Rating: 4/5 – The Weirdest Ideas Sometimes Just Work.
by ComicSpectrum Reviewer Ian Gowan
Collecting Weird War Tales #93, 97, 100, 102, 105, 108-112, 114-119, 121 and 124
A Werewolf, a Vampire and Frankenstein’s Monster know how to kick some serious Nazi solider tail. This is a straight in your face World War II horror story from the 1980’s. These monsters take no prisoners and leave everything destroyed. They were created from former soldiers in varying bad situations to take on the most difficult and dangerous missions of WWII. Velcro the Vampire, Lucky the Frankenstein monster, and Griffith the werewolf are led by the hard-nosed “regular human” Lieutenant Shrieve. It sounds ridiculous and it is, but it just works as a horror story on many levels.
The origin story of all these characters are handled in short order with issue #93 by writer J.M. Dematteis and artist Pat Broderick. Although the majority of the issues are written by Robert Kanigher with art by Fred Carrillo. Kanigher is most well known for his long run on Sgt. Rock among many other war comics. Kanigher’s technically accurate war comics are not afraid to hold back on the violence and horror at all. Although these comics seem quaint since they are from the eighties, they are very violent and not for younger children. One particularly disturbing story actually involved children getting shot through an dying in panel. Kanigher introduces us to the tough female member of the team, Dr. Medusa. She ends up being my favorite character as she is the least predicable. The G.I. Robot gets mixed in with the group as well in a couple issues. Fred Carrillo is an amazing Filipino comic book artist with whom I wasn’t that familiar with until now. Fred is seemingly able to render anything set before him and has a classic yet also distinctive style. He also inked his own work which wasn’t all that common in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
These aren’t complete the Weird War Tales issues, but they are whole Creature Commandos stories. You get a lot of comics for twenty bucks in these DC trade paperbacks. The paper has a similar roughness to what you get in the regular comics but better for reading in a modern day trade. The re-coloring is better to my eye but it still has that flat style of coloring from the 1980’s. If you read the DC’s New 52 Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. then you get a little more background info here. Although it doesn’t lead directly into that series as there were some middle series in there. Fred Carrillo’s art was a nice surprise in this larger trade and the wackiness of it all made it fun. Don’t get me wrong these are very dark tales of horror and war. If you like horror comics, pick up this trade, read it, and you won’t be disappointed.
Reviewed by: Ian Gowan
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