Review: G.I. Joe - Vol. 4 #6

Jesus Christ will someone just shoot a laser at something already!?!  Welcome back to another edition of Talking: The Comic.  Never have I seen such a misuse of a visual medium or such wasted art potential.  Why hire a person that can draw, and draw decently, then have your book just filled with still shots and talking? The last couple of pages we finally get some action but I’m not optimistic about future action with how flat out boring these last two issues are.  I understand they want to take a different tone with this.  I appreciate how their doing that but it’s really hard to take all the realistic military talk when words like “Cobra”, “Tomax” “CIA” and “G.I. Joe” are thrown around like they are things to be taken seriously.  If you were to take this same concept, the same writing and transplant it to an original IP then this might change things.  Also, I feel, something more might be gained if you have been with this since word one.  The ‘Previously On…” does a pretty good job letting you know what’s going on but maybe having experienced more context I might be able to wring some level of enjoyment out of it.  As it is I find it a slog to power through and intensely boring.

G.I. Joe - Vol. 4 #6Adding to the boredom is the extreme complexity of the plot and the shear amount of characters involved.  I’m not opposed to either complexity or a large cast but when you need a full page to illustrate what has happened and then another full page just to show off the cast then something might be wrong.  The problem is most of these characters are entirely interchangeable, I can’t tell the difference between the various groups in their various locations doing their various things.  It could be anyone doing anything anywhere, why does it even need to take place in the G.I. Joe Universe?

I’m going to say this again, maybe I’ll be saying this every time I review an issue of this until I tap out in 3 issues (if I read something I read it for 5 issues, if it doesn’t give me something in 5 issues it will never give me anything) but G.I. Joe works within camp.  It needs to be campy and stupid and over the top.  I understand the desire to take something stupid and make it gritty and realistic, I once wrote a gritty reboot of Inspector Gadget for a creative writing class.  I appreciate the effort involved but I think if you wanted to do a gritty interpretation of G.I. Joe a better approach would have been focusing on a small task force of Joes fighting a terrorist cell of Cobra.  You could explore the effects of exposure to constant warfare.  You could explore why terrorist cells do what they do.  The horrors of war, the human element in a position of doing inhumane things, the grayscale of conflict instead of the romanticized black and white of typical war depictions.  The entire time focusing on a small group of characters that the reader can build relationships with.  All I’m saying is that there are better, more action oriented, ways to take a serious look at G.I. Joe.  This gets two points because I appreciate the difficulty in writing this and because the art is well done but otherwise I would avoid this unless you need a sleep aide.

Score: 2/5

G.I. Joe #6  Writer: Karen Traviss Artist: Steve Kurth Colorist: Kito Young Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/4/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital