Pick of the Week

05.13.2009 – G.I. Joe: Cobra #3

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.8
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 31.6%
Users who pulled this comic:

Size: pages
Price: 3.99

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. 

Josh Flanagan
No, I can’t believe he did it either.


  1. That was a great review Conor. You love those GI Joe comics. I….

    *holds ear* What’s that?…..This isnt conor’s pick it’s josh? But….I’m now all out of wack.


    Great Review

  2. cenquist cenquist says:

    Good review, was planning on waiting for this in trade…but I may need to jump on.

  3. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    I would bet a lot of shops just have all the issues still in stock.  But in this case, as it’s a 4 issue mini, read them from the start, since it charts a slow and steady downward spiral.

  4. bwhancock bwhancock says:

    I never heard these words together before . . . "giant, putrid, hunk of foetid shit"  and I will have to find a way to work them into a conversation at work tomorrow.  And the movie does look like that.  I’m sure they are creative people, but don’t understand what made the 1980s version so cool.  Larry Hama did all the heavy lifting back in the day, all you have to do is pick out the best cherries.

    I forgot to pick up this book today.  Damn, back to the shop.

    Also Sonic #200 is out today – fun book. 



  5. kwisdumb kwisdumb says:

    Ah man.

    Alright, you got me, I’ll check these out ASAP.

    Great review.

  6. Cadgers Cadgers says:

    I’ve never been into G.I Joe but these two POW’s make me want to check this mini out.

  7. edward says:

    josh! Come on, man! Sonic 200! ;)

  8. BC1 BC1 says:

    And here I would have thought it would be one of the "Un" books you recommended earlier this week.  Glad to see it’s G. I. Joe, though; this series deserves some love.

  9. I tell you what. That is a horrible design of Chuckles on the cover

  10. Ali Colluccio WonderAli (@WonderAli) says:

    Wow. Sounds like this is the real deal then.

  11. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    Howard Chaykin.

  12. Gabe Gabe says:

    I read this book in shop because I didn’t want to buy a 4 dollar book this week.  I finished it, and then I bought it.  I don’t remember the last time I did that, if ever.  

  13. just read it… yeah.. DEFINITELY potw

    good pick josh

  14. drakedangerz drakedangerz says:

    Amazing book.  Easily the best issue of the series so far.  I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.  Glad you enjoyed it too Josh.  It was one of my top picks this week, but ultimately I went with Secret Six as my pick.

  15. balsalm balsalm says:

    That page, you know the one, was crazy…

    This book is, honestly, as good a comic as there is right now.

    The art has a grimey and sullen texture to it which really fortifies the dark ambient of the book. The writing is inspired and sharp. My favorite thing about the whole book might be Chuckles inner dialouge.

    Just a great comic book.

  16. *blink*

  17. jerichobp jerichobp says:

    You know what most impressed me about this book. It wasn’t the absolutely rivetting story or the great art. It was the change in lettering after "the thing" happened. Very unimportant overall, but I think it just exemplifies the craft and detail being put into this story, which is why it’s so damn good.

  18. Eadge Eadge says:

    Damn it Josh!!

    Damn you Conor! 

    Now I have to go buy this.  

  19. edward says:

    yeah, despite the whole howard chaykin is a comic guru thing, i have to agree with the next champion. i really don’t like the cover, just my cup of tea. seriously, he is good enough to be a cover artist?

  20. Leprechaun Leprechaun says:

    I read this issue and thought this has to be pick of the week.  It blew me away.  Great pick.  Thanks iFanboy for making me buy the first issue it has been a great ride.

  21. stuclach stuclach says:

    Didn’t come in at my shop.  This series has been phenomenal, but IDW has to get its shit together if they want it to bring in the revenue it should. 

    [BEGIN RANT] Every single issue has been late at my shop.  I know I live in the middle of nowhere, but if DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, etc can get their stuff together on time, then IDW should be able to, too (they all go through Diamond, so it isn’t an issue with the distributor). [END RANT]

    If only the upcoming movie could be as good as the comics.  I would be in G.I. Joe heaven.

  22. Paul Montgomery PaulMontgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Man, this sounds like great stuff. I’m gonna jump in. 

  23. DoctorPym DoctorPym says:

    If you’re digging this, Mike’s Jack Hawksmoor book was fantastic as well!

  24. RyanHoyt RyanHoyt says:

    Finally read #1 on Tuesday and felt like it was the best book I’ve read in months.  Then I read #2 last night and WOW.  #3 is waiting for me at home.  I can’t wait to get off of work so I can read #3!!!  I played with GI Joe figures as a kid and watched the cartoon occasionally, but never had that deep of a connection at the time nor nostalgically later on, but still I absolutely love this miniseries!!!

  25. RyanHoyt RyanHoyt says:

    Also, I cant help but picture Alan Tudyk (Wash on Firefly/Serenity, Steve the Pirate on Dodgeball) as Chuckles as I read it.  Maybe its that colorful Hawaiin shirt mixed with the blond hair and his sense of humor in the flashback scene in #1 where he’s cracking jokes during the GI Joe meeting.  Ha, sorry if I ruin the character for anyone by saying that!

  26. You know I’m just spitballing at the cover and not at the actual book.

    The cover josh provides has Chuckle’s jaw looking like it’s 3x bigger then his hand! But I would have to read the actual comic to see if that’s the case the whole book.

    But I notice it’s a different artist for interiors….so nevermind :)

  27. drakedangerz drakedangerz says:

    @TNC-I think its been thoroughly covered that Chaykin is not for everyone.  I don’t particularly like it either, and ended up getting the kick-ass variant cover instead, but I hardly let that influence my enjoyment of the comic.  I also don’t keep bringing it up and beating a dead horse…unlike some people ;)

  28. @drake: I didnt realize talking about something only twice makes it beating a dead horse :)

  29. RyanHoyt RyanHoyt says:

    @TheNextChampion – I fully agree, that cover is awful and doesn’t do the comic justice in the least!

  30. odare77 says:

    Never read GI Joe in my life but will be reading the trade, sound like really interesting stuff. (And I like Chaykin and don’t actually have any problem with the cover.  Sorry!!)

  31. Sigh…why if the art is better do I no longer care about Ultimate Spider-Man?  It used to be one of the first ones I read in my stack…

  32. Note to self:  add "foetid" to everyday vocabulary.

  33. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    I’m poking my head in to say that although I still have to read most of last week’s books and I still have to buy this week’s books – this POW makes me happy and super excited to get to the store.

    Also, I really like this cover. The Chaykin covers have rocked on this series so far.

  34. edward says:

    @Stuclach: i use to live in the middle of nowhere and had to travel a few hours to get to the closest comic store. i feel your pain. i used to read most titles in trade, it’s not a bad way to read actually.

    @TNC: say something else about the cover and chaykin, i’ll back you up brother!

  35. @edward: I dont think it’s that bad of a cover. Just pointing out Chuckles is a bit off model on the cover. Other then that it looks pretty dramatic.

  36. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    Looks like not only was I quoted, but some of the commenters get their say as well.  Well played iFanbase.


  37. FluffNFluff FluffNFluff says:

    My god that was good. It’s funny – I just read an interview with Joseph Gordon-Levitt where he basically yelled at the American moviegoing public for going to shitty movies yet he is in this really forced, plastic looking GI Joe movie.

     Oh and I have never watched the show or read the comics before and I am only reading this series and I am not missing a beat. 

  38. edward says:

    @TNC: cop out!

     i’m completely serious. Joseph Gordon-Levitt would make a fantastic Cobra Commander. He looks like a snake and is a really talented actor. Watch Perfect Skin if you don’t believe (just don’t watch it with your parents/kids/partner/friends, they’ll think you’re weird)

  39. Much as though I will always have a soft spot for GI Joe (Or Action Force as it was in the UK throughout most of my childhood) it’s not my pick. Captain Britain and MI13 #13 was by far the most outstanding book I read this week. Nothing has even gotten close to the genuine shock of that issue. It blew me away.

  40. What’s with all of these PotWs being books I don’t buy? Where’s my sense of validation in having the same pick as the iFanboys? Now I have to hunt down some new series that I had no intention of buying just to see what the fuss is about!

    Ok, so I’m (mostly) kidding. This does look interesting, but I’ve never been a G.I. Joe fan. I might have to check out the trade or something. I wish people were saying the same things about IDW’s Transformers line.

    Oh, and my pick was Unwritten. Partially because of how awesome it was and how promising the story is. Partially because I’m excited I am able to jump onto such a sweet looking concept with issue #1.

  41. What a great book.  Good book, Jpsh.

  42. Wow, that came out all wrong.  *Good pick, Josh.

  43. Jim Jim says:

    This was a great issue.  I believe this is the best of the three Joe series now, followed by Origins– with the regular G.I. Joe book bringing up the rear. 

    Heh.  Bringing up the rear.  Heh.

  44. Woomer Woomer says:

    Such a ludricously good book, not just for being G.I. Joe, but for comics in general.  A great example of the drama that can be wrought by skillfully tearing apart a character.  I had to reread the pages with Chuckles’ choice a couple of times, just to enjoy the storytelling. Bravo.

  45. DavidB DavidB says:

    Just finished this weeks books last night, and wow, there is no way I couldn’t make this my pick.  I have to say that I’ve had a quite a few average weeks here lately where I haven’t been that excited about picking up or reading my books, but after reading this issue my excitement for my comics was rekindled.  This was the first time in a long time that I was able to give something 5 stars.  Great comic.

  46. Jim Jim says:

    So I’m looking through May Previews, and don’t see Origins or Cobra solicited, only the regular GI Joe book… are Origins and Cobra ending…?

  47. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @Jim: COBRA is a four issue mini-series. ORIGINS began as a mini but is now becoming an on-going.

  48. Jim Jim says:

    @Conor: thanks– I actually just found the IDW announcment about Origins becoming an ongoing, starting with #6. I also see that they’re doing a COBRA special in September, "inspired by revelations" in COBRA #4. 


  49. savinglala savinglala says:

    Though I know its not exactly your intent, this review made me go order IDW’s Classic GI Joe reprint.  I’m a trade waiter through and through and just hearing about good GI Joe makes me want to read other good Joe.  I’ll get this when it goes in trade too probably.

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