Cobra Commander is Dead. Long Live Cobra Commander!

One question : Who the hell is Cobra Commander now?

That’s the main question that surrounds the G.I.Joe relaunch from IDW Press. We’re deep in the midst of “COBRA CIVIL WAR”.  No, this isn’t a fight between Destro and the Baroness on the superhero registration act. This is a contest between the Elite of Cobra Command on who will lead the terrorist organization going forward. The rules: Whoever kills the most Joes wins!

The war is well under way with Issue #3 and the action has been swift and deadly. On a lead from Serpentor, Baroness was able to increase her body count by having her team off a Joe squad in Ecquador. Steeler, the only survivor, knows that this was a set up. But does he know that the man feeding the information is actually on the inside? Breaker’s unwittingly passing on the intel to a “friend” on the the other team. Who will be the next to fall? Will Baroness’ efforts keep her in the lead? Knowing is half the battle and all of my review. Read on.

Cobra # 3 (Written by Mike Costa, Art by Antonio Fuso)

We begin our tale with a look in on Tomax, the surviving Crimson Twin. He is in a prison cell, as he was arrested by government agents when he tried to take out General Hawk (in G.I.Joe issue #3). As he reflects on his new surroundings, he appears to be a beaten man who may be contemplating suicide. Or at least that’s what it seems. He passes the time in incarceration doing remedial chores and keeping to himself. That is until he’s summoned by the Warden, who is putting him in solitary by order of the President of the United States. It’s at this moment when we see the demeanor of Tomax change. He chips away at the toxic paint that lines the walls and digests a sliver. This gets him moved to the infirmary, where, once detoxed, he takes out a doctor, and assumes his identity. This leads to him getting to the warden’s office. Now before you say that this seems a bit far fetched and “how could he make his way through this whole prison undetected?”, he lays out his entire method of operations for the Warden. All that can be said here is that Extensive Enterprises (the company that is owned and operated by Tomax himself) has a very far grasp. Tomax is his own rescue team. He makes it out of the prison unharmed and leaves one big mess for the feds to clean up – he breaks the entire prison’s populace out of jail. Meanwhile, Steeler may have stepped in on Breaker at the wrong time, depending on your perspective, as he catches him talking on the phone to his “friend”. Shit is about to hit the fan all around!

This is by the far the strongest issue to come out of the Cobra camp. Since the Relaunch and the start of Cobra Civil War, this book has dropped from the top spot to the bottom. It underperformed in the first two issues, but the second was better than the first, so there was hope. This is the first issue that is in tune with the first series that Costa co-wrote with Christos Gage. I was beginning to think that maybe Gage was carrying the team back then, but it appears that Costa can tell a cool Cobra story when he wants to. The characterization of Tomax is amazing. It feels very much like that all the stories about this character were building towards this very issue. Tomax mans up in a major way here and is deliciously evil. With the exception of a few pages dealing with Steeler, this book is all Tomax. I believe that this is exactly what the character needed as I did not care about him either way until this issue. Bravo Mike Costa.

The books artwork finally seems right now as well. As the stories get darker, this sparse, ugly look is well suited. The cover by Fuso sets the mood perfectly.

While this book is still at the bottom, it’s not trailing the others by the distance it once was. I will say that this issue, like all the recent issues of each series, has done a good job of raising the stakes without actually killing too many Joes. We’ve got another 5 months until we crown a winner, so it’s nice to see they’re not blowing their wad too soon.

Pick up Issue #3 of Cobra today, especially if you’re fan of the Crimson Twins.

And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!