Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Booknote: G.I. Joe: The Cobra Files, Vol. 1

Mike Costa, G.I. Joe: The Cobra Files, Vol. 1. San Diego, CA: IDW, 2013. ISBN: 9781613777312. 

To be honest, this story was a bit rushed and offered minimal context. Part of the problem, for the casual reader, is that there are layers upon layers and what I can only call a bit of organizational inbreeding between G.I. Joe and Cobra. Chameleon is a former Cobra spy who has defected to the Joes. That seems fine. However, the plot with Clockspring and Tomax is not as clear unless you have been reading every single issue of the latest runs of G.I. Joe. I take it that Tomax (one of the twins who works, or rather worked I guess, for Cobra) came to the Joes at some point (or was taken), but he is running a game of his own. Is Clockspring acting as a double-agent? Such questions are not really clear since the comic does not even offer a "so far in the story" kind of note to help us catch up. Then the Joes are split with Duke leading and Flint in charge of a smaller team that seems to be taking a few rogue risks. At times, one is not sure where one layer ends and the other begins, which does not make it easy to keep track of the story at times. So, if you have not been following the newer incarnations of G.I. Joe, this comic may not be the place to start or catch up.

The main plot of capturing the mercenary tiger team seemed ok, but even that was a little convoluted. I thought the Joes took a hell of a gamble for a very small payoff. The action sequence was alright once we got to the action; there is also a lot of behind the scenes talking, which one would think would add exposition, but it does not do much for readers. In large measure, what saves this volume for me from "it's just ok" to liking it was the art. In particular, there is a very nice gallery at the end of this volume.

Overall, I like G.I. Joe enough that I might consider seeking out the next volume in the series. But there lies the rub: this is for the more hardcore fans. If you have kept up, you will probably be o.k. If you pick up issues now and then, this will feel a bit convoluted, rushed, and a bit too complex. It may make you wonder if you really want to get prior issues to catch up or not.

I am giving it a 3 out of 5 stars, and with some reservations.

Disclosure note: Once again, I get to tell you I read this as an e-book via NetGalley provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. There, that should keep The Man happy

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