Friday, January 10, 2014

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero v8 TPB

I’ve said it many times now, but I still mean it. Why anyone would read any of IDWs many G.I. Joe comics when they could be focusing on this one. This is what G.I. Joe is all about. Characters looking and acting like they did when we were kids while playing out new and innovative plots. Heck, Larry Hama even makes sure that most of the locations are well known.

Snake Eyes’ cabin in the High Sierras, Broca Beach, the Pitt, and Sierra Gordo are all vital to the plot. Hama makes numerous references to old stories, but I certainly can’t remember them well enough to truly appreciate it. And guess what, that doesn’t matter, because the current plots stand fine on their own.

The book opens with Chuckles, Low Light, Lady Jaye, and Jinx taking on an evil dictator. The dictator has hired Major Blud, to give us a recognizable villain. This story featured a truly ninja-level of mayhem from Chuckles. He must kill 50 people while working to break Lady Jaye loose from captivity. I love that Hama even mentions this in a great bit of dialogue later in the trade. (I won’t ruin the joke.)

Jinx and Pale Peony are assigned to look into both the Arashikage clan and the blue ninja cyborgs that have been regular villains in recent issues. I’m getting major SAW Viper vibes from some of these guys, and that is a good thing. Hama really writes the two ladies enjoying their work.

The main story has retired Joe Grunt captured in Sierra Gordo. Rather than waiting for approval, the Joes mobilize a ton of troops and start the rescue. Hama gives us some great one-liners from a ton of Joes, each line a great throwback to what we remember about that Joe’s character and motivations.

I hope you guys like the roll calls like I do, so here’s the mission breakdown to rescue Grunt:

Alpha Team: Roadblock, Rock & Roll, Zap, Gung Ho, Torpedo, Lady Jaye, Flint, Dial-Tone, Shockwave, and Mutt & Junkyard. They are the main team putting boots on the ground to get Grunt back.
Bravo team is backup: Leatherneck, Beach Head, Low Light, Downtown, Bazooka, and Life Line, with Stalker in charge. What a sweet team!

Handling intelligence and communications at HQ: Psyche Out, Lt. Falcon, Chuckles, and Mainframe.

Then you’ve got all the vehicles and pilots to support those teams, so there is a ton of face time for lots of old favorites. And when things go bad for those two units, it sure looks like the last few Joes left in the Pitt are going to have to ship out in the next trade.

This is my perfect comic. Larry Hama and S.L. Gallant have created a blend of action, characterization and nostalgia unmatched in comics (Sergio Cariello handles art duties also). For the generation that came into comic books through the G.I. Joe title like I did, there is no better comic on the stands. 

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