Comic Review: G.I. Joe: Sierra Muerte

Published: August 28th, 2019
Written by: Michel Fiffe
Art by: Michel Fiffe
Based on: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Hasbro

IDW Publishing, 107 Pages

Review:

I remember when this book was coming out, people online were trashing the art. I thought that some of the people behind the comments just didn’t know who Michel Fiffe was and hadn’t seen his work elsewhere but honestly, I can’t say that the criticisms were wrong.

You see, this is a G.I. Joe comic book. It is a licensed property that IDW Publishing pays a lot of money for in order to create content for the Hasbro owned toy brand in the comic book medium. This is the most important factor in why my criticism of this miniseries is about to turn really f’n harsh.

To put it bluntly, Fiffe’s art style isn’t for everyone and that’s the real problem. It’s like IDW got an indie artist with a unique style and thought that this would somehow sell G.I. Joe comics. Well, G.I. Joe comics haven’t sold well in years, so I’m not sure what made IDW think that bringing in an artist with a non-traditional style would somehow appeal to more people than the few they’re actually selling these G.I. Joe books to.

If you are paying a lot of money for the rights to publish a brand you don’t own, don’t you want that brand to make you the most money as possible in order to get a return on your licensing fees, as well as making a boatload of profit? If the answer is “no”, then why the fuck are you a business? If the answer is “yes”, then why the fuck wouldn’t you put out a product tailored to appeal to the largest audience possible?

Furthermore, do you understand the G.I. Joe brand that you are paying all this money for? I’d say “no”, as your helping to kill it off permanently between this miniseries, Paul Allor’s current series and all that Aubrey Sitterson crap from two years ago. Hell, even the regular series that Larry Hama is still working on feels like it’s an afterthought and aimless, pointless schlock that’s so far removed from the spirit of the series, it can’t find its way back. But I don’t blame Hama, the dude’s been writing G.I. Joe for almost forty years.

Point being, this absolutely does not look the way a G.I. Joe comic book should look. Do you even know who the audience for this franchise is? Do you care? Or is everything you do a tax write-off since your company has been losing its ass for a few years now.

But none of this is to knock on Michel Fiffe’s personal art style. It’s just not the right style for a brand that is beloved by adults, many former veterans, that want their Joes to be badass and always look badass.

I should probably also mention that the story here felt rushed and wasn’t very coherent. This probably needed more than three issues to tell its story or it needed to be a smaller story without so many characters shoehorned into it.

I’m pretty sure IDW is mostly dead, at this point. Well, except for the money Marvel’s throwing them to keep them afloat and printing their D-level titles.

But if anyone from Hasbro is out there, what the fuck, guys? I want this brand to be as great as it once was and it has a rich enough mythos and backlog of stories and superb characters to always have something to say. I just wish the people that owned G.I. Joe gave a shit about it as much as the fans that still exist do.

Rating: 3/10
Pairs well with: other post-Chuck Dixon/Mike Costa era G.I. Joe comics put out by IDW i.e. the shitty ones.

Comic Review: Transformers: Infestation 2

Published: February, 2012
Written by: Chuck Dixon
Art by: Guido Guidi
Based on: Transformers by Hasbro

IDW Publishing, 57 Pages

Review:

IDW’s Infestation crossovers have been a mixed bag. Mostly, they are just okay but I do like the Infestation 2 event more than the first one. The first dealt with zombies while the second is more creative and cool in that it deals with Lovecraftian horrors.

I had higher hopes for this one than the others I’ve read, as it is written by Chuck Dixon, a guy who wrote some of my favorite BatmanG.I. Joe and Punisher stories over the years.

So out of the ones I’ve read thus far, I liked this the best.

Dixon did a pretty good job of merging the Transformers and Lovecraftian worlds together. I wasn’t sure if it would work out, as the previous Transformers Infestation story didn’t connect for me. But Dixon’s writing served the story well and the art by Guido Guidi really brought it all together stylisitically and tonally.

My only issue with it was that two issues isn’t enough real estate to truly explore this idea. Not a lot happens and this is all sort of over pretty abruptly. That’s not Dixon’s fault and he penned a solid tale within the constraints he had to do so.

Ultimately, this was a satisfactory installment of the Infestation stories.

Rating: 6.75/10
Pairs well with: Other releases in IDW’s multi-franchise Infestation and Infestation 2 crossovers.

Comic Review: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero – Classics, Vol. 7

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

Review:

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.

Rating: 8.75/10
Pairs well with: Any of the original Marvel G.I. Joe and Transformers comics.

Video Game Review: G.I. Joe: Cobra Strike (Atari 2600)

This game is absolute shit.

I’m not sure what this has to do with G.I. Joe other than it using the franchise’s logo and then having a giant cobra that spits pixels on little army men.

And that’s basically all the game is.

There’s a giant, slithery cobra that spits pixel venom, Army dudes run from one building to another for some reason and then there are two little guns that I guess are used to shoot the snake while you also have to move some Pong paddle around while trying to deflect the pixel venom.

It’s poorly designed with shit controls, an objective that isn’t very clear and nothing but absolute and utter repetitiveness.

Couldn’t they have just made a game where you play as Duke running through the desert punching Cobra troopers?

Rating: 1/10
Pairs well with: jenkem.

Vids I Dig 101: Toy Galaxy: The History of ‘Jem’: The ‘Transformers’ Formula Applied to a Show For Girls

From Toy Galaxy’s YouTube description: On this episode we cover the history of Jem and the Holograms.

After having much success with Transformers and G.I. Joe, Hasbro decided to take that same formula of a cartoon developed around a toyline and apply to a line aimed mostly at girls.

Comic Review: Transformers ’84 – One-Shot

Published: August 21st, 2019
Written by: Simon Furman
Art by: Guido Guidi
Based on: Transformers by Hasbro

IDW Publishing, 38 Pages

Review:

Lately, I feel like I’ve been having bad luck with IDW’s Transformers comics. However, this was kind of cool and actually achieved what it set out to do, which was to tell the story that set up the events of the original Marvel Comics Transformers run.

More than that though, this also gave us some solid art that felt true to that original Transformers era, even down to Megatron’s black helmet.

While this is far from a perfect comic it was enjoyable and hit the right notes.

The art really drew me in from page to page. I loved the illustrations, the inks, the colors and the shading techniques that were reminiscent of ’80s newsprint comics.

This was also pretty hefty for a single issue one-shot, which is another plus.

Honestly, I wouldn’t want to mess with Marvel’s ’80s continuity but I’d be a fan of a Transformers comic book series that was done in this style. It brought me back to 1984 and while nostalgia is a tricky mistress, I didn’t care because I was happy with the end result.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: the original Marvel Transformers comics, which this is a prequel to, as well as other IDW Transformers titles.

Vids I Dig 098: Comic Tropes: Rare ‘G.I. Joe’ Comics

From Comic Tropes’ YouTube description: This video is part of Cobra Convergence, a yearly event where content creators focus on G.I. Joe and their enemy, Cobra. This year, I take a look at some fairly uncommon comics. A European version of G.I. Joe that takes on a splinter sect of Cobra and is tied to the Marvel superhero universe; a G.I. Joe book illustrated by Todd McFarlane that Marvel decided to completely redo by another artist; and the origins of G.I. Joe’s Russian counterparts, the Oktober Guard.