After discontinuing the company’s various G.I. JOE titles earlier this spring, IDW launches a new series where a changing world threatens G.I. JOE. With Cobra renouncing its terrorist ties and becoming a peace-keeping organization Washington debates whether or not an organization like the JOEs need to exist.
As Cobra attempts to broker peace between Schletteva and Galibi, Scarlett is stuck in Washington attending Senate hearings defending her organization now that their primary threat has apparently seen the error of its ways. The question about what Cobra is really up to, with the help of Siren who continues to rebrand Cobra to the outside world, is left hanging as the first issue comes to a close but we do know not every Cobra soldier is happy in their new roles.
New York Times best-selling author Karen Traviss begins to lay a foundation for the series here but by the nature of the story is forced to be unnecessarily vague about the real intentions of all the players. The art on IDW’s JOE books has always been hit-and-miss. Steve Kurth’s work matches Traviss expositional storytelling but a little more traditional comic style would go a long way to help sell the storyline. For fans.
By any definition Transformers vs. G.I. JOE #1 is a mess – one hell of a god awful mess. Written by Tom Scioli the story (such as it is) is a non-linear attempt to throw in as many characters from both franchises into a single comic without any attempt at all to create plot to tie the various panels together. Jumping wildly from one set of characters to another the comic reads like a giant finger to actual storytelling or some kind of poorly designed logic puzzle the creator actually needs your help to solve. In fact the comic makes so little sense IDW felt the need to include writer’s notes for every single page (taking up far too many pages of a $4 comic book) in an attempt to explain what the hell is going on.
If the story is crap the visuals aren’t that much better. Although I don’t have an issue with John Barber’s nostalgic throwback-style art of some of my favorite characters from both franchisees, I was very much distracted by the attempt to make the comic look like faded newsprint of an 80s comic on glossy current comic stock. The attempt to make the comic feel vintage actually makes it look incredibly cheap and (even more) half-assed. Pass.
Following the pattern of IDW’s other JOE series, the current main G.I. JOE comic comes to an end with G.I. JOE #15. Continuing the story of Cobra’s newest asset Siren, the JOEs arrive at a Cobra training base and indoctrination center where her son and dozens of other recruits have been brainwashed by the terrorist organization.
Far from wrapping up Siren’s story, G.I. JOE #15 at least resigns her to her fate as her future is tied to that of her son who wants no help from Cobra’s enemies. The comic is highlighted by some strong art by Steve Kurth, a throwdown between Roadblock and Big Boa, and Hashtag struggling to see the rescue of several children, but not Siren or her son, as anything other than a failure.
The comic certainly leaves several questions from the series left unanswered (such as Cover Girl‘s concerns and suspicions about Duke) as IDW closes the book on the last of their JOE titles heading into this Fall’s “Fall of G.I. JOE.” Worth a look.
The Special Missions series comes to close with this finale one-issue story involving Scarlett and her Special Missions team ambushed by Cobra while transporting a prisoner near the borders of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. With both Roadblock and Mainframe injured, and a squad of Vipers descending on the position of their destroyed transport, the small squad splits up as Scarlett leads most of the team away from the action.
Staying with the injured Mainframe, the JOE’s sniper Low-Light takes center stage here providing the cover for his teammates to reach safety and take out a Cobra sniper whose skills nearly match his own.
Following the cancellation of G.I. JOE: Cobra Files and the nearing end of IDW’s main title as well it appears the company is set once again for a soft reboot of their various JOE titles. Special Missions may not have always been great, but it was consistently solid and goes out on a high note here. Worth a look.
The conclusion of “Destro Must Die” isn’t much of a victory for anyone as Cobra and Destro lose their secret installation in Russia, the JOEs not only fail to capture their target but also loose Copperback as well, Destro earns the ire of Cobra Commander, the Special Mission team is captured by the Russian military, one member of the team gets left behind, and Copperback leaves disappointed without fulfilling her personal mission to kill Destro.
On their way home following some finagling of the diplomatic corps, the team leaves one member down as Beach Head will have to find a way to make his own way home, without their target, but are still able to halt the new B.A.T. experiments of Destro and Cobra.
After bringing her in, Helix isn’t given much do in the arc’s conclusion (but you can say the same for both Scarlett and Mainframe as well) in a very Destro-centeric issue. For fans.
- Title: Community – G.I. Jeff
- wiki: link
“G.I. JOE is the codename for America’s daring awesomely trained awesome mission force. Its purpose: To fight Cobra, because they’re terrorists!”
That was awesome! Unapologetically pulling the nostalgic strings of everyone who grew up watching G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero, and guaranteeing I will buy this season on DVD, the only question anyone needs to ask about G.I. Jeff is: Is it a great episode of Community or the greatest episode of Community?
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Shifting the focus from Siren back to the JOEs, G.I. JOE #14 plays on several of the current comic’s ongoing storylines including Cover Girl‘s continued distrust of Duke, Hashtag‘s return to action after being temporarily sidelined, and the JOEs becoming aware of the existence of Cobra’s newest recruit and tracing her message for help back to a Cobra training compound.
After a pair of issues focused specifically on Siren and her weaving the history of Cobra, I’m glad to finally get back to the JOEs. Opening up with Hashtag’s new role as the team’s communication expert we see her becoming both obsessed with the encrypted message from Siren and the fallout of a Cobra trap that put many JOE lives in danger.
Paul Allor’s choice to pair up Cover Girl and Hashatag on a covert mission without Duke’s approval works well (even if it may be far too late to save Siren and her son at this point). Dealing with what they find should prove challenging for the two women and their small team. Worth a look.
The search for Destro continues as Scarlett, Mainframe, and Helix track their escaped prisoner Copperback to a bizarre location in Russia known as Beaver Falls made to look like a small American town. Here they will discover the secret of Destro’s new B.A.T. experiments as the group walks right into a demonstration Destro has planned for Cobra Commander and high-ranking Russian officers secretly providing the criminal organization with their base of operations.
By the end of the issue the pressure on Destro continues to build as the JOEs outperform his new weapons and even decide to turn his new prized soldier back on his master.
I’m hoping the inclusion of Helix to the Special Missions team continues after wrapping up the current “Destro Must Die” arc next month. Aside from finally forcing both Scarlett and Helix to deal with each other and the loss of Snake Eyes it would also add another kick-ass female character to a team that at times has lacked some star power. Worth a look.
As with the last issue, G.I. JOE #13 continues the forced pairing of the Baroness with Cobra’s newest asset Siren who has a talent for spinning a tale to fit a particular time and situation allowing Cobra to boast about the ancient organization’s shrouded history with everyone from Somali Pirates to the Yakuza.
As with G.I. JOE #12, Along with Alex Cal doing the art for Siren and the Baroness’ movements in the present the various tales the Siren spins are each presented by a different artist which continues to give the comic the feel of an anthology not dissimilar to Dynamite Entertainment’s current Legends of Red Sonja comic, and the last of which teaches the Baroness a valuable lesson about being careful what you ask for.
How much truth each of the Siren’s stories actually contains is kept purposefully vague, but its obvious the woman has a gift that Cobra has no intention of giving up anytime soon as she learns a valuable lesson as well when Cobra finds the perfect pressure point to force Siren to continue her work. Worth a look.
The search for Destro continues as Scarlett and her team continue to shadow Copperback hoping the former Cobra agent will lead them straight to the weapon designer’s new base of operations.
Most of G.I. JOE: Special Missions #11 focuses on the Special Missions team keeping Copperhead under surveillance while doing their own research to Destro’s location (which turns out to be a good thing when Copperhead gives Scarlett and the JOEs the slip in an international airport).
Along with a few panels of Destro’s latest B.A.T. testing involving a promising but questionable new subject, the comic also ends with Scarlett calling in a little help once the JOEs locate the weaponer’s likely home.
The introduction of Helix, and the possibility of seeing the still MIA Snake Eyes‘s two lady friends attempt to work together despite their history, adds a nice wrinkle to the storyline as the search for Destro continues. Worth a look.