Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Superhuman Facts About DC's Creature Commandos Fans Will Devour

After much anticipation, the heads of the DC Studios, James Gunn and Peter Safran, unveiled their plan for DC's new slate of TV and movie projects. The duos' announcement comes after it was revealed they would be spearheading Warner Brothers' new multimedia production division, DC Studios, back in October. Fans have been clambering to know what Gunn — the man behind superhero smash hits like Marvel Studio's "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "The Suicide Squad" — has in store.

While the DC faithful can rest assured knowing that Gunn and co. have a big vision, including 10 confirmed exciting projects such as a new "Batman" property and "The Authority" (although there's been no confirmed casting). However, some fans may have been surprised to learn that an animated series called "Creature Commandos" will kick off the new projects.

Although "Creature Commandos" may not be the most recognizable DC title, it does have a pretty interesting history and may even provide some clues about where the new iteration of the DCU is headed. Read on to find out.

A weird history

For the unfamiliar, the original premise for "Creature Commandos" can be summed up in a few words: monsters versus Nazis. In the middle of the 20th century, before superheroes dominated the comic and movie market entirely, prints like DC used to publish dozens of comics about World War II. Famous titles and characters from this era include "Sgt. Rock," "Unknown Soldier," "The Losers," and "G.I. Combat."

The original Creature Commandos fall more in the vein of these war stories than tales of caped crusaders — even though their appearances deliver decidedly B-movie-like thrills. The titular team first appears in 1980's "Weird Tales" #9 and consists of Army Intelligence officer Lt. Matthew Shrieve, Pvt. Elliot "Lucky" Taylor (think Frankenstein's monster), Sgt. Vincent Velcoro (a vampire), and Pvt. Warren Griffith (a werewolf).

In their first outing, the team attacks a Nazi castle where scientists are developing androids of Allied Leadership (seeing monsters meet a robotic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is a surreal panel). The reader also learns about the monsters' origins. Each monstrous member of the team was originally human until the secret organization "Project M" turned them into instruments of fear (and blatant rip-offs of Universal Studios' classic monsters). Eventually the team gained other members including G.I. Robot (J.A.K.E. II) and the snake-haired Dr. Myrra Rhodes. After many wacky outings (including discovering Atlantis and fighting the Japanese navy with dinosaurs) "Creature Commandos" adventures took a hiatus when DC stopped printing "Weird War Tales" in the early '80s.

The Creatures return

After nearly two decades without their own stories, "Creature Commandos" returned to comics with their very own title in May 2000. The eight-issue run brought the original outlandish idea to the modern day. The story follows a team consisting of Warren, Lucky, Velcoro, Rhodes, and new additions Gunner (a cyborg), Cpt. Hunter, and Bogman (think The Creature from "Creature from the Black Lagoon") take on interdimensional conquerors.

The comic has a ton of fun remixing all sorts of comic tropes with modern themes. For example, the baddie the commandos are after, a dimension conqueror named Saturna, is an obvious stand-in for Thanos or Darkseid. However, Saturna's in league with an American corporation that trades weapons with the tyrant in return for real estate in the realms he's conquered. It's righteously wacky.

Plus, the intra-team dynamic among the monsters in the 2000 run may clue audiences into what drew Gunn's interest in making the show. Given his previous superhero outings, it's clear Gunn loves a dysfunctional family, and most of the "Creature Commandos" heart and humor comes from the team's bickering and banter. For the completist comic book fan, 2000's "Creature Commandos" run is definitely a limited series that's worth checking out.

The Creatures on the small screen

Comics, however, are not the only place the frightening fighting force has made an appearance over the years. The team made some fun appearances in DC Nation's animated shorts. Though they're brief, the animated shorts are a good showcase for the oddballs at the story's core. They lean into the absurdity behind the initial comics idea and even mine it for plenty of humor in their minute runtimes.

For example, one short sees Griffith, the lycanthrope, struggling with an Elizabethan collar — the plastic cone dogs receive after surgeries to discourage wound licking — during an operation. Another short creates a gag out of Taylor's (the Frankenstein monster's) inability to speak from the original comic. In the short, Taylor receives new vocal cords from a donor. The catch is that they make his voice sound like he's a stereotypical Valley Girl. Is it silly? Yes, but so is the idea that Frankenstein's monster and co. may be served at the Battle of the Bulge in the DC Universe.

Any fan who can't wait to catch a glimpse of the team before their show airs should definitely whet their appetites with the DC Nation clips. The shorts are definitely here for a good time, if not a long one.

Project M

Any kooky comics team worth its salt is backed by some kind of secretive agency. The Avengers have SHIELD, Task Force X has whatever shadow network Amanda Waller oversees, and the Creature Commandos have Project M. The mysterious super-science outfit behind the creation of the Creature Commandos appears in the initial storylines in "Weird War Tales," the team's 2000 title run, and the New 52.

In both versions of the narrative, Project M is well-funded, military-backed, and tasked to do things that regular outfits can't. In its first appearance in "Weird War Tales" #93, Lt. Shrieve explains Project M sought to create weapons of psychological warfare. Since this is a comic, however, Project M's findings lead them to conclude that everybody — no matter their background or training — is terrified of monsters. So the army went about creating its own.

Since Gunn and Safran announced the first chapter of their upcoming slate of DCU storylines is titled "Gods and Monsters," is it possible Project M will wind up playing a large role in their new vision? Will the team be introduced in the animated show and end up reappearing in other projects? Maybe the DCU's superheroes will even be at odds with Project M at certain points considering the announced lineup of Gunn's team includes villains like Weasel and Dr. Phosphorus. The possibilities seem endless. Whatever its role, Project M will surely make a worthy addition to the DCU.

The screen team

So who exactly will be featured in the latest iteration of "Creature Commandos?" While we only have a single photo to go off of for now, it appears the team's lineup will include Rick Flag, Sr. (more on him in a bit), Dr. Nina Mazursky (a woman-turned-amphibian responsible for creating the Creature Commandos in the New 52 iteration of the team), Dr. Phosphorus (the flaming skull), Eric Frankenstein, the Bride of Frankenstein, G.I. Robot, and Weasel (last seen during a stinger at the end of "The Suicide Squad").

At this point, no vampires or werewolves are in the show's lineup. It's also worth noting the show isn't going with Taylor's monster, but rather DC's newer version of Frankenstein who starred in the Frankenstein Agents of SHADE. comic line. He has a backstory separate from the original patchwork monster on the Creature Commandos, but he likely brings the same undead strength to the team.

Lastly, it's worth pointing out that this G.I. Robot has an enormous "2" on its helmet, so it's likely that this G.I. Robot is actually Jungle Automated Killer Experimental 2 or J.A.K.E. II, as opposed to J.A.K.E. I. The original G.I. Robot sacrificed itself in 1943 to save American soldiers. J.A.K.E. II was created after the former's demise and served with Creature Commandos. This is an interesting detail because it shows that though the series is mixing up the team, it appears to be taking elements from different pieces of the team's history.

Like father, like son

One of the most intriguing additions to the team is Rick Flag Sr. — the father of Rick Flag Jr., who usually leads the Suicide Squad. Like his son, Flag Sr. was a decorated no-nonsense military man who went on death-defying missions for the sake of honor and country. He was first introduced in 1987's "Secret Origins" #14. The story details the origins of Task Force X aka the Suicide Squad (in a glorious '80s touch, the story is framed by a conversation between Amanda Waller and then-President Ronald Reagan).

Waller explains Rick Flag Sr. led the first iteration of the Suicide Squad, originally called Task Force S, during World War II. Before supervillains and convicts got involved, Task Force S was essentially DC's version of "The Dirty Dozen" with its Rick Flag Sr. serving as a stand-in for Lee Marvin's Maj. John Reisman. Plus, he's an ace pilot and expert in hand-to-hand combat. After many successful missions, Flag Sr. eventually sacrifices himself to save his team. Waller explains this sacrifice is part of the reason Flag Jr. is willing to give so much in the name of patriotic duty.

Considering the tragic character arc Joel Kinnaman's Rick Flag undergoes in "The Suicide Squad" — he decides he won't do Waller's dirty work anymore and dies for his efforts — fans may be wondering if Flag Sr. will survive the seven-episode season. If the comics tell us anything, don't bet on it.

A nuclear connection

Another new addition to "Creature Commandos" is Dr. Phosphorus. For the unfamiliar, Dr. Phosphorus is a radioactive supervillain named Dr. Alexander Sartorius. Sartorius wasn't born an infinitely burning monster. He gained his horrid form and powers after a meltdown at a nuclear plant.

He first appeared in "Detective Comics" #469 in 1977 when he poisoned Gotham City's drinking water. Dr. Phosphorus blamed the citizens of Gotham for his accident — a case of comic logic at its finest — and causes a horrid epidemic throughout the city until Batman arrives and kicks his radioactive butt. Dr. Phosphorus' connections to Gotham City create a ton of possibilities for "Creature Commandos."

In a Twitter video, Gunn stressed the importance of running the DCU with a strong sense of continuity. Unless a project is released as a "DC Elseworlds" story — Matt Reeves' "The Batman" is a good example of a DC Elseworlds movie — it's all contained within the same universe. That means shows and films (animated or otherwise) are all connected.

Which is why Dr. Phosphorus' spot on the roster is cool. Will he have fought Batman? Will audiences get to see an animated Arkham? Will his time in Gotham come up during the show? For now, all we can do is guess. But his presence on the team suggests "Creature Commandos" will be widely connected to the rest of the world Safran and Gunn are overseeing.

The Bride

So who's leading the show? In an interesting bit of news, Gunn and Safran announced DC's "Bride of Frankenstein" aka "the Bride" would be the show's protagonist. The Bride was first introduced in the New 52's "Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE" limited series. The series reintroduced the Creature Commandos to the DC Comics universe and saw the team go on missions for Superhuman Advanced Defense Executive or SHADE Basically, they fight monsters and address scenarios deemed too weird for the likes of Superman and company.

On the page, the Bride is a four-armed undead superspy. She's one of the strongest and most effective members of the Creature Commandos. However, in "Frankenstein Agent of SHADE" #8, it's revealed she and Frankenstein's monster have a complicated relationship. Unfortunately for the creepy couple, their relationship took a tragic turn after they had a child. Their son is a literal monster, and the Bride kills him to defend her husband. After the experience, she quits SHADE and leaves her husband.

Her backstory, while tragic, will definitely make her an interesting protagonist for "Creature Commandos." It's anyone's guess how much material the show will lift from the comics, but the Bride is definitely more than meets the eye. Here's hoping the show does her justice.

Where's this on the timeline?

Since "Creature Commandos" are jump-starting the new DCU, fans may be wondering, what does it all mean for the new timeline? Given the team's 20th-century origins, some might assume their story would kick off during or just after World War II. However, in the show, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), the dangerous mind behind the Suicide Squad, will coerce the monsters into doing her black ops bidding (per Collider). While Waller could very well be inserted into WWII, it's unlikely she will be since her own series (very much set in more contemporary times) was also announced alongside the other DCU projects, featuring some members of the "Peacemaker" team (via The Hollywood Reporter).

But Rick Flag Sr.'s appearance in the series also opens the possibility that the show won't take place in the present either. Is this taking place earlier than "The Suicide Squad"? Are the events of that film canon? Maybe the series is set in the present day and the elder Flag is drawn into the fold after learning about the death of his son.

For now, all fans can do is speculate, but the idea of "Creature Commandos" pulling an operation a few decades before the DCU's main storyline kicks off sounds kind of cool. Maybe, and this is just spitballing, the show will portray a younger Waller who's still developing into a deadly operative.

Capable hands

While there are a lot of question marks around "Creature Commandos" right now, one thing's for sure: The latest version for the frightening fighters is in good hands. Gunn has reportedly already written the seven-episode series, and his blend of irreverent humor and heart will line up perfectly with the team's absurd premise (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Fans can tell that Gunn cares deeply about getting them right. In the released image, Frankenstein's monster's character design looks similar to the version Grant Morrison wrote for his 2000s "Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein" series. For the unfamiliar, Morrison's been credited with influencing comic writing for the last three decades (via Paste), and Gunn is clearly a fan of Morrison's work. Gunn even publicly praised Morrison's takes on Batman and Superman on Twitter. Morrison often leans into comics' wackier elements and heroes (for example, he revitalized "The Doom Patrol") to tell meaningful stories about his characters.

All of this to say that Gunn, the man behind making the once-obscure "Guardians of the Galaxy" a household name, will likely pull off something truly weird and wonderful with "Creature Commandos."

A continuous cast

Gunn and Safran aren't just serious about continuity from a narrative standpoint, the duo also wants continuity in their performances. To this end, they're reportedly trying to cast voice actors for "Creature Commandos" who can later appear to portray their roles in other live-action projects, as Gunn stated on Twitter.

This is a novel idea for two reasons. First, any fan who grew tired of beloved characters appearing in different projects with inconsistent backstories and motivations can rest easy. The new heads of DC seem pretty serious about righting that wrong. Second, it means "Creature Commandos" are likely going to show up in other DCU projects.

At the time of writing, no casting news about the show has broken. (Except maybe Sean Gunn as Weasel.) However, it's exciting to think about which actors will appear in the show and what other projects "Creature Commandos" will pop up in down the line. It may be a long shot, but it would be fantastic to see Frankenstein's monster duke it out with Solomon Grundy.

The Centre of evil

While nothing's been announced about the big bad who may or may not be looming over the new DCU narrative, there may be a clue in the name of the DCU's first chapter: "Gods and Monsters."

There is already an animated 2015 movie titled "Justice League: Gods and Monsters," in which the Justice League of America battles evil versions of themselves from an alternate reality. However, given the limited information revealed about "Creature Commandos," there's a possibility the new uber-villain our heroes face will be pulled from the pages of "DC: The New Frontier." The comic, set in the middle of the 20th century, sees the Justice League come together to battle the Centre, a sentient evil mass once mistaken for "The Land That Time Forgot," or "Dinosaur Island." The book's fourth chapter is even titled "Gods and Monsters."

Admittedly, an organic mass of pure evil is a kooky concept, but it could be in line with Gunn's sensibility (the man did put Starro on screen after all). Plus, "New Frontier's" prologue sees another WWII-era comic team, the Losers, rescue Rick Flag Sr. after he's stranded on Dinosaur Island. The Creature Commandos visited a mysterious dinosaur-infested island during their original run in "Weird War Tales #100." So maybe the show will follow the team's attempt to rescue Flag Sr. from Dinosaur Island before it's revealed to be the Centre. It's a long shot, but quietly introducing the next mega-baddie in "Creature Commandos" could be a killer beginning.