G.I. Joe #2 + G.I. Joe Special Missions #1 (IDW)

GI Joe2

G.I. Joe #2
4 / 5 – Recommended reading

  G.I. Joe is another licensed property with a long, convoluted history.  Its most famous comic representation was the 1980s Marvel comics version.  This was based on the TV cartoon and Hasbro toy line.  The characters this spawned became more garish and impossibly impractical with each new toy/episode.  The comic license ended up at IDW who have launched various lines.  As is typical with such properties, it was time to re-launch the some titles and here we have the second issue of this G.I. Joe title.

The background is important because the creative team is forced to make a decision about how to address the more outlandish elements of the G.I. Joe history.  We live in an age of very realistic military comics, such as The Activity from Image, where you are unlikely to find Serpentor (clad in an orange snake suit, complete with a full snakehead hood, he was the composite genes of various historical figures cooked together by Dr. Mindbender).  This book decided to try to embrace the history while attempting to make it somewhat plausible (or at least as plausible as any action movie).  The G.I. Joe unit is designated to be a public relations unit which justifies the code names and outfits.

Written by Fred Van Lente, one can not think of a better choice to balance humor amidst the action scenes.  From his independent work in Action Philosophers to MODOK’s Eleven to Archer & Armstrong he routinely finds that balance.  The art team of Steve Kurth (inks by Allen Martinez and colors by Joana LaFuente) do a fine job of conveying the character likenesses and the action sequences.  While nothing remarkable, I can find no serious fault with it.

We find ourselves in the middle of a mission gone wrong, as the Joe team had their plane shot down while investigating a chemical weapons plant in a small town in America.  The intelligence was faulty as it failed to note that Cobra had infiltrated the entire town.  Duke (team leader) has been captured by the Baroness and is subject to harsh interrogation.  The remaining team is split up with one man already injured.  The other squad has a media liaison (code name Hashtag referencing her twitter expertise) who is finding the real life action a little to intense.   She is given a gun for the first time and must defend herself.

The comic conveys a sense of real danger in that some of these characters may not survive.  As noted, this action is tempered by the humor.  The humor works within the context of the book itself, but they do sprinkle some fun references to the older material.  If you like more straight, military books, I would probably pass but for everyone else I would suggesting diving in.

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GI Joe Special Missions 1

G.I. Joe Special Missions #1
5 / 5 – Must Read for Dixon/Gulacy fans

  While the G.I. Joe team in the book above gets all the public glory, the Joes in this book do the covert missions.  I don’t have much of a history with G.I. Joe, I’ve never gotten the toys, watched the cartoons, or read most of the previous comics series, but I was drawn to this book by Writer Chuck Dixon & Artist Paul Gulacy and they did not disappoint!  The story was sharp, fast paced, and I felt like I had everything in the story to know what was going on, whereas I could have felt like I walked in on the middle of something given my lack of “Joe lore”.  The Gulacy art was classic Gulacy, which is wonderful if you’re a fan of Gulacy & like his work here, try to track down Time Bomb (Radical), SciSpy (DC/Vertigo), Six From Sirius (Marvel/Epic), and the three Star Wars Crimson Empire mini-series (Dark Horse).  His most classic work, in my opinion, was on Marvel’s Master of Kung Fu series, but that’s harder to get ahold of as it’s not been reprinted due to licensing issues.

This series is being added to my pull list, something that is a first for any G.I. Joe book.

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