Saturday, November 14, 2020

Creature Commandos Invade The War That Time Forgot

Chocolate and peanut butter are two great things.  Each of them are made better by combining the two...and the same can be said about series set in World War II.

Two of the oddest features of World War II combined for an issue, when the Creature Commandos ended up on Dinosaur Island, fighting the War That Time Forgot in Weird War Tales #100 (June, 1981) by Mike W. Barr, Bob Hall and Jerry Ordway (under a cover by Joe Kubert).

Creature Commandos

But, first, a little history, starting with the premier of the Creature Commandos from Weird War Tales #93 (November, 1980) by J. M. DeMattteis, Pat Broderick and John Celardo, with the U.S. government via a group called Project M (for "Monster") created what would be the Creature Commandos...

...taking convicted con man Sgt. Vincent Velcro and injecting him with experimental chemicals including the blood of vampire bats until he manifested the ability to turn into a bat, with a desire for human blood (though no weakness to the sun or religious iconography); Warren Griffith, a 4F young man from Oklahoma who suffered from the belief he was a lycanthrope, and giving him treatments to make him change into a wolfman at random (not controlled by the moon) and Private Elliot "Lucky" Taylor, who stepped on a land mine on a Pacific island, yet was reassembled as a super-strong, silent patchwork man; with these men turned monsters led by Lt. Matthew Shrieve (whose lust for battle could make him the most monstrous of them all).  

The group continued as the main feature of Weird War Tales after this issue, missing only a few issues, adding a Dr. Medusa to their ranks, as well as teaming up with both versions of the G.I. Robot, right up until the end of the series with Weird War Tales #124 (June, 1983), where they were shot into space (later to be picked up by Brainiac and returned to Earth by Superman).

The War That Time Forgot

Dinosaur Island premiered in Star Spangled War Stories #90 (April-May, 1960) by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito (though the island didn't get that name until later in the series), and started a series of loosely connected stories featuring soldiers versus dinosaurs during World War II, but with some regular sub-features that it introduced like...

...G.I. Robot (in Star Spangled War Stories #101), the Suicide Squadron (WWII's inspiration for the Suicide Squad, which came first, but this version started in Star Spangled War Stories #110) and the Bird-Man (who fought enemy forces on pterodactyls, starting in Star Spangled War Stories #129), with the series ending in Star Spangled War Stories #137 (February-March, 1968), though Dinosaur Island could still be found, being visited once by the crew of the Haunted Tank, then a few stories in Weird War Tales before the team-up (and a few after)...

...with Dinosaur Island "settling" post-Crisis to be a part of Warlord's Skartaris (and even being a place where Bat Lash and the Enemy Ace fought Vandal Savage in the 1920s before these stories....).

But, back to the task at hand....


Dinosaur Convoy

The Creature Commandos were assigned to follow up on missing recon patrols near a series of Pacific Islands, looking for a Japanese convoy.  

There, they encountered Japanese troops (as well as plenty of dinosaurs), with both Shrieve and the Japanese commander realizing that the dinosaurs could have uses as troops as well.  


The Creature Commandos reluctantly fought the dinosaurs, dispatched the Japanese troops, and even helped rally the dinosaurs to take out the Japanese convoy, with Shrieve taking pictures to document how the dinosaurs could be used by the government against the Japanese.  

Lucky (the patchwork man) destroyed Shrieve's camera, with Velcro (the vampire) explaining that he wouldn't let them exploit the dinosaurs, who were just mindless creatures, unlike the "monsters" of the Creature Commandos they already have in service.


1 comment:

  1. My brother used to have a huge stack of Weird War Tales. Naturally I ended up reading a lot of them even though war comics were never my bag. Creature Commandos was a nice compromise between war comics and superheroes.