Okay, I’ll admit it up front. I wasn’t real sure about this when I first heard about it. Granted, I’ve got all sorts of faith in what Larry Hama can do with a pen when he puts his mind to it, but we were neck deep in the midst of IDW’s new continuity, did we really need to dip our toes back into the Marvel continuity well?
Honestly, I didn’t think so.
To avoid spoilers, though, I’ll continue this talk after the “jump”.
Then issue #155.5 came out. And I relaxed my stance a little bit. But just a little bit. The writing was hit or miss…the art by Padilla was okay, and very reminiscent of the 90’s over-exaggerated action sequences (which isn’t necessarily a good thing), but the issue seemed very disjointed. Cobra was suddenly a security force for the U.S.? Wha? The Joes were instantly disbanded? Crimson Guards now looked like HISS Drivers?
In all seriousness, it did have some appeal, but it just didn’t really resonate. I was a bit concerned that perhaps the Marvel history might end up a little watered down by what was happening.
Then Issue #156 came out, and everything changed. I’m not exactly sure why everything changed…the writing flowed the same way it did with #155.5. The art was certainly not monumentally better. But it just felt like a G.I. Joe book again. It felt like a 90’s G.I. Joe book again. Larry kind of fell into a groove, the dialog rolled off the character’s tongues, we got introduced to some familiar faces, and saw a healthy helping of death being dealt out in all sorts of different ways.
Something about this issue just hit, and while no one part of it was necessarily incredible, the entirety of the issue left me with a smile on my face. It kind of felt like for the first time since 1994, MY G.I. Joe was back. Not Devils’ Due’s interpretation…not IDW’s version. But the one I grew up with. We’ll see if it continues on that way, but for the moment, I’m a happy camper. Don’t expect to be knocked out by the art, but it manages to retain a heavy vintage feel, and that’s really what they’re going with. I’m liking it so far.
The only thing I am a little afraid of is what characters we may end up seeing as this series goes along…already with this introductory issue, we’ve got a bunch of the “same old” folks. Sure, Heavy Duty and Roadblock are mix and match, but beyond that, we’re still seeing just Duke, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Hawk, etc. etc. etc… I do like the inclusion of Mainframe here, to be sure, but I just hope we run into some of the more obscure folks. Or even better, folks like Ripcord who made a splash in the Marvel Universe, but never really caught on outside of that window.
Time will tell.