I had this really weird habit when I was a kid. I was such a comic book fanboy that I had pretty much memorized the shipping schedules of comics that were sold at my local hometown drug store, down to the point that I knew that the third week of the month was a deadzone. If memory serv es right, circa the early 1980s...the third week meant picking through three things on their newstand (back next to the soda fountain):
1.) Various Archie Comics titles
2.) Batman and the Outsiders
3.) DC's war books.*
Now, for a young superhero junkie like myself, this was always a dreary week, forced to spend my hard-earned allowance on books I didn't particularly enjoy...until I discovered Weird War Tales....and The Creature Commandos.
For a developing weirdo like myself, this feature (along with one that shared the book from time to time, G.I. Robot) were just odd-ball enough to garner my atention and over the years become endeared to me and my particular eclectic comic book tastes...
The title was an anthology series that told war related stories with science fiction, horror, mystery and suspense. Each issue was hosted by Death, usually dressed in a different military uniform each issue. Recurring characters began to appear late in the series run, notably the Creature Commandos, G.I. Robot, and the return of The War That Time Forgot (which originally ran in Star Spangled War Stories). Other stories would often feature robot soldiers, ghosts, the undead, and other paranormal characters from different eras of time.
The Creature Commandos are a fictional DC Comics team of military superhumans first deployed in World War II. The original team, created by J.M. DeMatteis, was introduced in Weird War Tales #93 (November 1980).
Project M was a secret government organization which operated during World War II and specialized in experimental biotechnology and necromancy. Known creations of the Project include the Creature Commandos, Miss America and the G.I. Robot. The Project's main scientist is one Professor Mazursky. He was aided by Robert Crane. As told in Young All-Stars #12, they operated from a secret underground complex on mythical Ferris Island in New York.
In 1942, Project M created the Creature Commandos. They were: Lt. Matthew Shrieve (normal), Warren Griffith (werewolf), Sgt. Vincent Velcro (vampire), Pvt. Elliot "Lucky" Taylor (frankenstein's monster) and Dr. Myrra Rhodes (medusa).
Project M yielded other interesting specimens. Most notably, they were behind the creation of the heroine, Miss America. Prof. Mazursky kidnapped her after his original subject perished. At first, his experiments appeared to have left her incapacitated. He later returned her unconscious form to the surface world. After that, she began a masked heroing career but was critically injured while fighting alongside the Freedom Fighters. Project M recovered her and nursed her back to health. While there, Project M was visited by the Young All-Stars, who had discovered that Project M had been infiltrated. A criminal named Deathbolt was there seeking a new physical host for the disembodied brain of the Ultra-Humanite. The Ultra-Humanite took over the body of a dinosaur recovered from Dinosaur Island.
World War II
The team's first mission was in France, where they destroyed Nazi manufactured android duplicates of the Allied leaders. In their next mission to France to free scientist Dr. Renee Frederique. The Commandos ultimately found her in a death camp, and they had no choice but to kill her. Her knowledge of a chemical nerve gas was too risky to be left in Nazi hands. Because of his his part in the killing, Taylor attempted suicide. Although the doctors attempted to repair him, he remained mute for the rest of the series. On another morally dubious mission the team caused the deaths of dozens of super-soldier children.
In 1943, the Commandos were deployed to Dinosaur Island in the South Pacific. They were supposed to solve the disappearance of several Allied spotter planes. They discovered a hidden Axis naval base and were able to trick the dinosaurs in turning on the Japanese navy. Shrieve took pictures for his commanders as proof of the island's existence. But Taylor destroyed them, he believed that the war would bring destruction to the dinosaurs.
When next they returned to Dinosaur Island, they met the first J.A.K.E., the G.I. Robot. He met the Commandos when their plane was attacked by a dinosaur and crashed into the beach. Together, the soldiers discovered an underwater civilization, a supposed lost colony of Atlantis situated in the Pacific. The lost colony had created a group of robots to carry on the work of Atlantean conquest, and these androids took control of the G.I. Robot's mind. J.A.K.E. ultimately overrode their commands and sacrificed itself to destroy the colony.
At the end of the war, the remaining Creature Commandos and J.A.K.E. 2 were forced to man a rocket aimed at Berlin. But the rocket went radically off course and headed out of the atmosphere into deep space.
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