Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Creature Commandos continue (Weird War Tales #97)

WWT #97 marks the second appearance of the Creature Commandos, and it's about a year's worth of upcoming issues before they graduate to permanent headliner status along with G.I. Robot.

Having read ahead a little, I feel like the team really is missing something without Myrra Rhodes; shame she's not coming up for a little while. 

Anyway, the story opens with the Commandos still in occupied France after their first mission. Velcro does some aerial recon in bat form before swooping down, turning back into vampire mode, and meeting with the others.

I didn't think Death's opening was interesting enough to mention, but like in the team's last appearance, he's wearing a different uniform in the CC story than he was in the whole comic's introduction.

Again, I think Velcro is really the figure you're meant to identify with the most, and I find that pretty interesting since he's a murderous ex-con turned vampire. Shrieve and Griffith both bark at Velcro to give his report; Velcro inwardly reminds himself that underneath Griffith's furry muzzle is a cowardly weakling, which helps stay any fear he might feel towards the werewolf. Velcro reports that the intelligence they received was right on, and is positive the Germans in the nearby encampment know the location of captured Allied VIP Dr. Frederique. 

Based on the "every issue is someone's first" principle, everybody's origin gets a token mention before the action starts. Oh, and I know Shrieve is the worst of the bunch, but I think we need to be honest with ourselves and admit that Griffith is just barely below him on that hierarchy. Anyway, Shrieve doesn't see any point in waiting and has the team mount an assault. The following page is a really great example of the Creature Commandos in action, their effect on enemy soldiers and all that.

Some of the Germans survive and run for their lives; Shrieve tries to take some credit for that despite having done nothing. Lucky busts open the doors on that armored truck, which Shrieve suspects contains Dr. Frederique. Frederique turns out to be an attractive young woman, who is naturally frightened by the Creature Commandos. Shrieve is all too happy to comfort her. As they trek to the rendezvous point, Frederique and Shrieve discover they disagree on some fundamental issues: Frederique grew to like her captors somewhat after seeing that they are just normal guys. Shrieve thinks every "Nazi pig" is just as bad as Hitler himself, and can't wrap his head around the idea of a good German. Frederique remarks that it's easy to think that way when you see a group as a faceless mass, rather than as individuals, as men.

There's a relatively pointless scene where Griffith saves the group from feral wolves (while, naturally, horrifying Frederique) and Lucky takes care of a huge tree that was in their way.

They reach the rendezvous point, which is heavily fortified and filled with German troops; it turns out Frederique is an impostor, a German spy who was meant to lure them to their dooms. However, at the last second, she sacrifices herself to save them -- she saw the American monsters for the men they are inside.

The commandos clear out the village with incredibly brutality and rapidity. Velcro suggests they bury Frederique, or whoever she was, but Shrieve doesn't see why they should bother.

Is that a tear running down Shrieve's face? Jeez, I had no idea he had emotions besides hatred. He's turning into every bit the tragic monster his "freaks" already are. Am I being too hard on him? Maybe. I guess it's a little ironic that I have trouble seeing Shrieve as human compared to the Creature Commandos themselves.

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