Comic Review: “Cobra Civil War: Snake Eyes” #6

Cobra Civil War: Snake Eyes #6
IDW Publishing
Street Date: Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011
Cover price: $3.99

Cover A: Robert Atkins, with colors by Simon Gough
Cover B: Agustin Padilla, with colors by Simon Gough
Cover RI: Robert Atkins, with colors by Mark Roberts

Written by: Chuck Dixon
Pencils: Casey Maloney
Inks: Juan Castro
Colors: Simon Gough and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letters: Neil Uyetake

Snake Eyes #6 focuses entirely Vargas’ Kariba retro-virus, and primarily on the mission by Duke and Snake Eyes to track down Vargas and find a cure. A four-page prologue shows another example of how deadly the virus can be, but the bulk of this issue is the battle surrounding Duke and Snake Eyes’ infiltration of Vargas’ base in Italy.

Rightly guessing Vargas would likely not just willingly give up the antidote, Duke decides to give Vargas a compelling reason to give it to him.

The cliffhanger for this issue features a character we haven’t seen in comic-book form since G.I. Joe #19, from January 1984, sporting an interesting new look.

Snake Eyes #6 is an action packed issue, but doesn’t do much beyond move Vargas from point A to point B and get Duke a step or two closer to a cure for the retro-virus. The cliffhanger is where things get interesting with this issue; Snake Eyes’ relationship to this new player in Marvel’s series is one still talked about today, despite the fact that it spanned less than 20 issues of the classic series and the character hasn’t been seen in G.I. Joe media in some 18 and a half years. Hopefully this reappearance is the start of a meaningful role for this character in IDW’s universe.

Casey Maloney takes over penciling duties, giving Snake Eyes its third different penciller in as many issues. He has done work for IDW in the past, including 2009’s four-issue “Rise of Cobra” movie adaptation mini-series.

Some things are awesome – upside-down airborne Snake Eyes on page 6. Some things are strange – Page 7 shows a posed Snake Eyes with some guys falling down behind him, and we can guess what happened to them. But the panel feels like an ’80s ninja movie pose, where people are dying everywhere but there isn’t really a clear indication why or how. It’s just a “good guy enters, bad guys die” scenario. And some things are just plain bad – the first panel on page 17 is newspaper comic-strip stuff.

Two things that were great to see — appearances by an honest-to-goodness helmet-and-bandana-mask Cobra Officer, and Vipers with the action figure’s helmet.

In general, though, this is a tough issue to look at, and it gives a whole new level of appreciation for the work Robert Atkins did on the first four issues.

Typical trio of covers for this issue; Robert Atkins on Cover A and Agustin Padilla on Cover B, with Atkins providing the retailer incentive – another of IDW’s tribute covers.

Not much to say about the covers that hasn’t been a repeat of this group’s work on previous months’ covers. Atkins’ Cover A is surprisingly probably the least interesting of the three; it’s a straight-forward shot of Snake Eyes diving toward the camera; the textures that colorist Simon Gough adds to the background are the most interesting thing about it. Padilla’s Cover B is awesome; it’s dirtier, darker and more detailed than the A cover. For the first time in a few months, the B cover is just a nice posed shot of Snake Eyes rather than an alternate view of some event from inside the issue.

Atkin’s retailer-incentive cover is another tribute to “Crisis on Infinite Earths” #5 / “Uncanny X-Men” #136, continuing the theme started on G.I. Joe #6. Rather than a straight homage, Atkins changes things up a bit here and comes up with a significantly different image. He’s got a lengthy look at the process for this cover up at his Blogspot blog.

G.I. Joe: 0 (Total: 35)
Cobra: 11 (3 CCTV-room operators in Vargas’ base; 8 randoms killed by Lighthorse via helicopter) (Total: 87)

No Joes killed; Satori and Baroness tied for body-count lead with 11.

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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2 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    Hey, Andy – Glad to see you back in action! I read that two-fer review you did and loved it.

    I’m not sure how I felt about this issue, honestly. I agree that stylistically, the artwork didn’t seem to match the mood; it’s fine illustration, but it’s got a simpler look to it than I prefer. Simple is good sometimes – I just don’t think it fit the mood of this particular title. I’d love to see if Casey Maloney has done any picture books, however – I can easily see his clean, crisp lines working very well in that medium.

    Okay, I’ve been spoiled by Robert Atkins. Meh. 🙂

    Plotwise… not a lot of forward movement here. I’m wondering if there’s going to be another shoe dropping soon – that lead-in with the UN troops made me remember that this is an airborne virus, which means that when Duke opened his mask – and the vaporlock breaking was a nice visual touch – well, he’s likely just infected Snake Eyes, too.

    I think the whole Scarlett/Doc thing, as you noted in your review of Joe #6, isn’t strictly necessary – and there’s something VERY off in it, continuitywise. Doc knew 30 minutes after Duke and Snakes left that he’d just made a potentially lethal mistake in letting someone off-site who’s a confirmed carrier of a virus with endgame symptoms they didn’t know about. In Joe #6, Doc’s conversation with Scarlett doesn’t seem to reflect his sudden realization in SE #5 – “What have I done?”

    In SE #6, I don’t think either he or Scarlett seem to grasp the enormity of what the potential fallout is… which is off-character for both of them. Doc should realize that someone in a paranoid delusional state or exhibiting brain-trauma madness will be highly unlikely to stay in his nice, tight, constricting hazmat suit. Scarlett is smart enough to realize that while Snake Eyes clearly COULD take Duke down, even in that condition, the chances of him being infected in the process are high – and if Duke goes over the edge, Vargas is likely to take the opportunity to skedaddle.

    The only bright point for me? No sign of the everpresent Helix. Thank God for small favors… I was beginning to think we’d never see a Snake Eyes issue without her again, which depressed me considerably. Looking forward to the next two issues – and I’ve gotten a glimpse at some incredible retro-inspired covers on deviantart, so I’m anticipating 2012 already!

    Toodles, mister – congrats on your upward movement at work!


  2. I was so far behind on my Snake Eyes review; I should’ve had it done far sooner, mid-week last week in time with the issue, but I just didn’t get it done… I feel bad that it was so late; I hopefully remedied that with this week’s Cobra review.

    I don’t think there’s going to be much more done with the virus; we already know that the Civil War is only six more issues across the three books, because the No. 9 issues for all three titles are the first three parts of the “Cobra Command” crossover – Alex Cal even posted his three covers on his blog (they’re freakin’ awesome, too). I think now, especially with Kwinn’s surprise appearance, we’re going to focus on the hunt for the antidote. I don’t see Snake Eyes being infected at this point.

    I couldn’t find much of Casey Maloney’s page work online – just a preview page or two from the “Rise of Cobra” adaptation, but the stuff I saw was much better than what showed up in this issue. The thing about art in comic books, it’s so difficult to tell where things might be going wrong without seeing all three steps in the process – pencils/inks/colors. This has been hammered home with me seeing the work that artist Tess Fowler has been doing on Zenescope’s “Charmed” series. If you look at her pencils and inks, they’re fantastic – see this page from Charmed 10 – she captures the three main characters, and you can tell that it’s Rose McGowan, Alyssa Milano and Holly Marie Combs. And that’s *really* difficult. But if you look at the final published art in that book, it’s horrendous; whoever does the colors absolutely butchers her work. So you see the awful final product and you immediately think “Man, Tess Fowler sucks” — which could not be further from the truth.

    Long story short, I wish there was some way to see what Casey Maloney’s pencils looked like for this issue. He doesn’t have any GI Joe work on his Facebook page, so there’s no way to know right now. But, from the work Simon Gough did with Robert Atkins’ work earlier in this series, and what I’ve seen of Gough’s other work, I’m relatively certain that me really not enjoying the art in this book isn’t on the colorist… And I’m not just saying that because I know Simon reads this blog. 🙂

    But, I do *completely* agree with your “being spoiled by Robert Atkins” point. He’s put every ounce of his talent to work on his issues in this book, and it shows.

    The lack of Helix in the mission to find the antidote actually makes no sense at all; the entirety of Helix’s existence in this main series has revolved around “Snake Eyes always taking her” on missions. But now, big mission to save Duke, and he was with her when the mission was started, and he didn’t take her with him? That doesn’t make any sense.

    Thanks for the comments on the job, as well. 🙂 I’ve been ridiculously busy the last eight work days, but it’s also been ridiculously fun. Really appreciate the kind thoughts.

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