By Stuart Jennett
The pulpy science-fiction series, Chronos Commandos, had a promising start that slowly began to decline with each passing issue. However, the final installment in the first arc, Dawn Patrol, rekindled the proverbial fires that were glimpsed back in issue #1 and provided an incredibly exciting ride along the way.
As with previous issues, Stuart Jennett masterminds this book taking on both writing and art duties. Dawn Patrol #5 was an action-packed thriller from start to finish. The Einsteins and the Sarge are back at Project Watchmaker dealing with the reactor core, while this is interspersed with the Sarge and his remaining troops resolving their cretaceous conflict with the Nazis. The issue was full of suspense, particularly during the reactor core scenario where the outcome remained uncertain until the final moments. The conflict between the Chronos Commandos and the Nazis was also quit well executed, including a number of exciting surprises, more brutal and horrifying encounters with ancient creatures, and a thoroughly satisfying conclusion for the current predicament. The action sequences throughout issue #5 were incredibly well-paced and organized, hitting all the right notes along the way. The dialogue itself also seems to have improved, dropping a few gems throughout the battle between Richter and the Sarge. Finally the enigmatic yet highly intriguing ending hinted at some big things to come in future arcs.
Despite any misgivings with previous issues, Jennett’s artwork always remained a favorite. Even considering his previous consistency regarding the visuals, Dawn Patrol #5 had some of the best art yet. Stuart Jennett’s style feels very unique and brings something wholly fresh to this series. The colors in particular are fantastic, lending a very vibrant and realistic sensibility to the beautifully painted scenarios on every panel. It is difficult to describe each detail that makes this style so aesthetically pleasing, but it has quickly become a personal favorite. The action in Dawn Patrol #5 was illustrated in a very dynamic manner that really helped each scene flow incredibly well, while the colors in this issue went above and beyond previous expectations. While the cretaceous scenes were presented in their typically lush blending of vibrant tones, the scenes set back at Project Watchmaker were draped in deep yet bright hues of red as the reactor core alarm rang out, while the panels were similarly set in bright tones of blue while following the Sarge in the core. While Jennett’s use of lighting effects is always excellent, this attention to detail really shines in issue #5. For example, when the blue of the reactor core room opens up into the red of the control room, the colors become more blended into subtle shades of purple and pink. The final scenes hinting at what may come next were similarly impressive and moody, presented in thickly defined black and white lighting and shadows.
While excitement about Chronos Commandos ebbed and waned over the course of Dawn Patrol, the latest issue has reignited an interest in the story being told. The characters feel likeable again, the dialogue was interesting, and the suspense was palpable throughout. The plot resolution was quite satisfying, while the artwork remains a force to be reckoned with. Furthermore, the next arc is now highly anticipated given the intriguingly cryptic hints provided at the end of issue #5.