When my editor here at WPR asked me to review G.I. Joe: Cobra #12, I was a little bummed at first. I’ve never had any interest in reading a ‘Joe comic. Sure, I watched them back in the awesome 80’s. I had too many kung-fu grip action figures for my own good (later destroyed in a pre-teen ecstasy of hammers and bottle-rockets). Through the eyes of nostalgia G.I. Joe The Movie (circa 1987) is still forty-ounces of ass-kicking, but I haven’t watched it since. I believe sometime in 1989 my VCR ate the old VHS tape I had rewound one too many times.
Why did I lose touch with G.I. Joe? Why did I stop caring? I think it might have been The X-Men. When X-Men #1 hit the shelves in 1991 an entire generation left the 1980’s behind and got into the “X-Treme.”
G.I. Joe seemed like kid stuff compared to this new brand of storytelling. Adding to that, my attempts at reliving my cartoon childhood have been less than satisfactory. I mean, have you gone back and watched He-man and Voltron? They have not aged well.
So I ignored the world of G.I. Joe, even despite the urging of my good friend (and past panelist for Adequately-Sized Podcast) Chad Rogers, who exclaimed, “Nick, I promise you G.I. Joe has been fucking-rad lately.”
Oh Chad, you were right. I should have listened.
G.I. Joe: Cobra #12 focuses on the twin brothers Tomax and Xamot. I remembered them immediately from the old cartoon in all their Zac Efron-haired glory. Surprise, this new take on them is a more grown-up approach.
I had no clue.
Three pages in I was already hooked. Tight dialogue and crisp art had me flipping pages. When Xamot starts complaining about Cobra security being shoddy and broke down I was totally drawn in. Here we have a world that feels real. Let me repeat that — this G.I. Joe comic book feels real.
I don’t want to give away to much of this masterfully plotted piece. In brief, this issue involves the previously mentioned brothers, Chuckles (once a Joe, now undercover), and Cobra Commander (I assumed it was him but wasn’t quite sure because the comic never calls him by name, but thank goodness for Google).
There’s just enough action too be poignant and a shit-load of intrigue. Seriously though, I’m not going into plot details because you kids need to read this. However, I will mention, when the iconic line “Yo Joe!” is spoken, I got geek-bumps.
The writing and pacing by Mike Costa and Christos N. Gage is top notch. Being a Marvel fan I knew Gage had chops, yet didn’t know much about Costa. It seems the two make a great team. The art by Antonio Fuso was perfect. It was almost noir, adding to the realistic vibe. Finally, how often does a colorist get praised in a review? Not often. Peter Dawes gives expertly crafted lighting and shadows to this world. Kudos to the coloring guy!
In closing, I’m going with the Giant-Size Podcast review system here. On GSP (where all things are phallic) we have a three star system: flaccid, chubby, and rock-hard.
G.I. Joe: Cobra #12 gets a big rock-hard from this writer.
Nothing like a boner you weren’t expecting.