GeneralsJoes Reviews IDW’s Cobra #11 – Cobra Command ends here!

Once again running about a week behind, but I just can’t help it with all of the IDW awesomeness that comic stores are getting hit with on a weekly basis!  To this point I believe I have reviewed every installment of the Cobra Command series, and here is a helpful little rundown of all of those reviews:

I’ll be honest, it’s been a great ride, but obviously every story arc is only as good as the last memory of it.  So how does Cobra Command shake out?  Click the Read the Rest of the Story link below for the details.

Cobra #11

Writer – Mike Costa
Artists – Alex Cal & Beni Lobel

So here it is…the big payoff.  It’s interesting because it feels like a lot of the main combat already happened in previous issues and this issue is kind of there for “wrap up” duty, but to be truly honest I can’t think of someone I’d rather have wrap up a 9 issue story arc than Mike Costa.  Besides Larry Hama himself I can’t think of many writers who’ve had such a sustained level of great writing with the G.I. Joe property, especially considering what a unique take he has on it.

Now I will admit for the Cobra Command installments, he has drifted more towards the middle when it comes to action tales, yet somehow Costa has retained the core of that Cobra emotion.  It’s pretty amazing the way he’s been able to put his own unique twist on the story, yet still fit it seamlessly into an ongoing arc with a writer of completely different type and style.

Like one might expect we start this issue looking in on the Cobra side as The Baroness attempts another high profile assassination of a Cobra council member.  She appears on the verge of success until the original chameleon shows up and the two throw down.  Baroness ends up escaping, and her prey ends up dead, with Chameleon barely surviving a poison attack (by tongue-kissing The Baroness, naturally).

Back in Nanzhao, Cobra Commander is expressing his displeasure with the majority of Cobra high command as Serpentor faces off against Major Bludd.  If everyone remembers that little team up that happened last issue between Bludd, Tomax, and Serpentor?  Yeah, not so much.  Bludd is double crossed, and the Baroness chases him into the jungle, where he narrowly escapes and essentially turns himself over to UN Troops.

Cobra Commander gets the rundown, then proceeds to burn all of Nanzhao’s loot and prepare for Cobra’s next conquest.

Now this is the way to end a story arc.  All too often I hear complaints that the ending is “rushed” and everything comes together much too easily.  Well, I think IDW, Dixon, and Costa did a great job spreading this story out for 8 issues, essentially having a long protracted battle, which culminated in parts 7 & 8, and left part 9 as “Clean up”.  We get a very nice wrap up issue written to our expected standards from the great Mike Costa.  Everything is told from the Cobra perspective as we would expect, yet it still feels like the story was wrapped up effectively and the end goal was established.

The whole inner turmoil between Baroness, Serpentor, Major Bludd, and Tomax was fantastic, and I loved that Serpentor used some sort of falsified DNA story to draw them in, as a tie back to his own strange past history.  The dialog was magnificent, and the main action sequences proceeded effortlessly.  Major Bludd comes out of this issue as a big time favorite of mine, seeing him lash back at Cobra, make a narrow escape, and the shocking way he forced his own arrest by UN troops.  Serpentor cooley plays both sides of the fence, while Cobra Commander looks very much the threat that he should.  Fantastic writing.

As we’ve come to expect over the past 8 parts, Cal and Lobel hit home runs in the art department as well.  Moody and atmospheric where it needs to be, but some fantastic action “flow” in all the right places, too.  Sometimes it’s just the minor things, like the scene of Baroness kicking Chameleon, but that one panel just shows a great sense of movement, storyboarding, and impact.  All in one small frame.

Throughout the entire issue we get great bits and pieces like that.  Serpentor and Tomax casting unassuming glances at each other…Bludd darting out of harm’s way, blasting his way into the jungle.  It all comes together extremely well.

I know IDW had marketed the Cobra Civil War as the story to end all G.I. Joe stories, but to me, Cobra Command was a far better, more enjoyable multi-part arc.  Great characterization, good plot, excellent action, and pretty flawless execution in story and art.  Great job by all concerned, and I’m looking forward to seeing where we go from here.

2 thoughts on “GeneralsJoes Reviews IDW’s Cobra #11 – Cobra Command ends here!

  1. I’m not sure Serpentor’s DNA thing was a fake story. He might just have decided that the coup wouldn’t work on the new Commander and jump ship.

  2. Ok, I decided to go back and re-read ALL IDW Joe titles before responding to this article.

    I still came to the same conclusion that I felt was relevant before I did that, and that’s that the Cobra Command storyline was what I was waiting for since IDW started printing GIJoe titles. I bitched and complained along the way, even stopped reading for almost a year back in the first run of the titles but got back in and bought all the issues I missed, all the while still thinking that this whole IDW Joe verse was going nowhere. Cobra Civil War was a MAJOR disapointment to me, a no-show of all the things I was expecting, it was boring and completely pointless besides the new Commander coming into power, hardly worth the investment. And I would of been happy (or very unhappy depending on how you look at it) to quit for good at that point. One thing stopped me, my love of comicbook art and the incredible looking covers of the Cobra Command stroyline. I shrugged and figured one more month, then another and one more later I sit here and all of a sudden think it was all worth it. Things have finally come together. There is a co-hesive effort to drive the stories forward in a manner that actually makes sense to me.

    Yes, I will agree MANY of the things that have happened, and are now happening are cliched and totally predictable, but how everything has evolved over a long time gives weight to things and whether there ever was a plan or not, it just feels like it now. Most comics nowadays would of started the series with a story like Cobra Command and then at some point would of done some prequel books explaining what happened beforehand, but we get the long, drawn out, slow build up to what is now a major conflict, and it holds meaning to me. This isn’t just another war book, I’ve been here the whole time watching this all develop slowly and I can see why it turned out that way. There have been sacrifces and important events (good or bad) that have shaped the IDW Joe world as it is now. Even more impressive is that this is a whole different world than when it all started. To me, that is priceless. For all the changes in books like X-Men and Batman, the new titles still read just like the ones I grew up with. Kind of that “the more things change, the more they stay the same” type of effect.

    Right now I eagerly await where the next big storyline will take us and can’t wait to live through it.

    That does however, not mean I am without concerns.

    While Dixon has upped his game tenfold and proven he can write a Joe book afterall, and Alex Cal did an awesome job on the whole series, IDW still suffers from having very, very few good artists and with the Joe titles still not selling in the upper ranges of IDW sales I am concerned about who the next issues artist may turn out to be. Even the uncomparable Robert Atkins seems unwilling (or unable) to throw us more than six issues a year.

    But strangely enough my biggest fear is stagnation. While the book has evolved greatly it’s not lost on me that many of the changes made, moved the IDW Joe world closer to the status quo Joe most long term fans remember. This move can be a planned evolution they had in mind all along, but I fear it may be more of a placating of angry fans who have been complaining all along. And if that is in fact true, how willing will they be to continue changing things and letting the Joe world evolve? Probably not all that much.

    I sincerely hope my fears prove unfounded and that the days of questioning whether these books are actually worth reading are over, but while I now am really happy I stuck with things I’m still not 100% confident in the overall quality commitment IDW has to our beloved franchise. Hopefully they prove me wrong again.

    But to bring this back to the relevance of the article I am responding to, I couldn’t agree with you more Justin, THIS was THE Joe story to read, not Cobra Civil War. For those of you who missed it, be sure to pick up the TPBs, they are worth it.

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