Comic review: G.I. Joe #13 (IDW)

G.I. Joe #13
IDW Publishing
Street Date: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Cover price: $3.99

Written by: Chuck Dixon
Art: Will Rosado
Colors: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letters: Neil Uyetake

Cover A: Wil Rosado, with colors by Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Cover B: Wil Rosado, with colors by Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Cover RIA: Tommy Lee Edwards
Cover RIB: Tommy Lee Edwards

G.I. Joe #13 is another setup story for what is shaping up to be a Snake Eyes-centric story arc. Snake Eyes has reassured Hard Master that his mission to rejoin the Arashikage has a higher purpose, and in this issue an event occurs that surely will aide in his motivation to destroy Cobra from the inside.

We also are re-introduced to Copperback, an interesting sidebar Cobra agent from Season One who had a decent-sized role in the MASS Device storyline; and get a look at what Dr. Mindbender is currently overseeing for Cobra. His punishment for participating in the coup attempt against Cobra Commander at the end of the Cobra Command storyline has been to be put in charge of a mining operation in South America.

This issue gets off to a rough start; the first three pages are wasted on the deaths of two characters who have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the outcome of this issue, and certainly not on any overall plot arc involving Mindbender and Scarlett. They weren’t even killed in a way that served to develop a new character named Urso, a new Cobra agent introduced by Dixon as the overseeer of the prisoners Cobra is using for labor in the mine.

In fact, introducing Urso at all seems like an odd decision when there are dozens of existing Cobra agents from the toy line who could’ve been introduced here; this character easily could’ve been somebody like Metal Head, or, at long last, Firefly. Even though Major Bludd was introduced as a prison overseeer during season one, it seems as if that well could’ve been tapped again. Having his underlings prove themselves by overseeing mining operations seems very much to be Cobra Commander’s style.

The Joes, of course, receive intel that reveals the existence of Cobra’s operation, and off Bravo Team goes to investigate. Scarlett gets to be tough and show she’s in control by leading an unsanctioned op; Mainframe gets to sneak along, jump out of an airplane and play a fun game of Blue’s Clue while he talks out loud to the reader and pretends to be a field agent. In the end, of course, nothing goes as planned for Team Bravo, and just like that we’ve got added motivation for Snake Eyes.

Coming immediately on the heels of a poor outing for Snake Eyes #12, the series seems to be stumbling out of the gates in its followup to Cobra Command. While Snake Eyes #12 existed entirely for Snake Eyes to deliver a message to Hard Master that he knew what he was doing and had a plan when he agreed to rejoin Storm Shadow and the Arashikage, this one exists entirely for Scarlett to get captured.

Will Rosado has done better. Scarlett is… chunky in her first few panels where you can see her entire torso; and not in an Eve-from-Invincible way. She’s got a normal head, but Rosado just completely blows the torso. She’s back to normal by page 18. The panel of the Viper in the Trouble Bubble on Page 3 should’ve been zoomed out a little, also; the way it’s drawn you might think it’s shooting bullets out of its lights, and zooming out would have minimized how badly the Viper’s head was drawn. The scenes of Bravo Team jumping out of the plane are nice, and the shot of Dr. Mindbender walking over the mine shaft does a nice job of giving some sense to the scale of Cobra’s operation.

It would also be interesting to know if there’s a guideline for when to use Vipers with the ’86-style helmets and when to use Vipers with the IDW-style helmets we saw throughout Season One. They’re both used here.

The A and B covers are both done by Will Rosado, and are part of a six-cover series running across all three IDW G.I. Joe books this month. The two for this issue feature solo illustrations of Duke, on the A cover, and Roadblock, on the B cover, on white with no backgrounds and a gold foil logo. Both are solid images featuring classic-looking uniforms, and the Cover B featuring Roadblock is the better of the two. The only thing that would improve it would be a significantly bigger machine gun.

Snake Eyes and Cobra will get similar treatment later this month.

Rosado has uncolored versions of both covers up on his Blogspot blog.

This month’s issue has two retailer-incentive covers; the A incentive is a very sketchy image of Scarlett drawn by Tommy Lee Edwards. The B cover is a black and white version of the A cover, but zoomed in on Scarlett’s head. The more time I spent with these, the more I liked them — particularly the full-size, colored A version.

Tommy Lee Edwards on Twitter.

The Terrordrome has a preview of G.I. Joe #13 here.

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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