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Creature Commandos: Who are these DC heroes James Gunn will bring to HBO Max?

DC Studios co-head James Gunn announced that he is writing and producing an HBO Max animated series about the superhero team, the Creature Commandos. This show is one of the many projects that Gunn revealed will be part of the first chapter of his reboot of the DC Universe. When speaking about the series, Gunn said that DC would “have characters move into animation, out of animation, usually having the same actor play their voice as who plays them in live-action,” meaning audiences could see these heroes crossover into live-action in the future.

The Creature Commandos are an unusual choice for a superhero series, given their less-than-notable status in the comics world. Despite this, Gunn has surprised audiences before by taking D-list characters Peacemaker and the Guardians of the Galaxy and making them stars overnight. The team also fits with the theme of the DCU’s first chapter, which is aptly titled “Gods and Monsters.” Even so, it wouldn’t hurt to know more about this odd batch of heroes before they roll out onto HBO Max.

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Comic book origins

The Creature Commandos in "DC Nation Shorts."

Debuting in Weird War Tales #93 in 1980, the Creature Commandos are a team of super soldiers created by a covert government organization titled Project M. They were specifically made to battle the Nazis in World War II while scaring them with their frightening appearances. The original team consists of a human leader (Lt. Matthew Shrieve), a werewolf (Warren Griffith), a vampire (Vincent Velcro), a Frankenstein-style monster (Elliot Taylor), and a gorgon (Myrra Rhodes). And everyone thought Rocket and Groot were weird.

The Creature Commandos are basically the Suicide Squad but with Universal Classic Monsters. And as anyone would expect from comic book characters like these, they have engaged in bizarre missions together. For example, they battled Nazi androids, traveled to an island filled with dinosaurs, and discovered an underwater colony of Atlantis. Eventually, the Commandos were launched into space by accident while manning a missile that was supposed to hit Berlin, taking the phrase “riding the bomb” to a whole new level.

While hurtling through space, the Commandos are captured by the evil alien genius Brainiac and imprisoned on his ship along with his other cosmic collectibles. They are set free years later and team up with Superman to fight the two supervillains who accidentally released them. It’s a strange crossover setup, but this little piece of comic book canon could help connect the DCU’s Commandos to Superman: Legacy (fingers crossed).

The DCU’s team

A poster of the Creature Commandos from HBO Max's "Creature Commandos."

The team appearing in the HBO Max series will have a much different lineup than the one seen in the comics. Led by the Bride of Frankenstein, the DCU’s Creature Commandos will include Rick Flag Sr., Eric Frankenstein, Dr. Nina Mazursky (a Gill-man/mermaid hybrid), G.I. Robot (a militant android), Doctor Phosphorus (a metahuman with flaming skin and an enemy of Batman), and Weasel (a mutant weasel).

This roster has some familiar names that have already been heard in the DC Extended Universe. Weasel made a brief appearance in Gunn 2021’s film The Suicide Squad, and he was revealed to have survived the events of the film after supposedly drowning. However, it’s unknown if the character’s history will be the same following Gunn’s reboot of the DC Universe. Likewise, audiences will get to meet the father of the late Rick Flag Jr., who died fighting Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad.

What the future holds for James Gunn’s Creature Commandos

It’s unknown how DC Studios will adapt these strange comic book characters for their new cinematic universe, but with James Gunn at the helm, pretty much anything can happen. The fact that Rick Flag Sr. will is a member of the Commandos implies the series will be a period piece following him and his team as they fight in World War II à la Captain America: The First Avenger. On the other hand, the story could show the Commandos fighting in the modern era after being imprisoned in space for so long, also like Captain America. The Commandos could even connect to the series focusing on Task Force X leader Amanda Waller, giving their similarities to the Suicide Squad.

All in all, Creature Commandos looks like it will be another weird and wild superhero project for the ages. It’s unknown when the show will premiere at this point, but since Superman: Legacy is supposed to introduce the DCU in July 2025, audiences should expect to see it sometime afterward. And with Gunn writing all seven episodes in the series, it looks like this animated show will be another surprise hit for DC and Warner Bros. Discovery.

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