COMIC REVIEW: Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol #1

Chronos Commandos CoverCommandos. Time travel. Albert Einstein with a machine gun. Nazis. Dinosaurs. What’s not to like? This sounds like fun. Welcome to issue #1 of Stuart Jennett’s Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol. So, is it the cool comic that it sounds like it should be?

We’re introduced to a platoon of Allied Commandos after a brief prologue in the Cretaceous world of dinosaurs. They arrive in a giant spherical pod, designed in keeping with a World War II bomber, complete with ‘sexy girl’ icon. At first, we’re not sure what they are doing, but it is clear they have a mission. There are also rules to time travel which they are aware of. This isn’t the first time for these soldiers. After an encounter with a T. Rex, they come across a Nazi camp. It appears that they are studying the dinosaurs. A battle ensues. People die. Some characters appear to know each other from a previous encounter. When the Sarge returns to his time, he finds Einstein fending off Nazi invaders. End of issue #1.

The cover of Dawn Patrol looks really appealing. It is clearly an old school take on comic books. Jennett has previously worked on 2000AD and Marvel’s Warheads. This chap likes war and soldiers. He has written and drawn this book and it’s clearly his baby. It’s the story he wants to tell; the characters he wants to draw. Unfortunately, or maybe deliberately, this comic is too cliché ridden for my tastes. All the soldiers from various comics and films are present. There’s the cigar-chomping Sarge, the geeky one, the black one and the one with the woollen hat that just wants to stab things. The trek through the jungle falls into the expected path, as magnificence turns to horror.

On the other hand, the artwork is lovely. It is of a particular style, very much bold and beautiful. The characters are all distinctive and the dinosaurs are perfectly rendered. The action is full-on and well realised. The colours are sumptuous and perfectly indicate the mood of each scene. The jungle is hot and humid; the swamp at sunset suitably sultry. And Albert looks cool with a machine gun to his shoulder. However, every sound effect that is drawn also comes with accompanying ‘screeeekk’, ‘clank’, ‘crunch’ and ‘grrrrgh’. Not needed. The art engenders these sound affects without Jennett having to write them in too.

The dialogue is a bit clunky and as with the characters and scenario, a bit clichéd. The German’s dialogue is just odd. They speak in horrible war-film style accents, smattered with the odd German word that the reader might know. It is, I think, intended to add to the old war film feel, but it would have worked better just represented as a translation.

Jennett has probably got the look and feel of the comic book he was hoping for, with a particular war-film feel and familiar characters, but the story needs more. Of course, more may follow in subsequent issues, but as an Issue #1, I felt this needed a like more oomph and a little less of the obvious to make it fun. I did enjoy the dinosaurs and the time travel aspects of the story. Dawn Patrol is kinda fun, but could have and should have been a whole lot more.

Rating: 2.5/5
Reporter: Ian J Simpson

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