As has become par for the course (unfortunately) I’m running about a week behind on my IDW comic reviews, but I’m hoping to fix that this week. We shall see.
Last week saw the release of G.I. Joe #12, technically the first follow up issue after the events of Cobra Command. I’ll admit, the cover kind of confused me a bit, because I couldn’t really think of any concrete event within the confines of Cobra Command that would have warranted the events that transpired here, but as the issue goes on, it does become more clear and more obvious what is actually happening in the aftermath of the events in Nanzhao.
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G.I. Joe #12
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Will Rosado
Cobra Command has officially wrapped, and we find the G.I. Joe team dealing with some of the aftermath. I will admit it was a little bit jarring going from the very detailed and “gritty” work of Cal and Lobel to the bright and stylized work of Will Rosado, but as an aftermath issue, it works very well.
There isn’t a whole lot of action, just mostly tying off the loose ends from Cobra Command, centering mostly on the fact that General Hawk has been relieved of his command. The issue starts off with reading off the names of the dead, and I have to admit, this whole sequence just really didn’t work for me. It involved someone standing up in front of the troops and reading off code names of characters we’ve essentially never heard of and nobody has formed any kind of bond with. Something that really should be touching ended up feeling very silly and detached. I mean Triple Tap? Gun Daddy? Brasstack? What are these names supposed to mean to me? Obviously it shows that in battle, bad things happen to the good guys, too, but this repeated killing of the nameless “fobbits” has absolutely no emotional impact, and I find myself hoping they’re phasing most of them out so we can focus on the real Joe characters.
Of course the last name read from the list is Snake Eyes, which comes as a surprise, because we saw Snake Eyes in Cobra Command essentially joining Storm Shadow to take down Cobra in their own way. The weird thing, though, is that it wasn’t immediately clear (at least to me) that he was faking his death to do this. As a result, him being listed on the “death” sheet really felt out of place. I know what they’re going for here, but I think they could have done a slightly better job building it up, and perhaps spent a few lines of dialogue showing what was in the works.
We also see Zartan and Cobra Commander with some great interactions on the Cobra side, with Zartan essentially becoming the “face” of Cobra. A very cool touch.
Another pretty cool sequence was a small team of Joes going through combat training, and one of the main combatants is Scarlett, who is trying to get acclimated to going back into the field after being stuck at HQ for so long. She’s a little rusty, and I think that’s a neat dynamic considering she’s always been a hard ass and one of the most well trained soldiers on the team. I like this.
As mentioned, the issue wraps with Hawk essentially being booted and leaving Duke in command of the Joe team, with a very stripped budget and a much more low profile. However, the profile does not remain low for long as Zartan, disguised as this very public face of Cobra goes on camera and reveals the secrets of G.I. Joe, turning the tables on them and painting G.I. Joe as the enemy!
All in all, this was a good wrap up issue. Dixon does a decent job tying off the loose ends and preparing for a different future for the Joes. However, I really did not enjoy the whole funeral sequence and the Snake Eyes “death” came so far out of left field. The fact that Helix is the one protecting this secret and Scarlett is left out in the cold also seems strange and doesn’t fit with the bond that he supposedly has with her.
From an artistic perspective, I really enjoyed Rosado’s work on this issue. He is at ease drawing the soldiers in dress greens standing at attention, but his focus on detail and accuracy was remarkable in the scene with the Joes training against cardboard Cobra targets. He draws a hell of a nice machine gun, which probably doesn’t sound important in the grand scheme of things, but I think it makes a huge difference. With no offense to Augustin Padilla, I absolutely loathed the way he drew his guns as rectangular slabs of nothing, and I really enjoy seeing some meticulous and accurate detail even on such a small thing like a weapon.
I am looking forward to seeing where things go from here, and I hope they are starting to separate a bit from the “army of fobbits” mentality they’ve had thus far. To this point, these rookie Joes have served the exact purpose we all knew they would two years ago…just glorified cannon fodder destined for early graves in the name of “military realism”. We shall see. A decent issue, and a good start, let’s see where we go from here.