|Author: Mark Powers||Series: G.I.JOE: America's Elite|
|Rating: 8||Reviewer: Jay|
|Genre: Comic Book||Publisher:Devil's Due|
|Pages: 32||Orig Pub Date: October 2007|
|Binding: Comic Book||Illustrator: Mike Bear|
The 28th issue of G.I.JOE: America’s Elite present an interesting opportunity for this reader as the opportunity to find out if somebody can miss an issue or two and still come back on and enjoy the storyline and also to see if avoid its tendency to inch even more toward the hyper-dramatic, team-Horatio pop television story via sequential art. At the beginning of every issue there is a file-card styled report that successful catches a reader up to the pertinent gist of recent events. That aside, and to something I noted in my first dip back into G.I.JOE with this series all preconceived worries are once again put to rest. The broken record spins, but if one flips through the Powers-helmed run what becomes evident is that this creative team knows how to introduce every single issue in a manner that invites at least momentary clarity. All thoughts are brushed to the side an instead Is it a Eel? Is it a Plague Trooper? Who is snuffin’ people from behind on nuclear submarines? The fun is not diminished even when you’re wrong. Powers is able to instill this due to credibility established in previous issues, surprising old and new fans alike with utilizing players never used before in a singular vision.
In many ways this creates an atmosphere that was similar to Valiant’s line in the early 90’s when any panel or any page could bring you to the next major player and I this case, with an established identity with deep roots in a generation, it is a reintroduction of one’s own memories to current continuity. It’s a balance between gimmick and craft but for now the title is given the benefit of the doubt as in this issue there are more old comrades introduced that make you tilt your Vodka, giving the devil his due in a page that needs to find a way on my wall.
This issue is the continuation of yet another event in the comic industry, part 4 of the 12 part World War III storyline continues and what seems to be a focus on Duke. To see what was for at least part of the time the character that was the figurehead of G.I.JOE delved into, to meet the father of the man, and to meet Connie is a part of the morphing of Joe from toy and cartoon line adaptation to comic book individuality. In truth these are the moments that make some otherwise bearable popcorn television shows into cringe-fests (Lana shut up, Bone’s quit talking about his son, H, I don’t care about your brother) but are the quiet moments needed on paper in the midst of a World War. Something tells me that perhaps there have been too many in the two issues I have missed - as its seems WWIII started just here in this issue but in this single issue it works.
The art that I have remarked that has grown on me and was at first questionable is now remarkably atmospheric. When you get your issue Put your hand over “Dawn” on the first page and tell me if you actually need it. Backdrops have a vibrant, poor man’s Guarnidoesque feel, it’s a vivid picture but as if viewed through a fog. Dark alleys, doctor offices, clandestine meetings in the middle east, a special operations war room - all carry the intensity and dangers one would associate with them.
My favorite part of the issue may have been instances of dialogue. Kicking down doors, ‘Wassup Snakes!’ - as strange as it sounds it maintained a real non-comedic, intense quality while also living as a source of a smile as I could almost hear the M60 totting cartoon character taking back his family’s Red Rocket restaurant. These are self-made moments to some extent by a reader but even the “Don’t you ever shut up” leveled at Falcon takes me back to the animated movie (a good and bad memory). No, this isn’t exactly your childhood’s G.I.JOE - and thankfully it isn’t your child’s G.I.JOE - but it continues to be more than a best of worlds through various incarnations and medium - it has become its own world, a crisis that found its way. There are pacing issues throughout the run, instances where you feel that the storyline is either rushed or prolonged in each issue but I attribute this with a smaller company always trying to maintain a schedule in terms of the story and issue numbers (the events are really not events they are more pre-announced mega-arcs) but these are stumbles not crashes.
A licensed out political intrigue, spy, war, and cloak and dagger book, America’s Elite may be targeting a specific audience groomed by the brand name, but is worthy of even more readership. G.I.JOE has the catch phrase and now you know attached to it, this series would be best suited with you better ask somebody.