Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Creature Commandos! Part 9! (WWT #111)

This is a Very Special Issue, in that it's a crossover between the Creature Commandos and the star of Weird War Tales' other regular feature, GI Robot. It's also the first full-issue CC story since WWT #100. Like the Creature Commandos, the story behind GI Robot is a simple one: He's J.A.K.E. (Jungle Automatic Killer, Experimental), a mute combat robot way, way ahead of his time, partnered with Marine Sgt. Coker for various escapades in the Pacific theater. He's got weapons built into his hands, super robot strength, and, deep down inside, the heart of a real American hero.

Er, that is... Anyway, we start off with J.A.K.E. and Coker wading through the jungle on the tiny Pacific isle of Tattu, when they run into a Japanese ambush. Coker is wounded and has to be ferried to a hospital, and J.A.K.E. swims after his transport, unwilling to leave his friend's side. There's this whole robo-racism angle in GI Robot stories, where nobody thinks J.A.K.E. has (or can have) feelings or emotions, but that's totally just because he doesn't talk. Even Coker was essentially the kiddie version of Shrieve, always non-maliciously insulting J.A.K.E.'s intelligence and emotional capacity.

If anything, it reminds me of Doc Magnus' relationship with Platinum. I doubt this was intentional, but it's probably no coincidence that both the Metal Men and GI Robot were written and created by Bob Kanigher.

Meanwhile, at a Parisian children's hospital, Shrieve is doing what he does best: shaming, insulting, and demeaning the monsters in his thrall. The CCs are there to put on a show for the kids: a freak show, naturally. Sure, the kids are more astonished than afraid or repulsed, but I really don't think this is helping any of these guys' body image issues. The table is turned when Rhodes shows off her snakes, though, as the kids burst into laughter when Shrieve is frightened by them.

I guess it's nice to know that, despite Shrieve having nothing to do with her, uh, condition, Rhodes shares the others' open contempt for him. Looks like she's gonna fit in just fine. Oh, and she's been consistently referred to as "Dr. Medusa", but that name can eat me; none of the others have codenames.

Shrieve is later called in for a mission briefing by a special ops CO. Tattu is of vital significance to the Pacific theater, he says, but allied marines aren't making any headway. They've tried to send ships full of reinforcements, but each one was sunk on the way, just after reporting an unknown bogie. And these couldn't have been enemy ships or planes, because the allied ships would have detected and recognized them.

The CCs are to be flown out to a fleet near Tattu, where they'll find the UFO and destroy it any way they can. Uh, I think this guy doesn't really get what the CCs do; they're capable of a lot, but fighting a ship-sinking mystery airship?

Back with the CCs, who are all hanging out because it's not like they have any other friends. Shrieve pulls up in a jeep, which they pile into as they head off on the mission.

It turns out they literally only had the plane waiting for them, as they crew it themselves, with Shrieve piloting, Griffith and Lucky as gunners, etc. Griffith spots J.A.K.E., still swimming after the sub carrying Coker, in the water below, but dismisses it as his eyes playing tricks on him because nobody could be swimming this far from land

And then a giant pteranodon attacks. It looks like Tattu is close to Dinosaur Island, because they're in dino country again. Rhodes takes the giant flying lizard's appearance in stride

Velcro does what is basically the coolest thing he could possibly do: he feeds it a grenade in bat form.

The plane's in such bad shape from the attack that it goes down into the drink. The CCs swim towards their rubber raft (after Velcro, no joke, drinks pteranodon blood), only to find J.A.K.E. in it. They think he's hostile until he blasts away a giant pleisiosaur that was coming up behind them. Shrieve bemoans that the mission was a bust, but their objective ends up coming to them.

It sucks their raft inside, then submerges below the depths again. As it happens, Rhodes feels very attached to J.A.K.E., thinking him the closest thing to a man who isn't disgusted by her. Lucky, however, has a crush on her that he obviously can't voice. As if this guy needed another thing to be sad about. Anyway, looking out a window (or porthole I guess), they see the spinny crown has descended to a city in a giant air pocket, which obviously has to be Atlantis.Velcro and Rhodes trade theories about why Atlantis is under the Pacific, but Shrieve is more concerned with the giant honking rockets near the crown's eventual landing site.

It turns out Atlanteans are kind of Mayans, and that this is "Atlantis II", to which Atlanteans retreated as their land sank. Atlantis II also sank, but they were ready for it this time. Man, for an advanced culture they pick the crappiest land to live on. The attacks on allied ships are part of a revenge plot against Atlantis' enemies, with the Atlanteans not realizing that all their enemies are long dead now. The head Atlantean isn't hearing it, declaring the CCs monsters and enemies of the state, which starts a huge brawl. Lucky knocks the leader's head off and it turns out they're all robots.

The leader says that Atlantean scientists learned to build incredibly sophisticated robots, and this is the result: a master race, superior to humans, destined to rule the world. As this is revealed, J.A.K.E. seems to turn traitor, firing on the CCs. He herds them back into the crown on the head Atlantean's orders, and guides those rockets I mentioned earlier towards the American fleet... or does he?

He was just pretending to betray the CCs; he ejects them along with a life raft and drives the missiles into the ocean, blowing himself to bits in the process. Man, it's a real shame, I bet he and Lucky would have had a lot to talk about if they could talk

His sacrifice is undermined somewhat, though, by a caption that reveals another J.A.K.E. is ready for action by next issue.

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