I'm not a very dedicated purveyor of Diamond's "Previews" catalog, so there are occasions where comic books that should be on my radar nearly slip right past me. Thank goodness for the CBR Previews section, otherwise I would have completely missed out on Stuart Jennett's "Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol" #1.
With a lettering and logo assist from Donna Jennett, Stuart Jennett delivers the complete package here: story, art and cover. One of the three would be sufficient, but all three are truly topnotch. The basic premise behind Jennett's tale is the Nazis and American forces have reached into the timestream as yet another battlefield during World War II. That opens the doors wide for anything Jennett feels like throwing into the story, such as Albert Einstein brandishing a machine gun and Tyrannosauruses chomping on soldiers. As Jennett is building this story from the ground up with no promises, nothing is sacred.
That naturally leads to plenty of excitement, adventure and unpredictable events. Despite having nothing invested in "Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol" before opening the book, readers will find themselves locked onto every panel and word balloon. Jennett provides plenty of subtle detail, with dinosaurs evocative of William Stout's work, but painted in a more organic manner that seems like watercolors mixed with other paints. I'm certain it was all done digitally, but the artwork doesn't feel rigid and digital, it breathes and glides between the pages. Jennett doesn't skimp on anything, providing lush depths to the backgrounds of every panel while intricately detailing the soldiers and dinosaurs. Jennett's expressions are also well-executed, palpably describing the emotion of the events Sarge and his men endure.
There is a backstory to Sarge and the time-tossed battle, but that tale simply seems like it would be too much for a first issue. Instead of spending too much time on exposition, Jennett simply provides the basics: Sarge and his troops are good guys, they came back to the time of dinosaurs to hunt down some Nazis, who are the bad guys. The details fill in around that. Using a Parasaurolophus and a Tyrannosaurus Rex to establish the time period in detail, Jennett is free to fill the pages of "Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol" with a fast-paced, easily-digested story filled with things that comic books need more of: solid writing, beautiful art, dinosaurs and Einstein holding his own in battle. Do yourself a favor this week and give this book a shot. You'll enjoy it a whole lot more than that other similarly priced book bought out of habit. Stuart Jennett put a lot of pride and craftsmanship into "Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol" #1 and it shows. Clearly Jennett had fun along the way despite the bullets and blood. Readers will too.