WRITER: Paul Allor
ARTIST(S): Chris Evenhuis, Brittany Peer

Like many of my fellow 1980’s kids, our young and impressionable minds were saturated with a variety of creative (and marketable) cartoons and toys. And none, more than any other toy/cartoon, emphasized the Reaganomics era than G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero! Although it began as a 12-inch action figure in the 1960s, the revitalization of the product in the 1980’s instilled a new generation of young Americans with a strong sense of patriotism, not to mention marketing opportunities. Along with the popular toy-line and 1983 cartoon series, G.I. Joe also featured prominently in Marvel Comics from 1982 to 1994, which was written for most of its original 155-issue run by Larry Hama.

Years after its cancellation, IDW Publishing revived “G.I. Joe” as an ongoing series in 2010, continuing from where the 1990s left off and with Larry Hama at the helm which still continues today. Although there have been many other titles and spinoffs, including a limited series written by Max Brooks (“The Zombie Survival Guide”), the comics even killed off fan-favorite Snake Eyes and replaced him with a new female character causing controversy. Now, this year IDW has released a new vision of G.I. Joe for a new generation, with the simply titled “G.I. Joe”, written by Paul Allor (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) and art by Chris Evenhuis (“Wynonna Earp”) however in this series, many things have changed.

“Cobra has spread its influence across the globe, resulting in widespread war. This war has left few places untouched, including the interior of the United States of America. The forces aligned against Cobra struggle to contain its spread and things look increasingly dire…”

In this world, the terrorist organization Cobra has taken over the U.S. and have branded the G.I. Joe team as wanted criminals, but the war to take over the world is not yet over. In Cobra-Occupied Chicago, Major Blood (sans eye-patch) and his forces apprehend Duke while a seemingly-ordinary delivery boy (later named Rithy “Tiger” Khay) picks up a thumb drive he discarded. Later Scarlett tracks him down and reveals that the drive contains schematics of a secret Cobra facility and tells him to forget anything happened. But the young gay man is not dissuaded and he later intervenes as a few Joe’s, including Roadblock (and someone who looks like Flint, but is called Frontier) try to infiltrate the facility and soon finds himself involved in the “resistance” fighting against Cobra.

On first seeing the regular cover art by Chris Evenhuis, I couldn’t help but notice that the main character on the cover bears a striking resemblance to Kaneda from “Akira” clad in a red jacket, but instead of a futuristic motorcycle, he rides a red Vespa-like scooter. The art itself is of a simplistic style but with heavy non-photo-realistic cell shading. The story itself drops the reader right in the middle of Cobra-occupied territory where life seems pretty much the same, except for a NAZI-like devotion by ordinary citizens as they randomly spout “For COBRA!” with their right-angle arm and fist in the air and a few “inconveniences” like routine checkpoints and contraband smuggling.

The subject matter of Cobra finally achieving its goal of taking over the world, at least the U.S. for starters, presents a somewhat disturbing vision of a possible scenario that only those who knew occupied lands during and after World War II would know. Although we as American’s relish in the thought that our country has never had to deal with occupation since the Revolutionary War, this plot is an intriguing, yet disconcerting situation.

This new monthly series represents a new collaboration between Hasbro, IDW, and of course Marvel Comics, who originally published the G.I. Joe comic and has been releasing a number of Marvel Action Team-Up books with Spider-Man under the IDW moniker. For fans of the 80s G.I. Joe comics like me and of the current regular monthly series, this is an interesting alternate vision of the not-so-distant future. No doubt, new readers will get a fresh-start in the story without having to know much about the classic Joes, except for maybe the recent movies. It will be exciting to see how far this series goes into the chaos of Cobra’s new world order and what lies ahead for the now fugitive Joes. “YO JOE!”

Also Read: “Yo, Joe: How a 12-Inch Soldier Doll Became a Toy Legend”

Written by Dave “Chernabog” Whiteman, a Native Texan, Metalhead🤘, Writer, Star Woid, Funatic, and all-around Fanboy/Nerd/Geek! 👓


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