Okay, Resolute has aired in its entirety both through adultswim.com and on the station itself last night. It promises to be fully online tomorrow, so show your support by watching it over and over again! Now while I think the Resolute concept and the look of the show was pretty much my favorite rendition of G.I. Joe to date, it wasn’t perfect. I’ll start off with the ten things I didn’t love, but have no fears, there will be an extensive list of things I loved as well.
10: Snake Eyes’ Revamped Origin
Yeah, this was probably a dictation from Paramount/Hasbro, but I’ve always been a bigger fan of the war vet, helicopter crash, etc.. origin rather than the Sigma 6-like childhood friends, orphan, etc. I can see some reasons why they went this way, because honestly, how could Snake Eyes be as accomplished a martial artist as Storm Shadow when he had only trained a fraction of the time? Still, though, I prefer the tried and true Hama-vision on this one.
9: Not enough time for the story they wanted to tell
To Warren Ellis’ credit he tried to tell a hell of a lot of story in only 60 minutes, but unfortunately that left some stuff in the dust. Trying to tie in the Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow story as well as the main COBRA plot, getting Bludd, Firefly, Destro & the Baroness, and everything else all in one 60 minute “punch” was a tough task. Ellis did a pretty good job, but we ended up getting glimpses of some very cool characters, but no depth to any of them. The fact that they touched on so many aspects of the universe’s mythos does make me think this is definitely a one-shot deal.
8: The G.I. Joe “support team”
In my world, the Joes have always been a very small, tight knit, covert team, so seeing them staffed by thousands of operators seems pretty counter-intuitive. I never liked the “Green Shirts” back in the Sunbow days, I’m not wild about the scores of soldiers in the IDW book (or in the Devils’ Due books way back when). In Resolute, they didn’t really seem to serve a purpose either. Sure, the Dial Tone character had some dialogue, but that could have easily just been a Joe “Dial Tone”. What about Mainframe? Breaker? Even Sgt. Hacker or Firewall? Why not just have a small R & D team that could provide intel about COBRA’s latest weapon? I mean, sure, it makes sense for the Flagg to be fully staffed, but I would have much rather seen a smaller, more well established team of Joes help the main characters rather than just dozens of the nameless and faceless, who did little besides sit at consoles and fall off satellites.
7: Storm Shadow
Another sacrifice of what I mentioned above with “too much story to tell” and not enough time. Rather than make the COBRA ninja the honorable, layered, conflicting character that he’s always been, Ellis went with straight-up evil, having him hire a COBRA sniper to kill his uncle simply because he thought he liked Snake Eyes more. I don’t mind Storm Shadow having a nasty side, but this certainly seems like a dramatic departure from what we’ve had in the past, and you have to wonder if Ellis made it that way for the sake of time. The story needed a clean-cut ending, so rather than have an emotionally conflicted bad guy, they just made him nasty and had Snake Eyes dispatch him in equally nasty fashion. I don’t mind a Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow fight to the death, I think it just would have meant more had Storm Shadow been more like the character we remember.
Throughout the history of G.I. Joe, one of my all time favorite characters has been Zartan. I’m not sure why, whether it was his almost supernatural abilities (in a comic that tended towards the more realistic side) or his master of disguise specialty. Unfortunately I think a lot of Zartan’s mystique and coolness was negatively impacted by his switch to the “good side” throughout the later run of the Joe comics. I always preferred him as that heartless assassin with the powerful bow and arrow. Well, I will say that Warren Ellis captured a component of Zartan that I loved, and made him a merciless killer with no remorse, and who is more than a bit disturbed. I actually like that. I like it a LOT. This is a guy who doesn’t stay the same person for more than a few days at a time. Always changing, always morphing, he’s never really his own person, and that’s gotta affect him mentally. The issue I have is that his master-of-disguise personality never showed through, and he comes across as merely a deranged super-villain, and not as the sinister, clever, and malicious mimic that he could have been. Part of me was hoping he was actually hiding on the Flagg somewhere as part of a neat twist to the story, but instead he was merely a hired gun who existed to shoot a few rockets, then get capped in the back by Duke…while he was prancing along in an ill-advised “serial villain of the week” monologue with Scarlett, lying helpless on the ground. If there is any chance that Resolute extends beyond this one adventure, I’d love to see Ellis really take some time exploring the Zartan character, I just don’t think he had the time to do it in this particular case.
5: Destro’s awesome cyborg arm… wait —
When we first saw concept art from the Resolute characters, Destro is the one guy who really stuck in my head. With his large stature, his broad black trenchcoat…and that crazy awesome cyborg missile-arm! Coolness personified. Then he appeared in the cartoon as a mostly emotionless cronie of COBRA Commander, who existed only to flirt with the Baroness, threaten some hostages, fire a machine gun, then get captured. His cool-ass robotic arm never made an appearence, and the character of Destro, one of the most central figures in the entire G.I. Joe mythos, never went beyond kissing up to his girlfriend and taking a missile to his metallic forehead. Another opportunity somewhat lost, mostly due to the compressed timeframe.
4: After twenty years COBRA troops still can’t hit the broad side of a barn
You may think I hated this series, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Resolute was captivating and exciting, and I was on the edge of my seat…all the way until Duke and Scarlett infiltrated the Siberian headquarters. Just the two of them against an entire COBRA batallion. The infiltration was awesome with each of them taking out COBRA troopers quick and silent. I didn’t even mind them tossing aside the first squad of Alley-Vipers with one grenade. But then they ended up in the middle of a large empty room with zero places for cover, surrounded by over a dozen COBRA troopers, all firing fully automatic weapons. And they all somehow missed. This “new age” G.I. Joe cartoon, which promised to bring things back to the fans with more qualified COBRA agents, death, destruction, and no more lasers or parachutes…and two uncovered G.I. Joe agents somehow avoid getting shot (well, Duke took one bullet to the ribs) while dispatching a whole platoon of COBRA troopers with handguns. Aye. A big “jump the shark” moment, which was kind of a bummer, considering how much ruthless ass had been kicked in the episodes prior.
3: The “Flow” of the series
This could easily shift into some of the other complaints I had, and honestly it wasn’t as evident watching it as one cohesive event, but breaking everything up into five-minute chunks did have an impact on the flow of the feature. Various camera pans of the Flagg in flames got somewhat repetitive early on, and the jump from scene to scene was fairly obvious. Still, I did like the anticipation of the daily updates, and I said, watching it in one sitting as I did today helps with those issues, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t effect the feature, at least somewhat.
2: Somewhat anti-climactic ending
Because of the flow of the series and the cramped time frame I think we got an ending that felt a bit rushed and “slapped on”. As the series progressed I kept on wondering just how the heck all of these loose ends were going to be tied up and how everything could clean up to the grand finale without feeling rushed. Well, Mr. Ellis managed to wrap up the loose ends and end the series with a bang, but the ending did feel a bit pressured and did not have the impact I would have wanted. The only real named Joes of any consequence were Duke, Snake Eyes, Scarlett, and Flint, with everyone else MIA in other areas. We got a lot of shots of planes, updated Trubble Bubbles, and some cool new HISS Tanks, but Snake Eyes once again wrecked an entire platoon of COBRA Troopers (and a HISS Tank!) using only his katana and bad attitude. I loved the scenes of Duke and Snake Eyes fighting alongside each other in the COBRA compound, but again, no bullets ever even came close to threatening them, and all it took was Duke spending about two minutes at a keyboard to totally undo all of COBRA’s evil plans. Not to mention the fact that practically nuking a United States city (whether or not it was a COBRA front) is now apparently an acceptible solution, just as long as the big bad guy gets nailed in the process. There was some great lead up, some awesome battles, and terrific impact, but the ending left me somewhat “meh” (as much as I hate to use that terminology).
1: It’s Over.
Yeah, this is the worst part. I know…I did nothing but bitch about it for this entire post, but believe it or not, I LOVED this ride. Lots of great action, lots of very cool new looks for characters, and a very fun format. The daily anticipation of each new pair of episodes really made the community a fun place to hang out for this week, and gave Joe fans a ton of great things to talk about. The toys look awesome (heres hoping they actually get released amongst all of the movie items), the story was brainless fun, and the fact is, we’ve all been looking forward to this for 6 months…and now it’s done. That is a bummer. I would bet my bottom dollar this is mostly all we’ll see of the great Resolute universe, which is a damn shame. I will try and remain hopeful, and at least pray that the existing figures make it to retail in one way or another, but no matter what, I don’t think we’ll ever see the Resolute universe get explored the way it really deserved to be.
The foundation here was fantastic. Sure, there were faults, but I think if the writers have been given some more time and more resources, it could have been an incredible production…I can only imagine a full 13-episode season of this. Still, I will take what I can get, and let any future Resolute stories be told in my head.
Stay tuned, soon enough, the Top Ten list of things I LOVED about Resolute will be hitting, so I can end this ride on a positive note.
I’m curious to hear what other folks thought as well!