By Dustin Cabeal
I’ve lost track of how many volumes of G.I. Joe this makes, which is a shame because you need to know for any of it to make sense. IDW refuses for some weird reason to reboot G.I. Joe even when Revolution would have made perfect sense to do so. Instead, we’re left with years and years of history on the series, and none of it is particularly memorable.
I would even wager that most people don’t remember the run in-between this one and the one in which Fred Van Lente created a fucking social media Joe codenamed “Hashtag.” Let that shit sink in for a second.
The new series of Joe’s has Scarlett in charge and if for some reason you weren’t reading Revolution (and I don’t blame you). I hope you like the characterization of her being the boss with the stick way up the ass because that’s how she comes off. In Revolution, she’s completely irrational, “kill all the robots, ” and here she’s the absent boss the shows up with the butt stick and reveals a mission to move the story forward.
The cast is lame. We’re taking B team for the most part. Sure, Snake Eyes is on the team, but aren’t we all tired of him? Also, they do nothing cool with him, and another Joe narrates his moves as if he’s blind all of the sudden and needs guidance. They also have a Decepticon Jet on the team… personally, that breaks the fun of G.I. Joe. I get that they’re all a part of the same world now, but I guess I didn’t realize they were going to start mixing and matching like that. I guess we’ll see if writer Aubrey Sitterson can keep the Joes interesting when they have a giant MacGuffin at the ready.
Before talking about the writing, I’m going to compliment the artwork. Giannis Milonogiannis’ style is the one thing I enjoyed about this book. It was different; it looked manga inspired, and it worked. It gave the Joes a new look. I’m sure it’s probably the one thing people that liked this series disliked about the book because it is very far removed from the typical G.I. Joe style.
The writing is competent. I do give Sitterson props for not only dealing with the boring IDW history but also for tying into Revolution. That said, it was still unenjoyable. All the characters are given their moments to pop off one-liners, none of which landed with me and felt like a laugh track needed to be inserted. The tone of the story doesn’t exist. There are serious moments, but they’re not well developed. There’s a lot of comedy, but then it’s a Military action story so… a bit out of place. With the first issue, I have no idea what their main conflict is going to be, just the next bad guy they’ll face. They’re just going to fight someone every issue. At least with Cobra, they were always working towards figuring them out and shutting them down.
There’s just no sense of G.I. Joe here. I didn’t read it and think, “yeah, that’s G.I Joe alright.” And before you say it, no I don’t mean, “That’s not my G.I. Joe.” I didn’t grow up watching the show or playing with the toys. I have enjoyed G.I. Joe through the comics and cartoons later in life. I have no nostalgia, so when it doesn’t even come across like G.I. Joe to me, I wonder if it really does for others.
On the cover and at the back of the issue Sitterson explains why G.I. Joe is the “Crown Jewel of the Hasbro Universe.” I don’t buy the hype. I would argue that people have been less and less interested in G.I. Joe at IDW and that’s why they’ve relaunched the series more than any other title. Let’s be honest, thanks to the movies, Transformers is the “Crown Jewel” and G.I. Joe is a concept that’s looking for a way to fit in with a world consumed by realistic war video games. Do you want a laser gun that lets everyone walk away to fight another day or an MP40 and the final kill cam? It’s not that G.I. Joe’s doesn’t work anymore; it’s that it needs to pick a path and stay on it. Be over the top stupid action like the movies or be ultra-realistic like video games? Right now, it seems like an action comedy without a plot, and that doesn’t make me want to pick up the next issue.
G.I. Joe #1
Writer: Audrey Sitterson
Artist: Giannis Milonogiannis
Publisher: IDW Publishing