Time travel has always been an interesting staple of science fiction; we get to see where we came from and where we end up in this journey we call life. In fact, some of our favorite entertainment here on Project Fandom involves time travel. That’s a large part of what Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol, Vol. 1 is about. It’s also about that great mishmash of childhood; taking a group of toys and pitting them against each other in a battle for toy box superiority (for me, it was Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, vs. Go-Bots, vs. M.A.S.K.; the Go-Bots never stood a chance). Set in the backdrop of World War II, this tells the tale of an intrepid group of soldiers, led by a man only known as Sarge and a very familiar looking professor who are saving the world from the Nazis…while travelling along the space-time continuum and paying visits to dinosaurs. Just go with me on this.
The synopsis is straightforward, but the fun part of any story is actually getting through the tale itself. That’s one of the more brilliant things about this book; it makes what should be a standard story fun by giving it a unique setting. We travel to the era where the dinosaurs rule the earth, and we get to see our four man team handle the elements around them. We also get to see what happens if you screw up in a place where you aren’t the dominant species. Not only that, but we also get to take a look at the villainous Nazis as they go for their own level of world domination. The main baddie, Captain Richter, is as much of a scene chewing ham of a leader for his men as the Sarge is for his. They’re meant to be straightforward, but they tend to swerve in the realm of unintentional humor more often than not, and for this book, that’s a good thing.
For the most part, this book is played as straight as you can get in a time travel epic. Like I mentioned above, we get to see what happens when humans meet dinosaurs, and…to call it a curb stomp battle would be an understatement. The artwork for these battles is noticeably brutal and teeters on the realm of disaster porn as people are either decapitated, halved, poisoned, or otherwise mutilated. Of course, the dinosaurs don’t get the full tilt of destruction; the humans tend to be able to hold their own. In fact, one dino death is so ingenious, that you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. That being said, if you’re even remotely squeamish, then there will be some images that will make you want to take a pause. For the record, I’m incredibly squeamish, but I trudged through this for you, the readers, and I came out none the worse for wear.
The art in this book is simply breathtaking. Stuart Jennett, who also wrote the story, gives the characters such fluidity, that you can’t help but feel like you’re walking alongside them. Each character has his own build, his own gait, and his own personality. Even though they fall into the trope of the Command Roster (The Captain, Number Two, Mr. Fixit, The Marine, and The Scientist), they each have that little spark of uniquness that makes them important to the story at large.
This book was a fun read, and it ended on the mother of all cliffhangers. I did have some problems following the German characters, specifically because they were written in accents, but it didn’t detract from the story. The only thing it necessitated was that I read their lines again, and that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I loved this book, I recommend picking it up as soon as you can, and I plan on reading this again as soon as I can.