Published: August 27th, 2013
Written by: Fred Van Lente
Art by: Steve Kurth
Based on: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Hasbro
IDW Publishing, 128 Pages
G.I. Joe, Vol. 1 Homefront may seem confusing as it is listed as “volume 1”, which IDW already had two of before this. This is the first collection of their third standard G.I. Joe title, however. I know, I know… their way of organizing their G.I. Joe titles is confusing but the reading order can be found here. This also happens alongside G.I. Joe: Special Missions, Vol. 1 and The Cobra Files, Vol. 1.
The series is also given to a writer that isn’t Chuck Dixon or Mike Costa, whose stories I have been a fan of up to this point. Dixon would move on to handling the writing of the Scarlett led Joe team in Special Missions while Costa would handle the Flint led Joe team in The Cobra Files. This third G.I. Joe series, written by Fred Van Lente, follows Duke’s team and it deals with G.I. Joe now being in the public eye and being made into celebrities with a toyline and a blogger that rides along on missions.
I’m not a big fan of this take. I liked the Joes existing in secret and it added a lot of weight to their personal stories as Joe members had very secret identities and were “killed in combat”, as far as their public records went. G.I. Joe had a much darker edge and a realistic feel when they were secret, heroic badasses, dead to the world. Now it feels like G.I. Joe is trying to be too hip and playing up a sort of reality show angle, which makes little to no sense. The Navy’s Seal teams in real life don’t have bloggers that follow them around or even have their identities made public. It’s just pretty stupid. You can disclose that the team is real to the public but there is absolutely no reason to put their faces on lunchboxes and Tervis tumblers for a quick buck.
Anyway, that gripe out of the way, I did like the story here in spite of the stupidity of the Joe’s public situation. We see Duke’s team go into a small American town because of possible Cobra activity. We quickly learn that the town is working for Cobra because they feel betrayed and abandoned by the American government. The book serves to show how easily a community can be made to switch their alliance if they feel neglected and ignored by those who are supposed to protect them through hardship.
However, wasn’t this already a plot, albeit a more simplified version, in the earliest IDW stories where Springfield was a small town that worked for Cobra’s interests? Springfield being a throwback to the fake Cobra town that Shipwreck lived in when Cobra was trying to rip into his mind to unlock a secret in the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero episodes There’s No Place Like Springfield, Parts 1 & 2.
This book also catches up with the Baroness and her story. But it is a bit confusing, as the last time she was seen (in G.I. Joe: Special Missions, Vol. 1) she was in Cobra’s crosshairs and failed to recover the fortune she lost at sea, which put her in hot water in the first place. I just feel like I missed something because she should still be on the run and trying to win her way back into Krake’s (the second Cobra Commander) good graces.
Homefront wasn’t a bad story, by any means, but it just put a strange and unnecessary twist on the IDW G.I. Joe mythos. I guess I’ll have to see how this narrative pans out but this book showed signs of G.I. Joe starting to go off the rails.
Pairs well with: The other G.I. Joe stories that happen at the same time: G.I. Joe: Special Missions, Vol. 1 and G.I. Joe: The Cobra Files, Vol. 1.