Comic book review

I have posted a review of “G.I. Joe #22” over at The Terrordrome; check it out there if you’re so inclined, or read the review in its entirety right here. Thanks again to the guys at The Terrordrome for giving me the opportunity to do these.

G.I. Joe Issue #22
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Alex Cal
Andrew Crossley (colors)
Cover A: Charles Paul Wilson III
Cover B: Robert Atkins & Clayton Brown, with colors by Andrew Crossley

Street date: Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010

G.I. Joe #22 wraps up a three-issue story arc that revolved around the Joe team’s attempts to extract data from a Cobra mainframe on Manatua island. There are no surprises here; the mission to the island apparently was marginally successful after all, the Terrapin survived the tsunami and the Cobras decide they want their submarine back.

This issue, like the previous one, focuses on the battle for the Cobra Dreadnaught submarine. The fighting was inside in Issue #21 as the Joes staged their boarding raid of the ship, and in this issue it’s primarily an outdoor battle as the Joes attempt to thwart Cobra’s efforts to recapture the vessel.

Baroness and Destro finally reappear after lengthy absences; we haven’t seen either since Issue #19. Destro’s reappearance is going to lead us to a massive flashback at some point, particularly given his new position in Cobra we are to infer he has been granted by the last-page cliffhanger. We will need to find out how he got where he is now from the arctic prison on Section 10, when we last saw him four issues ago.

Storm Shadow’s finally coming in the next issue – so, yay, I guess. Dixon’s got his work cut out for him to introduce Storm Shadow in a meaningful way after the way this series has unfolded over the last two years.

I don’t know; I just am not feeling this book any more to the point that this review was flat-out difficult to write. I just couldn’t figure out what to say. This series seemed like it had the potential to get turned around and head in a positive direction a few issues ago, but this Manatua Island storyline has just derailed it again. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to continue to find reasons to cut this series some slack and continually remind myself “there must be a plan to all of this… there must be a plan to all of this…” while the other series in IDW’s GI Joe universe continue to either steadily improve or cement their long-held positions as vastly superior books. Right now, “Hearts and Minds” and “Cobra” are so far out in front of the ongoing series that it hardly seems like a race any more.

I still cling to the hope that this thing is going to turn around, but those hopes fade by the issue. I’ll stick with it because, hey, it’s a G.I. Joe comic and I’m really getting into Alex Cal’s artwork. But that may not carry me much further.

ART
Alex Cal’s art continues to be the best thing going with this ongoing series right now. He’s turned in some really wonderful issue-opening splash pages, and this one featuring Scarlett saving a sinking Mainframe is no different. He really put a lot of effort into the weapons in this issue, too – the miniguns and everything surrounding the outdoor submarine fight look great. The Cobra helicopter is a little boring, though.

Cobra’s Big Three of Baroness, Destro and Cobra Commander all get some significant (or, at least very notable) panel time in this book; Cal’s Cobra Commander continues to impress, and Baroness hasn’t looked better in this book for a long, long time. He’s really got those two characters nailed, I think. Destro shows up as the issue’s cliffhanger final-page splash, and he looks good as well – although I desperately hope that’s not going to be his go-to everyday uniform in this series now.

COVERS
Charles Paul Wilson nailed last month’s “A” cover, with his portrait of Vicuna, and this month’s is pretty solid as well. It’s very stylish and fun.

Atkin’s cover is great as always, as well, but as is becoming a pattern with his covers it’s a reminder of what we’re not getting in the body of the book. EELs on the cover, boring red-suited Cobra divers inside. It makes the boring red divers really hard to get into.

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