We all played with toys when we were younger, right? I myself have fond recollections of spending literally days in my room, turning every available surface into a battlezone for toy soldiers and their vehicles to go to war. But to me, the greatest fun was had when I mixed things up. When I delved into the toy cupboard and started bringing out the different toys in the middle of my game of ‘soldiers’. And in a lot of ways, that’s exactly what Stuart Jennett has done here with Chronos Commandos. Grizzled American soldiers hunting Nazis? Hey, that’s pretty cool. But how about we throw in some Dinosaurs for good measure? Or maybe some giant spiders? A time machine? Super crocodiles? Yeah, now we’re talking!
If you’re looking for subtle character development or nuanced storytelling, I’ll be honest, this book isn’t going to be for you. It’s a frantic cacophony of bullets, violence and dry one-liners, and – I have to say – it’s absolutely fantastic. Jennett is clearly having an absolute blast here as he fires off one fantastic set piece after another, embracing clichés and putting together a story where it becomes almost impossible not to smile at the absurdity of it all.
Throwing us straight into the mix right from the opening pages (no pointless scene-setting or drawn-out explanations here) we join The Sarge – an almost impossibly grizzled and battle-hardened character – and his team as they find themselves in the midst of a prehistoric jungle on the hunt for some time travelling Nazis. And if you’re not hooked within these first few pages, then this book clearly isn’t for you. Everything here is larger than life, from the characters to the explosions, the sound effects and – of course – the brutal, brutal eviscerations. An overblown celebration of the Sgt. Rock style of comics, this book reads like a classic B-Movie pitch, throwing literally dozens of ideas at the wall with a machine-gun pace and having the vast majority of them find themselves sticking there.
It doesn’t hurt matters when Jennett’s digitally painted artwork is so damn easy on the eye. Once again, he’s clearly having a ball, getting to draw all sorts of fantastic situations and creatures, and really showcasing his gift for motion and… well… gore, particularly during some of the more brutal Dinosaur-assisted dismemberments. The colours are rich and vivid, and several pages would look pretty damn fantastic enlarged and stuck up on this particular reviewer’s wall.
This book is just plain awesome. Some of the exposition sequences can feel a little forced (almost intentionally so, it seems), and the whole twisting time travel storyline does get a little convoluted near the end, but in terms of providing an air-punching celebration of all those hours spent slotting random toys together in my bedroom and having an absolute whale of a time, it really doesn’t get much better than this.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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