Published: February 24th, 2010 (IDW reprint version)
Written by: Larry Hama
Art by: Ron Wagner, William Johnson, Arvell Jones, Marshall Rogers, Tony Salmons
Based on: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Hasbro
Marvel Comics (original printing), IDW Publishing (reprinted), 235 Pages
I read through the first six volumes of the classic G.I. Joe comics run pretty quickly, several months ago. So I took a lengthy break to read a lot of other stuff before coming back to it. There are fifteen volumes in total, so I’m now about halfway.
This collection takes place around the time where almost all the iconic characters were going through redesigns. This also features a lot of the characters that debuted in G.I. Joe: The Movie. What I consider the truly classic era is pretty much over by this point, as we get the battle armor Cobra Commander, the gold headed Destro, as well as Jinx, Chuckles and other Joes from that time frame.
As far as the cartoon and the toyline, this is where things started to decline. However, in comic book form, this era ain’t half bad and I really enjoyed Larry Hama’s stories here.
The first big arc deals with Stalker and a couple other Joes who have been captured and are being held captive in a concentration camp in a fictional country ruled by a communist dictator. The story here is pretty dark. Granted, it’s not as dark as it could be but this is a comic written for pre-teen boys as a marketing vehicle to sell toys.
We also have the death of the original Cobra Commander in this collection, as well as the rise of the second Cobra Commander, the man who murdered the original. Tied into that is the continued story of the first Commander’s son, Billy. He continues to train under the Arashikage ninja arts with his teachers Storm Shadow and Jinx.
I guess the best part of the story, at least for me, is where Snake Eyes and Scarlett fake their own deaths in order to recuse their friends from the concentration camp. This does a great job of strengthening their bond, as well as giving us some solid character development for my favorite G.I. Joe couple, Flint and Lady Jaye.
This collection ends kind of open ended but that’s how these volumes go, as each one strictly covers ten issues. I think the last few volumes get a bit shorter though.
Ultimately, this was another solid string of stories in the ongoing G.I. Joe saga. It propels things forward, gives us some new material that feels fresh and has me hopeful for the other volumes that follow.
Pairs well with: Any of the original Marvel G.I. Joe and Transformers comics.