I was hoping to get this review posted yesterday, but just didn’t quite have the time. New comic day hit Wednesday and with new comic day came the first issue of the next generation of the “Cobra” universe from IDW! Like The Who says “…meet the new boss… same as the old boss”.
But personally, even if this new iteration is more or less the same, I couldn’t be happier. Click the Read the Rest of the Review link below for the full review. BEWARE, SPOILERS for this issue will not be concealed!
The Cobra Files #1
Writer: Mike Costa
Penciler: Antonio Fuso
Inker: Emilio Lecce
Colorist: Arianna Florean
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Consulting Editor: John Barber
Editor: Carlos Guzman
Understanding the way the comic world works these days, I can see why IDW “relaunched” their G.I. Joe universe with new #1 issues, and their has been a paradigm shift with the main title and Special Missions. However, to be honest, things in the Cobra universe are very much status quo. In my mind, that’s a great thing, as IDW’s Cobra title has been fantastic to date. If this new issue is any indication, we shouldn’t expect much different going forward.
The issue sets the stage for Chameleon, who is apparently having some significant issues rationalizing her decisions over the past several years. Even though she is more or less fully indoctrinated into the G.I. Joe organization, her murky past continues to haunt her, and for valid reasons. This is a great way for Costa to recap past events in the Cobra title without making it sound too forced or hokey. While Flint and Lady Jaye are traveling on various low scale military operations, Tomax is working his manipulative magic on Clockspring, a carry over to the Cobra universe from the G.I. Joe team. Clockspring appears woefully easy to coerce, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he seems attached to Chameleon, an emotion she does not reciprocate. We get introduced to Copperhead in this issue, but it’s a short-lived introduction to be sure. I continue to be astonished at just how much emotion Costa can illicit from the reader over a series of relatively few panels. Copperhead has been a mostly obscure character within the G.I. Joe mythology, but I already care more for him in a single page here than I did in the 30 years leading up to the events in this issue. Not just that, but the continued “line blurring” between good guy, bad guy, and what separates a hero from a villain continues to be perfectly exemplified, thanks to Costa’s writing and Fuso’s impactful, stylized artwork.
The issue culminates in a couple of different events that send things twisting in new and exciting directions, especially for Chameleon and Flint, as they grow closer among immersion into the dirty underbelly of black operations. Flint’s relationship with Lady Jaye has not been very clearly established in this universe, as far as I can recall, so it will be interesting how a potential connection between Chameleon and Flint will play into that (if at all). Again, the progression feels natural here. Far more natural than Scarlett and Mainframe in the main title (and now in Special Missions). I think that’s testament to Mike Costa’s ability to not just write stories, but to effortlessly write characters. Something that Larry Hama has also always excelled at. Hama has famously said it doesn’t matter what happens in the book, all that matters is who those events impact. If you don’t care about the characters, you don’t care about the events surrounding those characters. Costa obviously understands this and works those elements into his writing with style.
As usual, Fuso’s penciling (as well as Lecce’s ink and Florean’s color work) is perfectly suited to the dark and muddy story that Mike Costa puts down on paper. This is no black and white “good” vs. “evil” book. There are countless shades of gray, and as the former Cobra influence within this black ops segment continues to make its presence known, I find myself really looking forward to seeing how these characters react and push back. You can definitely see things coming to a head, and you know there will be repercussions. Costa has proven that before.
Another stellar issue as we’ve come to expect. I greatly look forward to continuing down this dark path.