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 4th issue of G.I.Joe has hit the stands and with it has come the fallout of the Pit’s destruction. But the Pit wasn’t the only casualty. Along with it, Brainstorm, one of the Joes who in charge of keeping the Pit operational, has suffered a terrible death. With no main base of operations, there are a dozen Joe units out in the field without backup from HQ. The Joes are flying blind. What other tragedies will befall them as Cobra lays on the pressure? Knowing is half the battle and all of my review. Read on.

G.I.Joe #4 (Written by Chuck Dixon, Art by Javier Saltares)

Our story begins with a unit lead by Duke and made up of Roadblock and Beachhead responding to a hot zone in Kariba, Zimbabwe, that is believed to have had some Cobra activity. The team comes under fire and Duke decides to go in for a closer look. When he breaches the building that’s been firing on them, he finds out that they were just warning shots to keep them away. The entire building has been quarantined due to an airborne infection that was released into the populous by a pharmaceutical company backed by Cobra. Duke’s now infected and has to be evac-ed out by a hazmat team to control and treat the virus. Meanwhile, General Hawk and Dialtone have finally made it out of Washington and rendezvous with the bulk of the Joe Team on The Tuna – A mobile naval command centre headed up by Shipwreak (who else?). Back in Zimbabwe, Duke is extracted by the Joe Special Med Team and LifeLine vows to the infected stuck in the building that they will try to find a cure for Duke and then get it back to them. It’s at this point that Duke asks about the Pit. And that’s when we finally catch up with Scarlet and her Team (Flint, MainFrame, and company) as they reopen Fort Baxter as a temporary base of operations. On the Cobra Front, Zartan and Storm Shadow make their escape and due to a Joe fire fight, are split up in the process. Storm Shadow eventually meets up with their mutual benefactor, Oda Satori, who is happy to hear things are going according to plan.

Overall, not a lot happens in this book. This is just a transitional issue between big events. I understand why Dixon decided to cool things down in this issue as he ended last issue with the Pit’s complete annihilation. It makes sense that when you shake things up that much, to take a moment to reset the board and look at all the players in play. It was good to see what the hell Duke has been up to, as he made a brief appearance in issue one and hasn’t been seen since. I also liked that Shipwreck finally made an appearance. But it did irk me that it took awhile for them to get back to Scarlet’s story. And that is the major crux of this book. There are A LOT of characters. In the Snake-Eyes series, you’re really only dealing with two teams – Snake-Eye’s unit and Khalikhan’s troops. In Cobra, aside from a hand full of Joes, it’s just the Cobra Elite that’s being covered. In this book, you have roughly three or four different Joe teams you have to cover along with the villains on-top. Hats off to Dixon for juggling so many plot lines, but as the reader, I have gotten very used to following Scarlet and her story for the majority of issues. It was a bit strange for her to only take up one page’s worth of story here. But, like I said, I saw the importance of this issue. We need to know where the hell everyone is.  This book does a very good job of telling us. Just wish it had the same fun and excitement that the past three issues have had. Can’t win ’em all.

The art of the book holds up as usual and the plot flows nicely. I liked the little inside joke for longtime Joe fans, mentioning that Fort Baxter had been out of commission since 1988. I can’t wait until they show Zartan’s true face. I know they probably won’t do it at all, but it would be nice.

So, although this was the weakest issue of G.I.Joe, it’s still a better read than a lot of stuff that’s out there right now. So keep reading the Civil War story, as it continues to be the most consistently exciting Joe Story I’ve EVER read.

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