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G.I. Joe Americaís Elite #23

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2007
By: Kevin Powers



ďSins of the Mother: Part ThreeĒ

Writer: Mark Powers
Artists: Mike Bear (p), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (colors)

Publisher: Devilís Due Publishing


Check out my past reviews of G.I. Joe for the low-down on this fantastic series and storyline.

Those of you who know me or read my reviews know that Hal Jordan is my favorite comic book character. But there is a character right behind him that I would consider my next favorite comic book character. Sure, this character and Captain America share that spot in my mind right next to Hal Jordan, but itís not exactly who most people would think. Growing up, as a child of the mid-1980s, I also liked this character, but I never really knew the comic book incarnation of him until I was older; the cartoon version of this character though was my favorite. Iím talking about Chief Warrant Officer Dashiell Fairborne, a.k.a. Flint. Flint, the second - arguably third in command of G.I. Joe has had a rough couple of years during Devilís Due Publishingís run with the property. With a major event coming in the pages of G.I. Joe it only makes sense to bring back the man many always favored above Duke, a man who has been off the duty roster since earlier in the series.

For those who donít know, Flint and Lady Jaye were finally married during Devilís Dueís last volume of G.I. Joe. In the final story arc, a mysterious group known as the Red Shadows appeared to destroy both G.I. Joe and Cobra. In the process, Lady Jaye was murdered by one of the Red Shadows, Dela Eden, while protecting her husband. Flint went from the cocky, well-spoken Rhodes Scholar to a brash, impulsive, violent and dark individual. Many Joe fans now refer to him as ďPunisherĒ Flint, but it has only made me love his character even more.

But the current story-arc has focused on the rampaging Baroness who is on the hunt for Cobra Commander who has her son. In the last issue, former Joe writer Brandon Jerwaís trademark character Wraith met his demise at the hands of the Baroness. Now in possession of the very powerful stealth armor, the Baroness seeks out Wilder Vaughn, the leader of the Red Shadows. But hot on Vaughnís trail is Flint, who has quite a history with the Baroness, and much to his surprise, he finds himself thrown back into active G.I. Joe duty when the Baroness reappears. Flintís met with a dilemma: follow the Baroness or stay on Vaughnís trail who will lead him to Dela Eden. The Baroness has found Vaughn because he knows where Cobra Commander is located, and the Baroness uses the Wraith suit in exchange for that location, assuring Vaughn that she only wants what he does, the destruction of G.I. Joe and Cobra. This is an interesting turn because the Baronessí motivations for wanting this are clear: she hates G.I. Joe and Cobra betrayed her, but will she join the Red Shadows?

The seeds for G.I. Joeís mega event are planted; Cobra is almost back at operational strength, the Red Shadows have resurfaced and Flint is back. Thereís also a great action sequence where Duke and Stalker launch a raid on the oil field that Major Bludd and Colonel Sharif attacked and they apprehend the two men in the process trying to find the Baroness. But the assault team is too late, and Sharif informs them that their benefactor has already set their plans in motion. The belief is that their benefactor is the Baroness, but there has to be something deeper at play. Cobra Commander has to be pulling the strings and using everyone he can to his advantage. This will no doubt unfold as this arc comes to a conclusion and "World War III" begins.

The Baroness is making her way by airplane to Cobra Commanderís location when Flint makes his move and letís the Baroness know heís on to her. Some may question why Flint went after the Baroness rather than Vaughn, but the answer is simple: Flint is and has always been a G.I. Joe first, and he canít let the Baroness go. He calls the Joe team for back-up, and they are en route to support him. Flint and the Baroness also have a history: they were P.O.Ws together, and there was definite sexual attraction which may also be a reason why Flint would go after her.

One of the coolest commando scenes of this issue comes when Spirit and Snake Eyes infiltrate Destroís headquarters, Castle Destro. The way Snake Eyes and Spirit seem to magically appear is pretty wild, and it is definitely one of those cinematic moments that would make anyone jump in his seat. Armada, the girlfriend of Alex, Destro's son, discloses the location of Cobra Commander to Snake Eyes and Spirit. Only afterwards does she reveal the reasons behind her actions. Letís just say that "World War III" will be a doozy.

While Iím a little annoyed Flint got his butt handed to him by the Baroness at thirty-thousand feet, I can buy it. Flint was taken off-guard, and the Baroness is more determined in her mission than he is. While this is the last we see of Flint in this issue, enough questions are raised to lead into next issue. The first, of course, being how is Flint going to escape? Are the Joes going to rescue him? It will be interesting to see what happens as the end of this issue the Baroness finally finds Cobra Commander only to be stopped by her husband and babyís daddy, Destro. If thereís one thing about the odd relationship of these three, it is that Cobra Commander is always pulling their strings. Cobra Commander is probably one of the most brilliant villains in comics, especially during the Americaís Elite run. Heís manipulative, calculating and much more ruthless than ever.

Iíve been raving about Mike Bearís artwork on this title since he took over. Itís still fantastic, keeping the dark tone of this story-arc. I recently discovered that he is only 22 years old, and I just want to commend him for doing a great job capturing the feeling and emotions of this story. Looking back at his past two issues, his art is definitely improving, and if the "World War III" storyline has a bit of an edge and dark tone to it, which I imagine it will, then Bear is a great choice for art duties.

G.I. Joe remains, in my book, one of the best comics on the market and one of the top five books I really want to be a part of. There are many characters to like and explore and it has definitely matured since the Marvel and cartoon days. Iím also happy to see my favorite G.I. Joe and one of my favorite comic characters, Flint, return. This issue does a great job not only furthering the current arc, but it plants the seeds for the coming "World War III" and definitely has a fantastic twist at the end. It also brings up enough questions and plot points that are really enough to keep readers coming back. Like Iíve said, this series is amazing. Itís also G.I. Joe vs. Cobraís 25th Anniversary, so there's no better time to jump on the old G.I. Joe bandwagon. Seriously, go out and start reading G.I. Joe if you donít already. The back issues are starting to sell out both in stores and at Diamond. This is my other Pick of the Week.



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