Comic book review: G.I. Joe: Cobra #8

Another Tuesday, another G.I. Joe comic review for The Terrordrome. You can read the review at their site here; I’m also including it below. Read away, if you dare!

G.I. Joe: Cobra Issue #8
Writer: Mike Costa & Christos N. Gage
Artist: Sergio Carrera
Colors: Wil Glass; Letters: Neil Uyetake
Cover A: Antonio Fuso
Cover B: Ben Templesmith
Street date: Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010

Continuing the story telling element brought forward in the previous issue, G.I. Joe: Cobra #8 advances the story of Scoop’s investigation-turned-indoctrination of Serpentor’s Coil organization with a look at Cobra’s trainer, Skullbuster.

Scoop is told a tale of Skullbuster’s training methods – grueling, week-long excursions into hostile territory with no equipment (literally, no equipment; you’ll see…) in an eight men enter, one man leaves format. The sole survivor gets the job.

I wasn’t that familiar with the Skullbuster character coming into this issue beyond the figure, so I really liked getting some insight into the character out of a story in which he was basically a sidebar. I’m glad that Skullbuster got the nod here; this story could have easily been told in identical fashion using the Big Boa character, but I think it worked much better this way. Skullbuster is more interesting visually, and doesn’t have the “ridiculous Cobra” vibe that one might get from Big Boa. Skullbuster just worked.

Scoop’s role in the ongoing narrative of this story arc takes a pretty dramatic shift; he’d come to the point where The Coil’s indoctrination methods had all but succeeded, and this story may swing the pendulum back in the other direction. The shift builds an interesting bridge into Cobra #9

The Scoop story arc is going to enter its fifth issue next month; before Issue #7 I was a little disappointed that the story wasn’t going to be resolved in a nice, tight three-issue arc as I had expected. Now, I’m disappointed that it’s going to end after five issues before the series refocuses on Chuckles beginning in #10. Costa and Gage could keep this Coil thing going for awhile, and I’d be perfectly satisfied. It’s a great story arc in what continues to be the finest title in IDW’s G.I. Joe universe.

The teaser for Issue #9 shows Ben Templesmith’s Venomous Maximus, and hopefully gives us a hint of what we’ll see as this story comes to a conclusion.

ART
Sergio Carrera’s art is improved significantly over last issue; I really enjoyed the work he did in this book. His full-page scening splash on Page 5 is great — it’s a very simple panel, but I kept returning to it — and the torso shot to intro Skullbuster on Page 7 is awesome. After this issue, I’m less itchy for Antonio Fuso to return as Cobra’s regular artist; if this issue is any indication, Carrera will be just fine.

COVERS
Ben Templesmith turns in an outstanding half-body Skullbuster for Cover B; the work he’s doing on this series continues to be superb. Antonio Fuso’s Cover A is my favorite of the two, though; it’s simple and straightforward, but has a Watchmen-esque iconic feel about it; the image resonated with me right away, and even coming back to it after a couple of readings it’s still my favorite of the two covers.

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