Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: S L Gallant
Release Date: 14th October, 2015
While I was undoubtedly a huge fan of the toys in my younger years, I never really found myself inclined to dip into the world of G.I. Joe comicbooks. However, with IDW’s “Cobra World Order” event about to kick off, I figured that this prequel issue – marketed as “a perfect jumping-on point for G.I. Joe fans new and old” – would provide a perfect opportunity for me to pop my Joe comic cherry.
Unfortunately, as jumping-on points go, this one falls woefully short. The entirety of the issue takes the form of a lengthy on-site inspection by the Senate Oversight Committee of “The Pit”, G.I. Joe’s high-tech base. Early on, the Joes are concerned one of the investigators may not be who he claims to be, and proceed to – I’m assuming – try and bore him to death with a protracted, drawn-out explanation of the base, the different groups within G.I. Joe, the different factions of Cobra, the vehicles, the weapons…
Honestly, I felt like I was sitting through a 32-page toy commercial at points during this issue. The only characters to have any sort of dialogue came across as flat and generic, with Duke’s uninspired listing of (essentially) all the different action figures available in stores now serving no real purpose other than to possibly educate absolute newcomers to the franchise about just what the book is all about.
The artwork is serviceable, but also comes across as fairly flat. I’m not sure that is necessarily S.L. Gallant’s fault though, as there’s only so much he could hope to do with endless cut-aways to Joes sitting at desks or standing next to computer monitors. The Cobra forces fare a little better, looking at least slightly dynamic in their segments, although without any dialogue or actual interaction with each other, “looking good” is about the best we can hope for.
Honestly, I think you’d have to be a fairly die-heard G.I. Joe fan to really get much from this issue. If I’m a fan of the franchise, I’m irritated that I’m essentially losing an issue by the creators telling me what I already know. If I’m a new reader, I’m bored to tears by a comic where nothing – and I mean nothing – actually happens. Nothing is progressed and no new storyline threads are introduced, making this a frustratingly stagnant read.
Essentially, what we have here is a 32-page version of the “previously on G.I. Joe” section that you would expect to find at the beginning of any issue. As a “perfect jumping-on point”, this is anything but, and I only hope that the actual Cobra World Order Event features some actual content, otherwise this is going to be a long, painful slog. I may check in on it, but more to satisfy my own nostalgic curiosity than because of anything done by this particular issue.