By Stuart Jennett
Publishing newcomers, Titan Comics, have recently been releasing a handful of interesting new titles including the pulp-action science fiction book – Chronos Commandos. This series was off to a terrific start but began to lose a bit of steam recently. While the latest installment provided a heaping portion of action, the story remains a bit stagnant.
Engaged in a time war with the Nazis, the Chronos Commandos have been trying desperately to return a vital piece of equipment from their current situation in the Cretaceous period. The conflict between Einstein and the traitorous scientist back at Project: Watchmaker was resolved with an interesting time-traveling twist, and while this was executed nicely, the follow-up was a bit bland as the two Alberts engage in jargon-riddled dialogue while operating the various chronal equipment. The rest of the issue continued to follow the soldiers trekking through the past as they deal with a number of ancient creatures and enemy combatants. While fairly action-packed, issue #4 didn’t really move the story forward a great deal, which was a problem encountered last month. We have seen the characters trudge their way through the same environments, doing the same things for most of the series now. While a drastic change of pace may not be warranted at this point in the plot, it is disappointing to see such little development from one issue to the next. It also feels like the dialogue of the Nazi soldiers has gradually become more and more “Germanized” as the series progresses; this could’ve worked if done in small doses in equal parts, but the inconsistent application of this aspect feels like more of a hindrance at this point in the book.
Despite the gradually lacking story, the artwork in Chronos Commandos remains as magnificent as ever. The visuals appear as beautifully painted scenarios which are not only very well detailed, but also look completely different from anything else being done. The action is presented in a dynamic way while each panel has a real depth that pulls the reader in. The illustrations themselves are fantastic; particularly when the wild creatures are involved, but it is the coloring that really stands out in the fourth issue of Dawn Patrol. The incredibly lush colors bring a ton of life to each page and the palette is perfectly suited to each scenario being depicted. The vibrant blues of electricity back in the American base, the hazy purples as the troops trudge their way through the ancient swamps, and the deep dark of the caves punctuated by the fires of torched giant-spiders all look magnificent and bring a lot of much needed life to this book.
While Stuart Jennett’s Chronos Commandos has a lot of potential which remains untapped, the major plot has ground to a bit of a hault in recent months. The story hasn’t really been pushed forward very much and the series is beginning to feel overly redundant. The artwork is as incredible as ever but it just isn’t enough to save the increasingly weak story. Something different needs to happen to these characters in order for Chronos Commandos to retain its appeal.