15 August 2007


Let me get something out of the way quickly: DC Comics' The War That Time Forgot was all sorts of insane. If it was any more insane, big guys in white coats would come around, firmly drag it away into a van and drive it to a nice place somewhere in the country where all other insane books live. As it were, this 500-odd page book is usually kept in a dark room somewhere, its existence denied by those who own it and its pages browsed through only on lonely, rainy nights when the wife's away and the kids are asleep in their rooms. It's that kind of book.

TWTTF chronicled the adventures of U.S. soldiers who get sent to a remote Pacific island during the period in Earth's history known as double-you-double-you-aye-aye. As the story begins, a detachment of Marines are parachuted over the island to find out what happened to the two previous recon patrols that never reported back.

Safely landing on the island (but not before encountering a pterodactyl on the way down), the Marines discover empty enemy bunkers with bowls of rice undisturbed and empty foxholes with rifles and machine guns but no soldiers. Looks like the enemy just got up and left. But why? By the way, nowhere in the entire collection was "Japanese" or "Japs" referred to though it's pretty obvious who the previous occupiers of the island were.

Anyway, the Marines soon find out why the "enemy" up sticks and left the island:

Yeah, soldier. That must have been it. Earthquake wakes up prehistoric creatures who were in suspended animation all these years. Makes sense to me.

With that exposition out of the way, TWTTF never again refers to it. From now on, it's just dinosaur vs G.I. The soldiers are attacked by ancient, giant lizards on land:


Yeah, that tank is underwater fighting a giant coelacanth. I told you this book was insane.

The soldiers also get some trouble in the air:

From encounters in the hot, steamy jungle:

To the cold, frozen wasteland (I think the editor wanted some of the stories to take place outside of a hot Pacific island):

TWTTF doesn't have regular characters who appear in every issue. Instead we get guys who appear for a two or three issue story arcs. Most of them have something unique to make their adventures stand out. Like, there's the two man task force codenamed, "The Suicide Squad". No Deadshot in this squad, natch. Deadshot would have killed all the dinos before lunch. This Suicide Squad consists of Morgan and Mace. Mace accidentally caused Morgan's brother's death in the Winter Olympics (event: Toboggan racing) and Morgan volunteers for any mission that Mace is in....just so he can keep an eye on Mace. And shoot him if Mace decides to run.

But my personal favourite are the stories featuring Mac and the G.I. Robot. They get a four issue appearance (#101-104) where Mac reluctantly takes the robot on a test run in a dinosaur infested island. Here's Mac making all those war bonds work by teaching the robot some snazzy dance moves to impress the girls:

They soon get to be good friends, though, and none too soon for what do they bump into on that island? No, not more dinosaurs. They get to meet this guy:

It's a giant Japanese robot soldier!

Giant Japanese robot soldier can't be killed. Nothing can stop him....except maybe regular human sized American robot soldier?

And to top it all off, we also get to see some hot dino on dino action:

And dino on white gorilla fisticuffs (it's a mysterious island in the Pacific, of course there will be a giant gorilla there! A white gorilla? BONUS!)

I've never read the original colour version but that's not a problem. I prefer the black and white reproduction. Without colour, we can see the beautiful linework by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Even Joe Kubert has a one issue fill-in here. And there's no need to nitpick the ludicrous dinosaurs that appear in this comic. I don't think accuracy was what they were aiming for here. They came up with a book about dinosaurs terrorising soldiers during World War Two and by golly, they made it fun. Of course, if you read this collection it's advised that you read no more than three or four issues per sitting. It can get pretty boring pretty quick if you try to read it all in one go. It's like good chocolate cake. Eat a few slices and save some for tomorrow. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But never forget these wise words: DC SHOWCASE PRESENTS THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT is fookin' insane.


MCF said...

Does this reprint the Silver Age Weird War Tales comics?

Khairul H. said...

Nope. TWTTF first appeared STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES and it's those issues that are collected here. Perhaps their Weird War Tales debut will be collected in vol. 2