Pick of the Week
What did the
By now, I’ll assume that any of you who care have seen the G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra movie trailer. If you’ve seen said trailer, and you’re anything like me, you also know that it looks like a giant, putrid, hunk of foetid shit. But really, when you’ve got a summer action movie based on a decades old action figure line, there are only so many ways it can go. I should have no right to expect more than that right? Well, actually we can. If you’ve heard us talk about the original G.I. Joe comics, you’d know that, against all the rules of creative reality, they were really good comics. You would have also heard us sing the theme song, but that’s neither here nor there.
There is a new crop of G.I. Joe comics available now, and I can tell you that I’m nothing short of stunned that they’re as good as they are. And the best of the bunch for three issues consecutively, has been G.I. Joe: Cobra. Conor picked the first issue as his pick of the week. The second issue literally caused me to reach out to a friend who I haven’t spoken to much in years, to make sure he knew about this book. He did, and was equally impressed by its quality. Had you told me several months back that I would even be reading new GI Joe comics, I would have scoffed. Today, amidst a massive stack of really good comics, there was no question in my mind that G.I. Joe: Cobra #3 was the best thing I read today by far.
If you recall, Chuckles is the Joe agent who’s gone deep undercover to infiltrate a new and mysterious organization. If the title is any indication, it’s very likely Cobra, but nothing from the interior pages has verified that. With each issue, this formerly laughable and somewhat useless character, gets further inside, and further from the world he once knew. Rising in the ranks of the bad guy team, he’s in a position where he has to commit atrocious acts in service of the greater good of the mission, or so he tells himself. The situation is not unlike that of Holden Carver in Brubaker’s wonderful Sleeper series, which if one of my favorites. One of the hallmarks of good fiction is taking a character you have come to care for, and forcing him or her to make incredibly difficult choices. This issue was proceeding nicely along, and it was intriguing and interesting, and then final and pivotal scene starts up, where Chuckles is forced to make a choice that no one would ever have to make. It looks like he has no options, and the choice he does make was jaw-dropping. I don’t plan to ruin this for anyone, but this is most certainly not the G.I. Joe cartoon many of us grew up with.
This mini-series has only two more issues to go, which is a good thing, because I’m not sure how much more they can put this character through. I need to make sure people understand how much this comic book is not anything whatever preconception of G.I. Joe you might have in your head. There are maybe 3 regular characters you’ve heard of. There are pretty much no goofy codenames. There are no goofy outfits or vehicles. The wielders of guns in this series do not miss all their targets, and there are actual bullets being shot. In fact, so far, if you’ve never read a thing about G.I. Joe, and didn’t ever want to, there’s no reason this series even needs to be related to the aging toy line. If that’s holding you back from checking this out, just let that go. Ignore what the words on the cover say, and just enjoy a gut-wrenching spy story.
I’ve been trying to figure out who the artist Antonia Fuso reminds me off. I’m flipping through the pages, and can’t quite figure it out. Is it Alex Maleev? No, not quite. Is it Michael Gaydos? That’s not it. Good lord, wait! It reminds me of Jock! No, the angles aren’t as extreme, and it’s less cinematic, but that’s exactly what it makes me think of, and comic book art that has anything to do with making me think of Jock’s art is OK by me. The art is really well done, and the sort of staid, static style fits the mood this book is trying to pull off nicely. When Fuso needs to hit the mark, and impress the reader, he’s got the goods. In addition to being my favorite title of the current G.I. Joe books, the artwork alone is the best of the bunch.
I wouldn’t have thought it, and I don’t know what crazy magic powder the folks at IDW are feeding to the folks creating these G.I. Joe comics, but it’s working, and I’m well hooked. I’m even thinking of going back and buying the old Joe trades, now being reprinted by IDW, which has never happened. Out of all the books I’m paying four bucks a shot for, this is the one series where I’m perfectly willing to let them have the extra dollar.
No, I can’t believe he did it either.