Comic book review: “Snake Eyes #10”

Cobra Civil War: Snake Eyes #10
IDW Publishing
Street Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Cover price: $3.99

Cover A: David Wilkins
Cover B: Robert Atkins, with colors by Simon Gough
Cover RI: Tom Whalen
Written by: Chuck Dixon
Breakdowns: Alex Cal
Finishes: Beni Lobel
Colors: J. Brown
Letters: Neil Uyetake
REVIEW
Cobra Command, Part 5
Ninjas! Ninjas! Ninjas!
Chuck Dixon continues the steady buildup to an eventual confrontation between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow that has taken place in bits and pieces over the last few issues of the Cobra Command storyline, opening with a flashback to Storm Shadow’s Red Ninjas taking out a unit of United Nations peacekeepers. An overly-expository exchange between Cobra Commander and Savanne ensues, which isn’t a conversation those two would ever have if this weren’t a comic book — it focuses on the details of Cobra’s victory in Nanzhao, which the commander already knows. But the conversation is necessary to update the reader on what’s transpiring that hasn’t necessarily been seen on the page. It’s effective, but in a somewhat clunky manner.
The ninja-battle buildup gives Dixon a chance to put Storm Shadow in front of Cobra Commander; it’s the first time they’ve been together since Krake’s master plan was unveiled at the end of the Cobra Civil War — a plan that saw Krake’s agent, Zartan, kill and replace Oda Satori, Storm Shadow’s master at the time. There’s no love lost between the two, by any means; Storm Shadow is still holding a grudge, and the Commander isn’t pleased that Storm Shadow is off on his own mission and not following orders.
There’s more texting between Snake Eyes and Scarlett, which is a very clever plot mechanic to get those two to communicate with each other. This leads to a seven-page action scene with essentially no dialogue, as Helix and Snake Eyes begin to purse Storm Shadow.
A one-page interlude of Mainframe talking to Dial-Tone shows another expository piece which really offers no new information; it basically exists as a way for the final-page cliffhanger to make sense if a reader hasn’t been following along with the entire Cobra Command storyline, as Destro tips off Cobra’s next significant move in the Nanzhao campaign.
ART
Another solid outing for Alex Cal; he doesn’t use the dark facial shadows as much as he has in previous issues of Cobra Command. This is probably related to Beni Lobel handling the finishes for him in this issue. Both of the primary action scenes in the issue are well-drawn and easy to follow; he handles the superhero-type poses throughout the ninja battles quite well. They’re realism-challenged situations to begin with, but Cal still manages to make them feel grounded and real.
COVERS
Dave Wilkins’ Cover A is a closeup portrait-style picture of Storm Shadow, who doesn’t quite look right; he seems not… Asian.
Robert Atkins and Simon Gough’s Cover B… Wow. Just… wow.
Tom Whalen’s retailer incentive continues his animated-style series for this month’s No. 10 issues. This one shows a green-tinged Snake Eyes with Skyhawks used as design elements. Another very cool cover.
PREVIEW
The Terrordrome has a preview of Snake Eyes #10 here.

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