Well, IDW certainly doesn’t seem to be messing around. While the mainstream G.I. Joe title unfortunately sort of continues to plod along at a snail’s pace, pretty much every other G.I. Joe related offering from IDW is really knocking the ball out of the park. I’ve been surprisingly keen on the movie prequels (which are simple, but amazingly effective), the Origins series has its ups and downs, but has been pretty solid over all. The real winner in this 4-title race, though, is G.I. Joe: COBRA. I had a feeling when I first heard the concept of this book that they were going to take the reigns off a little bit and go a little darker and grittier. Well, they certainly have so far, and no more than they just did with Issue #3, which hit comic book stores today.
I’ll finish this talk about the book after the break, so as not to reveal any spoilers. I’m actually going to consciously avoid the BIG spoilers in this issue, just so folks can read this post without fear of ruining a major plot point, but I may mention some events from the previous 2 issues here.
I haven’t decided if this is an official review yet, considering I’ve been slacking so much on reviewing the other books that have built up over the past month or two…but I at least felt like I had to talk about this one. I’ve had a soft spot for Chuckles for a long time, and felt like he was a bit under-utilized in the Marvel title, and a total waste of space in the G.I. Joe animated movie. Thankfully he’s been thrust back into the spotlight recently, and I’d like to think that fans like Tim Frankovich and myself maybe had something to do with it…
I think both Tim and I really loved the concept of undercover agents in the G.I. Joe and COBRA mythos, and both kind of latched onto Chuckles and Mace and the sort of “gray area” world they live in, walking a tightrope between good and evil. Brandon Jerwa finally did the Chuckles character proud during his Frontline arc, but then Josh Blaylock and Brandon unceremoniously cast him aside as a victim of an Overlord knife attack during the COBRA Island Battle in the mainstream Joe title from Devils’ Due.
Well, it’s been a few years, but Chuckles is getting his due again, and in one hell of a way, as the G.I. Joe: COBRA book takes this character, turns him inside and out, makes him do some horrible things, and yet still manages to make us sympathize. This guy is blowing up trains, killing civilians, selling arms to terrorists, hooking up with the Baroness, and yet he manages to remain a tragic figure and a character we care about. In three issues, G.I. Joe: COBRA has told a fuller, more complete, and more gripping story than I’ve read in a long, long time, and #3 takes it just one step deeper.
I know I mentioned there would be spoilers… but I am holding off on the big one(s). This is something readers really have to experience for themselves. Until you’ve read it, I’ll just show a few panels that I just thought were exceptional… this issue (and this series) are both a MUST READ for any Joe fan. Just do it. It’s worth it.