Saturday, January 19, 2013

GI Joe Ongoing: Cobra Civil War TPB

Dang. I really, really wanted to like this. Chuck Dixon was one of my favorite writers for years and years, with great runs at both DC and Crossgen. I even enjoyed his early work on the GI Joe franchise at IDW. But as the years have gone by, my interest in this book has deflated.

There are a few reasons why this book is only average, but the main one is that I simply can’t tell who anyone is. In an effort to recreate and modernize the Joes, they all ditched their uniforms. At this point, I can recognize Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Mainframe, Beachhead, and Helix. That’s it. Maybe a couple of Cobras. Other than that, I have to re-read panels, hopefully figuring out if that’s Duke or Hawk, Shipwreck or Torpedo, trying to describe the situation. I’m lost!

Another problem is the glut of characters in this thing. I mean, I like the core concept that Cobra will determine their new leader based on the amount of damage done to the Joes. A story like that requires a high body count. I appreciate that only a few “real” characters get blasted. Brainstorm, Barbeque, and Crank Case are the only ones that come to mind that I would even know by name. Most of the casualties have silly names, but wear the same uniforms as everyone else. It’s hard to get sad about someone getting pasted when two more clones can run in during the next panel.

The art is a bit confusing too. I understand it would be hard to maintain clear storytelling with the same figure drawn five times in a panel, but I had an extremely difficult time telling how many Joes were in a squad, where they were, or even who was talking. It also seems that artist Javier Saltares is obsessed with moustaches. If the Joe isn’t clean-shaven, he’s sporting a big, bushy moustache.

Another confusing aspect of the book is the overuse of the word “bro.” Perhaps that’s a real military thing, and it is this prevalent. But man, reading through issues 0-6 in one sitting? It is positively painful seeing this many characters yell out “bro” right before getting killed.

That’s not to say this is all bad. As I said, the plot is interesting. I get a real Blue Beetle vibe from Mainframe as written by Chuck Dixon. I’m not sure I’d ever pair off Mains and Scarlett, but it is a fun idea. I also enjoyed the Hawk and Dial Tone on the run subplot, until it abruptly ended without much purpose.

All in all, a very weird collection.


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