Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artists: Eddy Barrows w/ Renalto Arlem & Moises Damassceno (p), Jack Jadson w/ Wellington Dias & Andrew Pepoy (i), Lynx Studios & Transparency Digital (c)
Publisher: Devilís Due
A nameless faceless American, betrayed by his family, country and ideals gathers the resources to strike on multiple fronts at the system he blames for his life failures.
Cobra and G.I. Joe have largely been without a definitive origin since the cartoon aired and the comic was first published by Marvel Comics almost 22 years ago. Devilís Due is publishing G.I.Joe: Cobra Reborn and its companion piece G.I.Joe: Reborn, solicited to arrive in February, with the objective of giving the characters a background and motivation deeper than selling four-inch action figures. The themes explored in the two one-shots are the staging grounds of the new on-going G.I.Joe: Reloaded which has been described by the seriesí author John Ney Rieber as being a more intense and realistic series.
Paul Jenkinsí script for this one-shot reminds me of the movie Fight Club. Cobra Commander is a disaffected and betrayed man who believes his cause to be one of fighting for the average man against the monolith of a government which no longer serves the people. Itís easy to empathize with his motivations for changing the world; on the other hand his terroristic techniques are odious and to be deplored, but if I was in the world domination business; assassination, blowing up bridges and stealing biological weapons from the government seems like a good place to start.
The 1980ís cartoon version of Cobra Commander, depicted as a screechy coward, always annoyed and bewildered me. I could never resolve in my mind how a person so obtuse could possibly be charismatic enough to lead an army of fanatical terrorists based upon a cult of personality. G.I.Joe: Cobra Reborn updates Cobra Commander as a decorated veteran and small businessman whose life fell apart despite his best efforts. He is now a driven and competent leader who commands the respect of his soldiers and mercenaries. He recruits his agents on many fronts. Some are within the United States Government holding public office as congressmen and senators, some are the disaffected of society recruited as soldiers willing to fight for a cause and some are well-trained mercenaries willing to fight for a hefty paycheck and the opportunity of world domination.
My only complaint on this issue is the interior art. Given the large cast of artists on this title itís hard to know where to place the blame, perhaps it would be best to blame editorial, but regardless of placing blame the art is uneven and lacks style. In some cases the characters are stiff to the point of being fancy stick figures. In other cases the narration is hard to follow. At first I thought that my copy may have had some of the pages printed out of order, but Iím sure it was just bad panel composition. All those complaints aside the wrap-around cover by Tim Bradstreet is spectacular as always.
G.I.Joe: Cobra Reborn is a double sized one-shot and carries the double-sized price tag of $4.95. If you are a fan of G.I. Joe and its universe of characters I would recommend giving this comic a look just to see the origin of Cobra Commander and his cast of cronies.
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