I was continuously impressed throughout the run of Cobra Command that Mike Costa was able to not only retain his own unique flavor of story telling throughout parts of this long-running story, but that he was also able to still mesh with what Chuck Dixon was doing in his titles as well. The result was a very seamless 9-part storyline that told a great tale and flowed effortlessly from one part to another…yet all at once, Costa also retained that slight edge that makes the Cobra title so great.
Well now that Cobra Command proper is in the rear view mirror, Mike Costa jumps right back into the Cobra title with both feet, and instantly thrusts us back into the aesthetic that we’ve grown to love with the title, and he absolutely nails it, delivering one of the best issues of a comic that I’ve read so far this year. Any fans of the Cobra series in its infancy will love this issue, and I think G.I. Joe fans in general should dig it as well.
Read the rest of the interview after the jump.
Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Antonio Fuso
The Cobra title earned its reputation on the back of its very film noir look and feel, with an old school aesthetic and a very non-traditional artistic style. I’ve seen many folks dismiss Fuso’s work, and I will admit, from time to time the rough-around-the-edges detailing does take me out of the story. Especially during a particularly stiff action sequences I often find myself wondering how the human body can move in that particular way. That being said, I cannot properly express how well his technique matches the story that Costa tells.
I’m honestly not sure if Costa was out of his element with the Cobra Command story (it certainly didn’t feel like it) but he wastes no time in getting back to brass tacks.
Even though this issue takes place a significant time after the death of fan favorite character Chuckles, we manage to get immersed back in his world as the story is told through a series of flashbacks based on communications Hawk received. In matching with the story in the G.I. Joe title, General Hawk has been relieved of his duties and he’s packing his office to depart, and spends an inordinate amount of time reading this communication from Chuckles, which is a terrific method of recapping the entirety of the horrible way his life went over the years spent undercover within the Cobra organization.
In his final report, Chuckles reveals some previously unknown past history, his motivations, his obstacles, and as much as we feel like we got to know the man throughout the run of the Cobra title, we learn even more about him and get an even better idea of what really makes him tick.
Throughout this tale being told, we also see Firewall helping Hawk close up shop, and a very intense face-to-face between the General and Chameleon, who has decided to take this opportunity to leave the life of violence she’s been living and move on. Hawk doubts she can do it.
But without a shadow of a doubt, the best sequence of this issue is the last couple of pages as Hawk essentially gets berated by Chuckles from beyond the grave and gets assaulted for being the cold and calculating robot that he is, with the final punch line hitting like a (pardon the pun) punch in the gut that is not only genuinely humorous, but actually a painfully astute observation. The expression on Hawk’s face on the final page is why a guy like Antonio Fuso excels on this book, creating such expressive, dramatic atmosphere with a simple drawn image of a face.
The character of General Hawk feels like he’s grown more in this 22 page issue than he has in many years, and Costa nails it. Think about it. What must it be like to be a guy who recruits soldiers into an outfit like this? Essentially forces them to “die”. Convinces them to leave their families and their entire lives behind to dedicate every waking hour to serving your country. Watching your recruits pass through your doors and get killed on the battlefield without even the benefit of a commendation or funeral. What goes through that guy’s head?
Costa nails it.
But, hey, Costa has been nailing it for a few years now, why should I expect anything different? This is great stuff. It’s not just a good G.I. Joe comic, it’s a fantastic comic in general, and as much as I loved Cobra Command, this issue felt like a “welcome home” warm embrace and a bone-chilling downpour all at the same time. Bravo.