“World War III: Part 2 of 12”
Writer: Mark Powers
Artist: Mike Bear
Publisher: Devil’s Due Publishing
After months of waiting and searching, I finally came across the G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary 5-packs. I picked up the single packs about two weeks ago, but from the looks of the G.I. Joe sections at my local toy stores, it is safe to say that G.I. Joe is in the process of making a comeback. I’ve said it for months, right now is the best time to be a G.I. Joe fan as the 25th Anniversary celebration has officially begun and Devil’s Due Publishing’s “big event” is fully underway in their flagship title, G.I. Joe: America’s Elite. There’s a simple beauty in the “Devil’s Due Publishing Event,” a 12 part saga that will span a year in G.I. Joe: America’s Elite. No tie-ins, no crossovers, no front lines, no countdowns, just the big event. That’s something you don’t see often anymore.
While many big events these days take roughly 6-8 months to run their course, the set-up for said events can be anywhere between a two years to one month. Devil’s Due has an interesting situation. There is one regular G.I. Joe title, a title that in my opinion has not gotten the mainstream recognition that it should. Since re-launching the series as “America’s Elite,” Devil’s Due has been building towards the return of Cobra following their demise in Devil’s Due’s first run. Check out my past reviews of G.I. Joe to get up to speed, but in a nutshell, Cobra Commander has become the most powerful man in the world while G.I. Joe is out hunting former Cobra agents.
This issue focuses mainly on the relationship between Snake Eyes and the Cobra Mercenary, Firefly. It helps to know a bit about the history between the two characters and what has happened to Snake Eyes over the course of America’s Elite to keep from getting lost. Writer Mark Powers does his best to cover the history between the characters while also trying to maintain the momentum and the action that began last issue. Don’t ask me to try and explain what happened to Snake Eyes in his transition from Ninja-mode to Commando-mode, but if you get the 5 pack Snake Eyes Action Figure and the Single Pack Snake Eyes Action Figure, please know there is a difference.
Regardless of what kind of psychological pain Snake Eyes is dealing with, G.I. Joe is always a great read when ninjas are involved. This issue not only presents Firefly and Snake Eyes, it also has a whole lot of ninjas for Snake Eyes and Scarlett to battle. But the one thing that really appealed to me was the dialogue and rhetoric Firefly was spitting out as he battles Snake Eyes. Firefly is a ruthless fighter, a cold-hearted individual who kills for money but remains loyal to Cobra. He tries to inflict even more psychological damage on Snake Eyes, and it works long enough to distract him. The fight sequence between Snake Eyes and Firefly is one of the highlights of this issue, and it played out like a great action movie with limited martial arts and a lot more brute force. I won’t spoil the end of the fight because it’s really a great one to read, but keep in mind that Snake Eye’s other half, Scarlett, is with him. The end of the fight also proves that Devil’s Due is taking off the kid’s gloves with this story-arc which could easily be rated “R."
There are other things covered in this issue such as the location of the prison for Cobra agents, the relationship between Shipwreck and Cover Girl and a touching moment between Snake Eyes and Scarlett’s father. Powers has to play up the personal relationships of the G.I. Joe members because Cobra Commander knows everything about all of them which will no doubt unfold as this arc progresses. There is one brief scene that must be mentioned. It only takes up one page but the scene alone would get five silver bullets. Now that Destro and the Baroness have left the G.I. Joe/Cobra war to raise their child, Cobra Commander moves in on Destro’s illegitimate son and heir to the Destro throne, Alexander. It’s a simple scene really; Cobra Commander wants to recruit the younger Destro to be his right-hand man. The reverence of this scene comes when the Commander pulls off his mask to look at Alexander face to face. To me, there was just a higher level of realism and believability brought to this title through that scene.
The artwork on this issue is amazing. Since beginning his work on G.I. Joe, Mike Bear’s style has improved and evolved and fits the tone of this storyline extremely well. For a young guy, he’s got a bright future, one that should involve the “big two,” but I really wouldn’t mind seeing him stay on G.I. Joe for a long time. There’s not much more to say besides Bear’s unique style and talent bring a higher level of quality and excitement to this story-arc.
My only qualm with this issue is that we are now in part 2 of the “World War III” storyline. I may just be a nit-picker because I’ve gotten so used to “big events” starting and getting right into the meat of the situation, but there seems like there is still a great deal of set-up left for this story-arc, and I hope that Devil’s Due comes up with something like Cobra taking over all of the world except for America rather than having G.I. Joe flat-out prevail in the end. No doubt there will be a body count, and the ultimate question remains: who is Agent Delta, the man who seems to be the source behind the war?
Overall, a good issue that continues to roll the ball into the G.I. Joe “big event.” If you aren’t reading this series, give this storyline a try. If you were ever a G.I. Joe fan, go to Target, find the 25th Anniversary Action Figures, go to the comic shop pick up the most recent two issues of G.I. Joe, if you haven’t already, and remember what it was like back in the 80s. Yo Joe!
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