THREE BROTHERS... THREE DOOMS!"
Okay, when you get a comic with an underwater Nazi frogman knife fight, a huge tentacle dropping a Sherman tank in water, and a smaller tentacled creature lifting an empty Nazi uniform, all surrounding a big gaping skull in a Nazi helmet on the cover...(breath) and it's drawn by war comics master illustrator Joe Kubert...well, this better be good.
This is DC comics' "Weird War Tales" number 77 (July 1979only 40¢ kids!) and it's all of the above. (Well, good?...eh.) It's a tale called "Triad" about a trio of red-blooded American boys who join the service during WWII. And they have some sort of psychic bond. But it's so much weirder than that.
Many of the issues of this title were anthologies but this one is "SPECIAL! A 23-PAGE BLOCKBUSTER NOVEL!." Disappointment number one: Kubert only did the cover. The inside art is by the supermodel-like named artist "Rubeny." (Hmm...turns out he was a Filipino artist named Ruben Yandocso, now you know). Most of the faces look disproportionately long but it's decent enough for the era. I think it'd probably look better in black and white. It was written by Bill Kelley. Both seem to have worked on a number of titles in the late 1970s-early 1980s for DC, of note being the horror/suspense series "House of Mystery." Like many of the horror comics, it's framed by a sardonic commentator who introduces the story and recaps at the end with a quip. In this case, a skeleton in fatigues.
One brother joined the US Navy and while out destroying U-boats in the North Atlantic, he gets timewarped to the desert by a Nazi fortress (unlike his comrades who just blow up). He gets a strange feeling about the place and follows some soldiers into the basement where he discovers an evil tentacled creature in a pool that is apparently mind-controlling the Nazisin fact, the entire "Africa Korps" (note they only went halfway, sticking a "K" in corps but not in Africaslackers). Not enough? The Nazis have no pupils. Little Orphan Nazis? Hell, no: Zombie Nazis!
He is captured but escapes after they leave. A titanic underwater battle with the alien (fortunately he still has his scuba gear) ends in victory and many of the soldiers in the Korps, who apparently were ghosts or made out of sand or something, disappear. Meanwhile, in Europe, another brother gets his Sherman blasted by a Panzer. He, his crew, and the tank wake up...in a swamp in the Pacific Theater battling Japanese soldiers! (Oh well, any target'll do.) And it turns out they're Zombie Japs! (Actually, it's more like the aliens hypnotize them, but don't harsh my buzz, man.) Another huge battle with a creature just like the first, only several times bigger, ends with the loss of the tank (presumably the now forgotten crew) and one toasted critter.
Two down, one to go! We jump to three years later and the two brothers are still missing. We open in the skies over Berlin, where another brother is bombing the "mad dictator's dream" into "flaming ruins." Something goes wrong. Something always goes wrong. The bomber goes out of control and crashes. The crew must be lost or, perhaps, Capt. Bill Reeves can pilot and operate a bomber solo. Of course he survives. He makes his way through to the rubble to findnone other than Nazi Zombie Hitler! Oh yeah...
Under the bunker is a vast cavern where another creature (bigger than the first, smaller than the secondthe Mama Bear alien) lurks and speaks through Hitler. Which seems to mean that he's mostly talking to himself. It seems Hitler is key to the creatures' or creature's (are there multiple creatures or is it the same one...? WEIRD!) plans and part of the plans requires "living Dead Hordes -- Borne of your Mind" (but in ALL-CAPS wavy lettering) that rise from the ashes to overrun the Allies. Reese gets in a knife fight with a Nazi and a gunfight with Zombie Hitler. Guess who wins.
Which totally ticks off the creature. And then you turn the page and its gone. Now, all three brothers are teleported to some sort "void where the passage of time has no meaning" then are dumped on a Texas missile base. Except for a few dead bodies it's empty and eerily silent. Suddenly, the alarm sounds that alerts them the missiles are preparing to launch. Just then they realize that the aliens (so, I guess there were multiple ones...WEIRD!) are pawns just like they are.
In another weird war leap of logic they realize that the aliens can merge and become a super creature. But seem to lose power while in the process (mostly look like mounds of slimy green snow at this point...sometimes with arms). The only chance left is to blow up the rockets before they launch which seems to be done by shooting the gauge (not a buttonthere's a needle and everything) that says Detonate. A suicide mission....
Then they're all back where they left off. Except their dead comrades remain dead. But is that really Weird enough? Oh, no it's not!
See, they all were pawns. Literally pawns in some bizarre alien boardgame played aboard space ship where the inhabitants of earth are manipulated for the aliens' (but different aliens) amusement. The loser concedes defeat, they clear the board, then decide to return to this world at another time to play again!
WEIRD WAR TALE!
And if that's not all, the X-Ray Specs ("Thrill and embarrass your friends") are only $1.75 and if that's too steep, the Sea-Monkeys are still only $1.25. And if you want to be like Dr. J and slam dunk with a signature Spalding basketball ("He plays up in the lights!"), you may just want to sign up to sell Grit Magazine for extra cash and prizes. Or you can just sit back and read how Superman placates the Orbitrons with delicious golden Twinkies, thus saving the hostages!
Personal copy bought for $3.90 on Halloween 2006see how much I care?
The Grand Comic Book Database (this is an awesome cool site) http://www.comics.org/index.lasso