Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Creature Commandos! Part 5 (Weird War Tales #105)

This is the last CC story before they hit the big time as WWT's headliner in #108, if that's a fact anyone but me finds interesting.

The story opens with the CCs facing off against a tank -- unarmed and without any outside help. Even Shrieve is nowhere to be seen. The tank's markings indicate it as American, and, as revealed in the captions, this scene takes place on a Midwestern army base.

Everyone manages to contribute to toppling the tank, with Velcro seeping inside it in mist form and Griffith snapping its machine gun right off, but Lucky does all the work by simply pushing it on its side. Shrieve emerges from its hatch, barking at the CCs for taking too long to defeat the tank. Their time was 30 seconds longer than projected, and he'd make them do the drill again if they didn't have a mission to get to... stateside, in the tiny NY town of Freedom. There, they find what I'm guessing is its entire population of 67 gathered in the town hall, singing.

Yeah, Freedom's population is made up solely of Nazi sympathizers from around the country, out to subvert the war effort with a fascist newspaper (...uh, sure). Army Intelligence also thinks they're harboring German spies. The CCs have to take action against Freedom, a prospect Griffith is excited about, but their mission isn't killing -- it's terror. 

At first, this takes the form of having Griffith massacre the townspeople's livestock and even pets, but one night Shrieve cuts the town's power and has Velcro threaten them, calling himself an envoy of the devil.

As the terrified townsfolk run from him, Velcro laments the things he does for his country -- and his blood rations. As they run to the town hall, the people see Lucky standing between two of its pillars. Lucky decides to go for symbolism, snapping the pillars to bring the building down before smashing the giant swastika and Hitler portrait inside. I'm surprised the giant swastika on the cover was actually in the issue, I (funnily enough) thought that a symbolic thing.

Griffith leaps out at the people of Freedom from the rooftops, showing restraint and not harming anyone due to his respect for Shrieve's orders. That's a side of Griffith we rarely see, and I don't think it's out of character at all -- he's a giant attack dog, of course he obeys his master. Shrieve firebombs the fascist newspaper's press while the townspeople are busy being scared witless.

The fire spreads across the town rapidly, pretty much eradicating the whole town. However, a little girl is trapped on the second story of her home. Lucky, being a real stand-up guy, saves her. She leaves her doll with Lucky, seemingly so afraid or rattled she forgot about it. As the CCs watch the tiny town burn, Shrieve congratulates everyone on a job well done. Velcro, as usual, is disgusted by Shrieve's attitude, and Shrieve naturally has no idea what he means. Shrieve says Velcro must have manure for brains, and touts all the positives of the mission's success. Lucky hands him the doll and points him towards the little girl and her family, who weep as their home burns; Velcro says he thinks Lucky's trying to say "I think YOU're the one who's full of it, Shrieve."

Again, Shrieve is totally wrong; I don't see what threat Freedom could have possibly posed. Intelligence about spies looked to be false, that's the big one. And place that small, I mean, how much circulation could their paper have gotten in even the best case scenario? If Freedom had been left alone, then after the war it would just be a microscopic town full of racists -- unpleasant, but hardly unusual no matter where you are in the world.

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