Gail Williams goes back in time with the Chronos Commandos.
This offering is a Boys' Own Adventure Stories meets Jurassic Park. There are guns and armies, science and dinosaurs - what's not to love?
Reading Chronos Commandos definitely took me back to the kind of mash-up playground hustles of the 1970s (yes I am showing my age, but inside we're all still kids, right?). And to be fair, this is pretty much the way the writers bill their own work. The flavours here are Ripping Yarns and Comic Strip Presents. It's time for fun and suspension of disbelief.
So the premise of the story is that the Prof is working with time travel, sending our four All American commandos back into the Crustaceous period, the first enemy encountered is a Rex. Bites clean through a commando, great use of form and colour on the uncoiling intestines. Amazingly, at this point, the Sarge doesn't bite through his all important cigar.
The natural inhabitants of this harsh environment take their tole, and only the Sarge and Grease are left. Still they find the Nazi, give it to them good, there's even an interesting use of a grenade. Then the Sarge, the only remaining commando at this point, heads back to find the command centre in deep doggy do-do. The Nazi's have infiltrated and stolen a key component from the time travel machinery. Prof (who looks amazingly like Einstein) reveals events, and of course Sarge has to go back with whatever men he can scrape together to regain the component and get it back to the command centre before the time machine explodes.
As this is a time travel story, you do need to read it properly or else the story will get well out of whack.
There are some interesting clues to other possible story lines too, civilisations that died out long before any human ever evolved (or was created your personal world view is yours). There are some fun references too, particularly enjoyed "Crash Jordon".
The art work is good throughout, very 1940s in feel. The dinosaurs are well drawn, I particularly like the massive prehistoric butterflies. The men and their scars look like battle hardened commandos. Gritty realism - even cartoony grit and unrealism - works for this story and for me as a reader.
Definitely a four out of five for me, but I can see how others, particularly men of a certain age, would put this as a five out of five. Hope you enjoy it.
Chronos Commandos: Volume One - Dawn Patrol is out now.
Gail Williams lives in her own private dungeon populated with all the weird and
the wonderful she can imagine. Some of it’s very weird, and the odd bits
and pieces are a bit wonderful. Well okay, she lives in Swansea with
her husband and daughter. And the world’s most demanding cat. To find
out more about Gail, check out www.gailbwilliams.co.uk - Dare you!