I simply can’t love a comic more than this.
GI Joe was my favorite comic as a kid, and somehow, some way, Larry Hama is still putting out comics that make me feel exactly the same way I did when I was 8. Sometimes, I do read comics for nostalgia, and this is the absolute best book on the stand at filling me with that childlike sense of wonder.
That’s not to say that there aren’t new ideas, great twists and turns, or fun plots. Hama can do all of that in his sleep. This trade in particular has three missions, each one with its own squad of Joe specialists. And since Hama wrote those old file cards, you know there are going to be some fantastic asides for the old timer fans like me.
This book should have been called “No Joe Left Behind” since each of the three missions has Joes in trouble getting bailed out by their friends. For those of you (like me) who love seeing character lists, here is a high level list of the missions.
Lt. Falcon, Spirit, Zap, Leatherneck, and Rip-Cord have to figure out a way to rescue Dusty, Airtight, and Tunnel Rat from some tight spots in the Middle Eastern country of Benzheen. This one features Zartan and the Dreadnoks, Destro, and the Baroness on the Cobra side.
Scarlett, Stalker, Beach Head, Torpedo, and Gung-Ho have to rescue a recurring hostage from pirates. The entire conflict is set on a freighter rolling around during a storm. This has a ton of supporting characters and vehicles like the Whale and the Tomahawk. It also has the first appearance of the Red Shadows.
In the last (and so far incomplete) tale, Low Light, Chuckles, and Lady Jaye are in a tight spot going against Major Bludd and some military types in a rural town. This is worth it just to hear all the different ways Low Light wants to shoot the bad guys. While waiting for permission from base, he’s getting antsy, and so is the reader!
S.L. Gallant continues to be meticulous and precise in his attention to detail for the Joe uniforms and costumes. Everyone looks like the toys you remember, even down to the weapons! Sure, it doesn’t make sense to shoot a shotgun at long range, but dangit, that’s what Falcon’s toy came with, so that’s what he’ll use! It was great seeing Ron Wagner draw these characters again too.
Books like this are the reason that I still read comics. Comics are VERY VERY GOOD!