Comic book preview: Cobra #12

Cobra #12 (Cobra Command)
IDW Publishing
Street Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Cover price: $3.99

Cover A: Antonio Fuso, with colors by Arianna Florien
Cover B: David Williams, with colors by Kelsey Shannon
Cover RI: Antonio Fuso (uncolored Cover A)
Written by: Mike Costa
Art: Antonio Fuso
Colors: Arianna Florian
Letters: Neil Uyetake
This is Cobra at its absolute best. This is Mike Costa telling a story about two men connected forever by a mission, and how the ultimate success of that mission ended up affecting them both for the rest of their lives — one life far shorter than the other.
Chuckles died in the 13th and final issue of Cobra II, way back in early 2011. Fourteen months he’s been dead and gone, and somehow Costa manages to make this entire issue about him, about his story, about how he came to be, and how he came to pass. This is, essentially, a sitcom clip show that serves to wrap up the events of the entire first two Cobra series in a one-issue package.  But it’s done so in a way that fully develops Chuckles as a character, and also in a way that brings a lot of life to Gen. Hawk (depending on how you’d like to define “life”).
It’s difficult to adequately describe how much fun it is to read a self-contained comic book like this, and when it’s over after 22 pages come to the realization that Mike Costa just told an engrossing story that revolves around Hawk cleaning out his desk. There’s more to it than that, obviously; we get a look into Chuckles’ mindset as he was completing his mission, we learn about the type of leader — and the type of person — Hawk has to be in order to command a team like the Joes. It’s fascinating, on all fronts.
With Cobra 12, Mike Costa turns out the lights on the G.I. Joe team as it has been established so far in IDW’s universe. It also serves as a brilliant conclusion to the Cobra Command storyline, which has been without question the finest story arc in this iteration of G.I. Joe. From here the series should take us into the understaffed, underfunded version of the team — IDW’s version of “Renegades,” basically — that was announced in G.I. Joe 12.
ART
Cobra 12 is Antonio Fuso as we’ve seen him so far throughout his entire run on Cobra, for the most part. The one brilliant exception is the two-thirds height double-wide spread on pages 17-18, “There’s going to be a lot more violence.” It’s simple enough in principle – a collage of the key players from the Cobra Command storyline to sell the notion that, despite Chuckles’ assassination of Cobra Commander, the war was just beginning. But the composition is beautiful; this is probably the coolest single image Fuso has done in Cobra so far — any issue. This really deserved to be a full two-page spread.
PREVIEW
The Terrordrome has a preview of Cobra #12 here.

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