Fury’s abandonment of S.H.I.E.L.D. and his cold approach to warring against former colleagues in HAMMER; however, after a Fury-devised HCPMC operation backed by Fury’s covert super-team of Secret Warriors stole multiple Helicarriers from HAMMER, defeated Hydra forces led by the superhuman Gorgon and convinced nearly 3000 HAMMER troops to defect to the HCPMC, Jones apologized to Fury for questioning his judgment.
The original Howlers continued to hold reunions, sometimes joined by modern-day associates such as Jasper Sitwell, Steve Rogers, and Sharon Carter. Those three and others joined Fury, Dugan, Jones, Koenig, Ralston and Cohen at a celebration where Jones paid solemn tribute to their dead: Juniper, Manelli, Pinkerton and Quartermain. Not long afterward, the HCPMC helped Fury’s forces attack a Hydra base in China. On their way back from that mission, the HCPMC Helicarriers Iliad and Argonaut were ambushed by a fleet of Hydra Dreadnauts. The Iliad commanded by the HCPMC’s senior officers weathered the initial assault, but the Argonaut was going down with all 320 men, so the Iliad opted to stay and fight instead of fleeing, trying to save as many of their troops as possible. In the end, both Helicarriers crashed, and their crews bailed out and continued fighting, pinned down by a Hydra army led by Gorgon. Dugan was injured and knocked out early in the battle, so Jones and Koenig ordered Sitwell to evacuate Dugan, and Jasper reluctantly complied. Minutes later, a fatal headshot claimed Koenig, who died in Gabe’s arms. An enraged Jones charged back into battle with guns blazing, felling many more Hydra troops until the Gorgon decapitated Jones with a single sword stroke as Jones cursed him, defiant to the last.