- Story (General Plot and Themes)
- Writing (Dialogue and Specific Elements)
The Death of Snake Eyes story continues, and it all comes to a head! Serpentor vs. Snake Eyes for all the marbles, with some battle robots and alien technology thrown in. And how does Throwdown play into this whole thing?
So, here we are…in case it wasn’t evident by the image of the grim
reaper on the cover, this is where it happens. Where the “Death of
Snake Eyes” comes to a head.
Spoiler territory in this review, so be prepared.
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #213
Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: SL Gallant
Inks: Brian Shearer
Colors: J. Brown
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Carlos Guzman
This issue picks up right where the last left off, with two huge
battle robots clashing in Olliestan, the G.I. Joe weapon making short
work of the Cobra/Red Shadows version. I’ll say right off the bat,
I’m really not sure how these battle robots play into the theme of
the story here. There’s been this multi-issue lead up, but the pay
off doesn’t seem to have emerged, at least not yet. The two robots
have done battle, and one is victorious, but I don’t quite get the
Back in the Pit, as one might expect, trying to infuse Serpentor with
alien technology to allow control of the robot has backfired, and the
former Cobra Emperor has basically torn the Pit apart. He now is
able to control all technology within G.I. Joe’s headquarters, and is
making life miserable for all inside.
The issue continues with the forces in Olliestan now working together
to try and take down the G.I. Joe robot, which is still under
Serpentor’s control. Throwdown makes his way inside the robot’s
skull, bundled up in his Toxo Viper gear, and works to dismantle it
from the inside, while Stalker, Scarlett, and Snake Eyes take the
fight to Serpentor in The Pit itself. Serpentor calls back his
robot, with Throwdown inside, while fighting back the G.I. Joe
resistence in The Pit, and during atmospheric re-entry, Throwdown’s
Toxo-Viper helmet (which saved his life during the high altitude
travel from Olliestan to Utah) apparently cooks his face.
Serpentor stands triumphant before the fallen Joes, his robot looming
behind him, but Throwdown hasn’t given up, and neither has Duke. In
one last ditch effort, Duke throws a grenade at the Cobra Emperor,
who effortlessly deflects it back towards the group of Joes. Snake
Eyes deftly intercepts it and charges back to Serpentor, who doesn’t
appear phased or threatened. However, Throwdown makes his move
within the robot’s head, sending the hand crashing to the ground,
giving Snake Eyes the leverage he needs to leap into the air straight
at the snake-skinned warrior. Slamming into Serpentor, Snake Eyes
releases the pin on the grenade and detonates, the explosion slamming
the robot and swallowing them both in fire and smoke.
Standing in stunned silence, a laser blade cuts a hole in the robot’s
head and Throwdown stumbles out, his face awash in its own flame, and
he dramatically scoops up Snake Eyes mask and stands before the Joes,
as the next generation G.I. Joe ninja commando.
Back in Olliestan, the Joes get the good news that the battle robot
is disabled, but at what cost?
Where to start?
I know in reviews leading up to this one, I expressed some concern
about the overwhelming injection of science fiction elements, and
those do seem to bleed into this issue as well, leaving me somewhat
I’m not necessarily against the idea of a heavy science fiction
element in G.I. Joe, I embrace it in many cases, but the whole battle
robot elements to the story here felt a little heavy handed and if
this was the pay off, I’m not sure how effective the build up was.
We don’t have any explanation for the alien tech (though I’m sure
something is coming) and the whole idea of taking an evil character
like Serpentor and essentially using him as the crux of this whole
plan seems so incredibly flawed in concept that I find it difficult
to believe it would occur in the first place. I love how Hama
treated Serpentor as a character, giving him some gravitas and some
skills in hand-to-hand, but it just seems like the Joes were inviting
trouble by the very nature of this plan which makes it a bit
Adding to the unbelievable nature are the events with Throwdown,
where happenstance gives him a drastically scarred face just in time
for Snake Eyes to die so he can slide right into his place. Just a
few too many coincidences.
That being said, the issue itself was fast paced, well choreographed,
and a fun read, even among the drastic coincidences and somewhat
unbelievable nature of some of the hanging plots. Snake Eyes died a
hero’s death and the death had impact. If I have any quibbles about
his death it’s that the emergence of Throwdown as a potential “Snake
Eyes, Jr.” almost minimalizes the impact of Snake Eyes’ departure.
From an artistic angle, Gallant continues to do great work. The
fluidity of his action sequences perfectly balances realism and
animated motion, and you can really feel the impact of everything
from the robot’s feet stomping on the ground to the dramatic
explosion that takes Snake Eyes’ life. The panel where Throwdown
gets his face scarred by the Toxo Viper helmet is equally impactful
Looking at the issue page-to-page, it fulfills alot of my desires
about the Real American Hero universe. A diverse cast of great
characters, some nice injection of science fiction, spot on dialogue,
and a story with some impact. But when you’re talking about the main
character of the book being killed, that’s a landmark, dramatic plot
point, and I felt like the story surrounding it was just a bit too
Granted, there’s more story to come, perhaps things will fall into
place, but at this point, while I enjoyed the book, there are things
that I would have loved to see a bit different.