Nazis, dinosaurs, and commandos. What more could any kid, or kid-at-heart, ask for?
I was a big fan of DC Comics Showcase Presents series. These were relatively inexpensive black-and-white reprints of old comics. To DC’s credit, they didn’t limit themselves to just the popular superheroes. In point of fact, it was a while before a Batman volume appeared at all. DC was not afraid to pull out one of their lesser-known properties for the treatment, and I read many really interesting comics that way.
One of these lesser-known series was one entitled The War That Time Forgot. These stories were really simple. Some American soldiers, possibly World War II era guys, would somehow always wash up onto this mysterious Pacific island where dinosaurs still lived. Then they’d be attacked by, oh, every large critter that they found and end up fighting back, usually resorting to hand grenades or “TNT” as they always referred to them because the darn animals were more or less bulletproof. Eventually, after taking out two or three large animals (usually dinosaurs but there was the occasional giant ape), the soldiers would get off the island to freedom.
Quite frankly, these stories were terrible. If you knew anything about dinosaurs, or even animals in general, the idea that anything bigger than a metaphorical breadbox would try to eat you is downright dumb. Yes, in this series, even known herbivores would attack the soldiers. And if the soldiers had any personal issues, they seemed rather dull compared to whatever monster was trying to make a snack out of them. Sometimes characters would appear more than once. Those were not necessarily more endearing. One such repeat characters were a trio of acrobatic brothers who before the war were trying to impress a specific circus recruiter who was never impressed by their skills. So, they spent the entire pair of stories they were in flipping and tumbling away from various big lizards in full gear while all the while saying they really wanted to impress this circus recruiter. Seriously. This volume was one of the few I gave away and thought nothing of.
Why bring up all this? Well, Titan Comics and writer/artist Stuart Jennett had a similar concept in mind. A group of American G.I.s, led by a guy known only as the Sarge, go back in time to fight Nazis in the age of dinosaurs, and something they have to take out the dinosaurs as well. It’s a time war. Back in their present (during World War II), Albert Einstein is manning the controls and helping out.
See, Jennett’s story isn’t the slightest bit deep. Soldiers fighting Nazis, dinosaurs, and the occasional giant spider. It’s pure pulp adventure, and the Sarge may always come home, but the other soldiers in his unit can die. The Nazis are pure evil, but they are Nazis. But this is Titan Comics, so the stories are gory and violent in ways DC could never be in the Silver Age…or outside the Vertigo imprint. While the actual story may be inconsequential, that doesn’t mean the story itself isn’t fun. And while Jennett’s own biology ideas are just as out there as DC’s Dinosaur Island, that pretty much doesn’t matter when the first time you see Einstein he’s shooting up Nazis invading his lab with a machine gun. This one is pure eye and brain candy, nothing more. And that’s just fine. I’m giving it eight out of ten Mega-Crocs.
NEXT BOOK: Wait a minute…the History Channel has a line of comics? Well, maybe. Be back soon for The Story of Us All, Mankind Volume One.