Published: April 16th, 2013
Written by: Chuck Dixon, Mike Costa
Art by: Javier Saltares, Will Rosado, Ron Adrian, Robert Atkins, Agustin Padilla, Alberto Muriel, Casey Maloney, Antonio Fuso, Chee, Werther Dell edera
Based on: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Hasbro
IDW Publishing, 564 Pages
After reading the incredible saga Cobra – The Last Laugh, I had no choice but to have to jump right into this even larger saga.
This story is friggin’ massive. I got the compendium version that collects every issue from every title that pertains to this story and then organizes them chronologically. Compared to Cobra – The Last Laugh, this book is twice as big, coming in at nearly 600 pages.
The premise itself is a spoiler to Cobra – The Last Laugh, so if you want to read that book first, you might not want to continue reading this review beyond this paragraph.
This massive compendium is about finding the replacement for the murdered Cobra Commander, who was killed by Chuckles. Cobra decides to hold a contest. Whoever is able to cause the most crippling damage to G.I. Joe will be selected to be the new Cobra Commander. So the Baroness, Tomax, Major Bludd and several others compete to murder as many G.I. Joes as possible while also trying to destroy their infrastructure.
The story follows all of these Cobra agents and their individual plots. It also puts a big emphasis on Snake Eyes, who plays a major part in this series.
This tale comes with some good twists, as there are characters that are moles or that sabotage other operations for their own personal gain. It is really chaotic but that also works against the book in a way too.
The biggest negative is that the story sometimes feels disorganized but this is also a collection of three different comic titles that crossover to tell the story. But when you do get to the end, I feel like the winner to Cobra’s contest was supposed to be a big surprise but it didn’t come off as a shocker because the character was barely in the story and not developed in any way. He’s sort of like the old Cobra Commander, just some unknown guy in a mask. Which I guess is fine but they had the chance to do something really different and this whole big event just lead to hitting the reset button while killing off a lot of characters. IDW has never been afraid of taking risks since they took over G.I. Joe but they kept all the core members alive and gave us 600 pages that, while wonderful, didn’t seem to have the gravitas and weight that the story sort of guaranteed by the nature of its subject matter and epic scale.
The writing was decent and the art was beautiful. The book looks absolutely incredible and made for a very fun read for this longtime G.I. Joe fan. Although, I really missed Destro not being a part of the competition, as he was locked away throughout the story.
The real highlight for me though, was the Baroness stuff. She was entertaining and intriguing; plus, she’s always been one of my favorite characters in the franchise. The Snake Eyes side of things were fun too but I never really got the showdown I had hoped would take place between him and Storm Shadow. I also liked how much time they devoted to Major Bludd with this story, as he sort of gets brushed to the side in favor of other Cobra officers. He’s always been a pretty one-dimensional baddie but we get to know him quite a bit here.
Cobra Civil War was a heck of a major event and a pretty ambitious one at that. IDW did a good job of bringing this all together and making it work really well. I prefer Cobra – The Last Laugh but this was a much larger story that stretched to every corner of the G.I. Joe universe and felt like it was worthy of standing alongside the G.I. Joe I grew up with thirty years ago.
Pairs well with: Other IDW G.I. Joe releases but Cobra – The Last Laugh should be read before this and Cobra Command should be read after, as the three big events sort of work as a trilogy.