GeneralsJoes Reviews IDW’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #179

Ugh, I’ve been lagging again.  With the furious onslaught of G.I. Joe: Retaliation news and so much other stuff happening in my personal life and the fandom, I’ve just lost step a bit with my IDW reviews, but I’m going to endeavor to get back up to speed if at all possible.

Hopefully no one thinks a lack of reviews is any indication of my enjoyment of what IDW is doing, because it is not.  I’m still thoroughly enjoying the roller coaster ride of the Real American Hero title especially, though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little bit happy to see this Blue Ninja saga coming to an end.

To read my full review of what is advertised as the “Conclusion” to the Blue Ninja saga click the Read the Rest of the Story link below.

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #179

Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: SL Gallant

I will admit, I was growing weary of the Blue Ninja saga like I believe many of the other readers were as well.  One of G.I. Joe’s best assets has always been the ability to marry real world military with near-future technology.  Well, when that technology goes totally off the rails and jumps from “near-future” to “holy crap how is this even possible” I must admit I do stutter a little bit in my all encompassing love of the story.

The Blue Ninja saga has had its own share of ups and downs throughout the story so far.  While I’ve never really been in love with the whole super-futuristic ninja cyborgs, I did enjoy other elements of the story.  The death of Billy and Cobra Commander’s reaction to it has been terrific… the sheer brutality of the blue ninjas as they infiltrated Broca Beach and systematically executed many family members of the Cobra agents concealed within… some pretty intense stuff.  But unfortunately a lot of those mature undercurrents have been overshadowed by the almost ridiculous super-natural elements of the ninja cyborg clan, especially as we get to the end and G.I. Joe and Cobra team up against what is essentially a giant mechanized ninja cyborg spider.

In a world where Cobra gained a huge advantage by creating mindless automatons which explode when you shoot them from behind, it just seems like way too much of a stretch to have a whole clan of super-techno cyborg organisms with super-healing, camouflage, and endless supplies of fuel and energy.

That being said, the pace of the story throughout this final issue was very quick, the action was fluid, and as always, the art was just freaking stunning.  SL Gallant is so awesome.  Every panel is a joy to read and I feel such a kinship with the way these issues are drawn compared to the “good old days” of the 80’s.  There is such an obvious tie-in to Whigham and Wagner and I cannot honestly think of an artist I would rather see on this title right now.

Even as Snake Eyes is hacking the arms of a bizarre cyborg ninja spider and my mind is wondering how the hell this all works, SL Gallant is translating the action to pure vintage awesomeness, and I couldn’t be happier for it.

It also doesn’t hurt at all that they are showcasing Cobra Commander in his uber-cool Sigma 6 battle armor, which I love seeing, too.

This latest issue was packed page-to-page with action, and the dialogue was very well written, but the concept it surrounds is one I am growing tired of.  Thankfully this seems to be the final issue in this long-protracted story, so I greatly look forward to moving on to the next stage of this great series and seeing where Larry Hama and SL Gallant take us from here.

To see a sample of the work in this latest issue, check out a gallery of the preview pages below.

17 thoughts on “GeneralsJoes Reviews IDW’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #179

  1. Thanks for managing to find something positive within what has been an extremely boring, ridiculous and way-too-drawn out story. This should have been 3 issues tops. I love Larry and couldn’t be happier he’s doing a monthly Joe book again but this was arguably my least favourite Hama/ARAH joe storyline ever – yes, including the eco-warriors/DEF stuff.

    Still waiting for Larry to do the ZARTAN Origin he promised us back in the #155 1/2 letters page! Though I hope he isn’t a blue ninja cyborg…

  2. Yep, leave it to Justin to find the good in what was just a horrible, horrible idea to even start with, let alone drawing it out for what seems like all eternity. Of course the number one positive thing about it, is the simple fact that its finally over.

    I do like SL Gallants work, but I think the really, really bad art of Cobra and the main GIJoe title are pushing Gallants work onto a higher pedestal than normally would be bestowed upon him. But I do feel sort of like you Justin, theres just something about his art that screams classic GIJoe, its not as flashy as Atkins or as good as Seeley but it has that vintage flair and just feels “right”.

    This is the only title I still read from the IDW GIJoe offerings, as the other titles have just gone down the drain (Atkins art being the sole saving grace on Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow). With sales dipping below 10,000 and continuing to drop month after month I’m starting to get worried about our hobbies comicbook future.

    The other good thing with this title is that this was really the first time I literally hated the story since Hama started up again, so overall its still a great title. Hopefully we get back to that excellence soon.

  3. Wait a minute, on the sample page the Baroness switches to a MP5K after tossing her rifle. However the next panel shows her firing a MP7 which also shouldn’t be in production yet if this is still set in the ’90s (unless she “acquired” a prototype from Heckler and Koch except the weapon she’s using in the panel appears to be the current model based on the rails on the side).

    On a related note, I really need to visit the IMFDB less often.

  4. Couldn’t agree more. Joe and Cobra battling cybernetic ninjas. Where’s the fun in that? Snooze city.

  5. Fun for maybe an issue. I thought the idea of the Russian off-shoot Arashikage clan was interesting and had some potential but then we get 5 issues of cyborg fighting and no plot movement. I love robots & craziness in my GI JOE probably more than most, but this story didn’t feel like anything was happening. The fact that Billy got killed in this arc seems pointless too. Sorry to complain, I’m usually overly supportive of this stuff, just how I feel about this story.

  6. Agreed. It starts to hurt when you’re paying $3.99 an issue and not much is really happening. Other than that, though, I am glad IDW is doing a Joe comic like this with a “classic” feel. I just wish they had a letters page like back in the day with Post Box: The Pitt!

  7. Yeah, that would be cool. Even something more creative. Like Hickman does over in the FF comics where he answers letters with the “help” of Sue and Reeds two kids who mostly make smart ass comments but are leaving clues for readers to catch onto.

    Why not do something fun like that with GIJoe? Have Cobra Commander answer letters, Wild Bill, Zartan…..for April have Snake Eyes answer stuff “…………………..”

  8. I believe IDW are open to the idea of letters pages. TMNT has one – I think we just need to write them. Maybe Generals Joes can encourage a letter writing campaign? Larry’s responses in the original POSTBOX: THE PIT are one of the reasons I’ll never get rid of my issues :)

  9. Sign me up as all for it! I had no idea IDW were open to that… I think the ARAH series is a great touchstone for all Joes fans and to have Hama connect with us in an old-school way would be great.

  10. Yeah this arc has seemed really long. Seems that it tried for an ‘invasion of Springfield / Cobra Island’ kind of thing, but it just didn’t gel. I think one missing element is the use of vehicles as motivators to the action. Some of the best of the Marvel run were issues where Hama (assumably) was told to pitch this or that vehicle. He combined the far out techspecs of the toy with real-world tech and tactics and wound some pretty fun stories out of it. Hell, take Justin’s dio story with the Ice Sabre vs. the Wolf. Easily one of his cleanest, most fun efforts, IMO.

  11. Yeah this blue ninja arc was bad, just bad. It had so much potential but when the whole cyborg thing started to happen, it lost whatever greatness it could have achieved.

    I love Larry, but he missed the boat majorily on this one

  12. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder I’m afraid. Like Monk I always pay attention to the little details like when the gun changes into another gun on the same page.

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