Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Creature Commandos! Part 7 (Weird War Tales #109)

This is the first of a two-parter, and after WWT #100's issue-length adventure, the longest CC story to date.

Yeah, they're doing the Dr. Strangelove thing. And when you see it in context you may notice it's even more blatant than it looks.

The token origin recap takes the form of a full page of Death introducing the CCs. The only notable thing about that is Velcro, who is wearing a popped collar with a mostly-unbuttoned shirt, which makes him look like Disco Dracula. 

I don't see any credits for who does the art for the Death segments (which is different from the actual stories in a given WWT issue, at least to my eye), and no offense, but he's not that great -- even his Death looks goofy.

Speaking of Velcro, he's the focus as the story starts off. The CCs are in liberated France, relaxing at a cafe (bizarrely openly). Velcro drinks from a huge jug of wine, which he bitterly smashes against the table, enraged at how unsatisfying it is. Not that it's crappy wine necessarily, but it's just... not blood, which is the only thing Velcro can really ingest these days. He angrily attacks a waitress, nearly biting her before Lucky pulls him off.

Lucky, the sensitive soul that he is, plucks a flower from a nearby table and gives it to the girl in apology. Despite Shrieve's comments about "giving her nightmares", she rewards Lucky with a kiss on the cheek. Aww. I find this a pretty interesting scene; it's not often that Velcro lashes out like that.

Velcro gets his fill of chicken blood at a butcher shop, and they head to a mission briefing. As it happens, Griffith's transformations still seem to be pretty random, and he claims to have no control over when they occur; this means that human Griffith is getting on the plane. German armor is demolishing Allied infantry and tanks, and with the dense fog neither artillery or fighters can come to the rescue. The CCs are to jump out of a bomber after it drops its payload, and destroy a dam in order to drown the panzers.

However, it's not that simple, as the last of the bombs gets stuck in the bomb bay doors. Shrieve tells Lucky to fix it, and he obliges by tackling it loose. He keeps hold of the thing as it descends. I think this is another manifestation of Lucky's death wish.

It's not long before the other CCs bail, as German night fighters zero in on the bomber and the pilot tells them to jump. The bomber is destroyed seconds later, and Velcro's chute is ruined by an enemy fighter. This isn't such a big deal for Velcro, who just turns into a bat and hunts down the pilot who put him in this situation.

When the pilot slides back his canopy to check for Allied chutes, batty Velcro swoops into the cockpit and bites his neck, causing him to panic and crash. I guess it goes without saying that Velcro's bat form is like Superbat, stronger and faster than any normal bat. Velcro naturally leaves before the plane wrecks, and soon rendezvouses with Griffith and Shrieve in a dense forest.. Griffith turns wolfman before Velcro's eyes, and for once we get some insight into what's really in Griffith's head -- Griffith is in wolf mode, but expresses disdain for his monstrous form and wishes to be a normal human again, permanently. I guess humanizing Griffith had to happen some time or other.

Shrieve greets the two Creature Commandos, saying that Lucky must not have made it. Not long after he says this, Lucky shows; it turns out he let go of the bomb and deployed his chute at more or less the exact last second. I just noticed this; last issue he got basic vocal chords, but now he's back to being totally mute; naturally, this means he can't explain how he survived to anybody. He also recovered the explosives they need to destroy the dam, which were dropped by parachute before they jumped.

Later, after finding their target (the Knolde Dam), they begin setting up the explosives. They're spotted by an enemy patrol fairly quickly, but that's what the CCs are here for, right? There's a really badass part where Lucky pounds in a tank with its own torn-off treads, but check out him busting up this half-track.

Griffith, Velcro, and even Shrieve join the fight after they finish rigging the explosives, but said ordnance goes off early and they're, you know, hoist by their own petard, caught in the ensuing flash flood. This was intended to mess up whole tank divisions, you can imagine how rough it is on four commandos.

The captions make no  bones about how desperate their situation is, and... that's it, tune in next time. I'm just going to go ahead and hazard a guess that next time everybody's okay and they meet a hot woman with snake hair.

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