It's hard for me to put my true verdict down on this book for a number of reasons. One: I don't like G.I. Joe. Like Transformers I didn't grow up with it and the recent film franchise burned a little cigarette hole in my permanent interest. I also haven't read any G.I. Joe comic that wasn't written in the 80's, including all of the issues leading up to this issue of 'Cobra Files'. It does help a bit in informing my call on this book however, because wading through all of those hindrances this issue ended up as something I actually enjoyed. Stemming from events I hadn't read, the Cobra Files team is being disbanded by their leader Flint (talk about the wrong issue to start reading in, geez) and most of the book is the fallout as the team members react to the news, mostly badly. Emotions flare, romantic entanglements twist and unravel, and men sulk as masculinely as they can. Writer Mike Costa handles the dialogue between the characters well, lending a surprising amount of seriousness to a G.I. Joe book. I had a little bit of a hard time getting past characters called things like Chameleon and Clockspring delivering hard-boiled dialogue about fighting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, but since I'm passionate about teams with characters named Boom-Boom and Strong Guy on them it's simply a pretty transparent personal prejudice. Good dialogue and firm pacing kept the book interesting even with my complete absence of context.
The art by Antonio Fusso and Emilio Lecce is serviceable for the book, serious and with a noir-like darkness. It's not great, you can see what they were going for and it isn't nearly comfortable enough to pull it off, but it works for the book and even looks pretty good in a couple of panels.
'Cobra Files' feels like a solid book, and while I can't speak for Joe fans it seems like it takes its source material seriously. While it's far from converting me, it's a relief to pick up an IDW book that feels like someone actually bothered to write it. Not swell to be left with that perception of their catalog, but I'll take an okay book where I see it.
Writer: Mike Costa Artist: Antonio Fuso Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/2/13