spreading the talent

Review: G.I. Joe #1 Marvel Treasury Edition

Review by Rick Pipito

I figured since it is Independence Day, here in the United States, what better comic would there be to review than “A real American Hero.”  Growing up with the original animated series, I loved the whole premise of the cartoon.  My problem with it was that no one ever got shot, and if they did, it wasn’t life threatening.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see people get hurt, but GI Joe should have been about real life type situations.

The comic book had done this.  Issue #1 has its flaws, but it certainly separates itself from its animated counterpart.  The issue begins with the hijacking of a train and kidnapping of one of its heavily guarded occupants.  It opens with a bang and you immediately realize how deadly The Baroness can be.  She stops at nothing to kidnap the woman on board.  Why has she done this?  The woman has inadvertantly created a doomsday device.

Let me say this.  There is a slight flaw here.  They never really emphasize what the device is or what it can do.  It was something that had my curiosity peaked, but it is easily forgotten with the whole plot setup.  The military figures out that Cobra is behind the terror attack, and enlist the help of their elite task force, G.I. Joe.  This is a “Pre-Duke” team, consisting of: General Hawk, Zap, Grand Slam, Short-Fuse, Scarlett, Steeler, Flash, Grunt, Clutch, Stalker, Breaker, Rock ‘N’ Roll, Snake Eyes, and Shooter.

While they are devising a plan to infiltrate Cobra Command island, Baroness and Cobra Commander set up a counter strike force.  When the actual invasion happens, I found another problem.  The time is constantly listed on every few frames.  This is great to have, but at the same time is a little frustrating.  Cobra seems to have the upper hand, yet all of this time goes by with Cobra commander just assuming it is all going according to plan.  He doesn’t try to escape until the very last minute, and even then it seems he wants to be stopped.

The only point where Cobra actually seemed to be winning was when the hero team arrives on the island and realizes that its civilian population has all been victims of mass murder by the terrorist group.  It was left as a distraction, and amidst all of this they believe that they are saving the hostage, when it turns out she was really the baroness in disguise.

Cobra commander exchanges his hood for his mirrored combat helmet, and ends up shooting his hostage.  Okay, like the cartoon, she was barely wounded, but it felt realistic here.  Scarlett tries to stop the enemy leader, but in the end he and the Baroness escape.  Hmmm.  How they could get out of a room full of elite military soldiers blows my mind.  Nevertheless, all of that is forgotten when the Joes barely get away themselves as the island is exploding.

Okay, so the heroes save the hostage and mission is accomplished.  Here is my overall assesment.  I realize that they touched on this in later issues, but more of a back story on the Joe team would have been nice; as well as Cobra.  It seemed too rushed for one issue.  The good part about it is that you really do get a feel for what GI Joe and Cobra are all about.

In the Treasury edition there is a bonus story in the back that involves the Joe team in the Middle East.  This doesn’t involve Cobra, which I really enjoyed because it shows that they are not just there to stop one criminal empire.  The Joes are fighting for freedom against any threat.

In the end, I give this issue a 6 out of 10.  I do believe that with a team of characters it is entirely too difficult to fit everything into one issue as far as background info.  With that in mind, they did a good job of establishing what they could.  For nostalgia and origin type purposes, it is an issue that you should check out in your spare time.

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