I’ve been pretty clear that my favorite ongoing G.I. Joe title at the moment is Larry Hama’s Real American Hero title, mostly because it manages to capture the nearly perfect combination of goofy fantasy and military action from the great 80’s series.
It is for this reason that I continue to be astounded at how much I love Mike Costa’s Cobra (and now the Cobra Files) series. It’s pretty much the polar opposite of a traditional G.I. Joe book, diving deep into the murky under belly of the current military machine, yet every month I find myself totally captivated by the stories told here. Even more amazing to me is the fact that Costa uses characters that there are no toys for (Ronin, the IDW Firewall, and to a point, Chameleon) and yet I still love it. Normally no toys for the characters in the book I’m reading is usually a knock against it. Not this time, though.
Click the Read the Rest of the Story link below for my full review.
G.I. Joe: The Cobra Files #2
Writer: Mike Costa
Penciller: Antonio Fuso
Inker: Emilio Lecce
Colorist: Arianna Florian
Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Consulting Editor: John Barber
Editor: Carlos Guzman
This issue manages to balance intrigue and scene-setting with action in quite an interesting way, much like many of Costa’s previous issues of the series. While Ronin, Chameleon, Lady Jaye, and Firewall interrogate William Kessler-Latta in the bowels of their headquarters, the mysterious Night Creepers have broken into a secure facility and made off with some “exotic materials”.
As one might expect, these Night Creepers are considerably different from what we’re used to, at least in appearance. Flint describes them as a “Tiger Team” a group of third party contractors who are hired to test security systems and attempt to infiltrate installations to do so. The Night Creepers have used their positions as a Tiger Team to then really infiltrate these places and steal important documents, or even weapons systems.
William Kessler-Latta reveals the existence of these men to the G.I. Joe team during interrogation, and now both the G.I. Joe black operations team and the Night Creepers appear to be on a collision course.
I think I love this series not necessarily because it’s a G.I. Joe one, but actually in spite of it. There are really only peripheral G.I. Joe trademarks throughout the series, but the little tidbits that Costa throws in just matches his aesthetic perfectly. The Night Creepers as a “Tiger Team” is a brilliant concept, and I truly enjoyed Fuso’s representation of the team, using sleek armored designs and loose fitting cloth masks to disguise their identities. The Night Creepers here use firearms a bit more freely than we’ve seen them use throughout the Marvel continuity, but it works for the story fine, and doesn’t do anything to breach the integrity of the Night Creeper concept (if such a thing even exists).
One of the most interesting pieces of this Cobra Files puzzle, though, involves the triangle between Flint, Chameleon, and Clockspring and the way Tomax is almost effortlessly using them all against each other. I’m not big on injecting a love story into a G.I. Joe book, but again, the way Costa approaches it is real-life enough and mature enough to make it work almost seamlessly. You can see trouble coming a mile away, and you can almost feel Tomax relishing in the ability to force G.I. Joe team members against each other.
Fuso’s art is pretty great throughout this issue as well. Very moody, but also with a great sense of motion and impact. I haven’t been shy about comments with Fuso’s ability to draw action, which is something that I don’t think is one of his strong points, yet the Night Creeper infiltration works remarkably well here. And any short comings he might have in the pacing and flow of action are more than made up for with the dark scenes of human interaction in the G.I. Joe base of operations. Great stuff.
Cobra Files is picking up right where Cobra left off, and continues to build on a great universe. It is fascinating that a book that contrasts so much with the standard G.I. Joe elements that I love so much still manages to be terrific and to capture my attention. I hope Costa and Fuso keep this going for a very long time.