Published: January 9th, 2013
Written by: Christos Gage, Mike Costa
Art by: Antonio Fuso, S.L. Gallant, Chee
Based on: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Hasbro
IDW Publishing, 368 Pages
This is the story that serves as a setup for the massive Cobra Civil War mega event that IDW Publishing did to shake things up in their G.I. Joe universe. It works as the first part of a trilogy of big stories with Cobra Civil War and Cobra Command. I have all three collections now, so I am reading them in order.
This story is smaller in scale than a typical G.I. Joe tale, as it really just features one Joe primarily: Chuckles. This is Chuckles time to shine, as he’s mostly been an afterthought character over the years. This taps into his modus operandi, where he is a great secret agent that is able to blend in with any situation and complete his mission. Here, he infiltrates Cobra but it isn’t that simple. This story has many twists and turns and leads to a pretty incredible and surprising end.
Chuckles is pushed to his moral limit several times. In order to not blow his cover, he has to commit several incredibly horrible acts. He is focused on the job at hand and anyone else with a conscience probably wouldn’t be able to do the heinous things he does. But these things do take a toll 0n him and he questions his actions. But his decisions, regardless of what he’s trying to accomplish, make it really hard to like or relate to him. But that’s also kind of the point. These aren’t the cartoon G.I. Joe stories that many of us grew up with. This is something much darker and realistic. And really, it shows you just how evil Cobra truly is.
The book also focuses on the twins, Tomax and Xamot. It gives their origin story, shows their relationship over the years and how things have changed since Chuckles came into their lives. We also spend some quality time with the Baroness and get to meet Cobra Commander, after he had been held back in an effort to make his reveal mean something.
We also meet new characters that were created for this story. They have their own interesting personalities and backstory and each contributes greatly to this story arc.
To be frank, this is the best G.I. Joe story I have ever read that wasn’t written by the maestro, Larry Hama. This book goes to darker places than one would ever expect from G.I. Joe but it works surprisingly well and doesn’t just feel like some run of the mill “gritty reboot”.
This is written by people who grew up with G.I. Joe and who are now writing it for others who also grew up with the franchise. Except now they are writing it for that same audience, who are all at least in their 30s.
Cobra – The Last Laugh is phenomenal. And I must now immediately jump into its followup, the massive and nearly 600 page Cobra Civil War – Compendium.
Pairs well with: IDW Publishing’s Cobra Civil War and Cobra Command.