Current Reviews



Posted: Tuesday, December 14, 2010
By: Mike Prezzato

Mike Costa, Christos N. Gage
Antonio Fuse, Chee (i) Peter Dawes (c)
IDW Publishing
EDITOR's NOTE: GI JOE COBRA #11 will be in stores December 15th.

At COBRA HQ, Chuckles, who struck a deal with Cobra Commander, awaits his revenge on Tomax and Xamot, who previously forced him to kill a woman he loved.

Chuckles enjoys the perks of being part of the high command of COBRA, which makes you wonder if he's indiltrating CORBA or if COBRA is corrupting Chuckles. Cobra Commander begins some mind games, testing, or possibly just toying with him. He starts off by dangling Tomax and Xamot in front of Chuckles as bait, demonstrating his ruthlessness, even to those in his own organization.

Some old cliches get busted down pretty quickly in this storyline and that's fine by me. Big Boa, who used to wear a big helmet and boxing gloves gets a new back story, as explained to Chuckles. He tells of how a military blunder in the Middle East led to him winding up as COBRA's security leader, possibly leaving some lingering regret. The creative team here breathes some new life into an old character many wouldn't expect to see, while adding some realism concerning the war in Iraq.

Next, the Commander explains to Chuckles that their organization isn't much different than GI JOE or any capitalist business, for that matter. What they all have in common is that they want the world to be run their specific way, which is very true. COBRA just misunderstood? Are they really not that bad?

Nope. Cobra Commander gives Chuckles an order to test his loyalty, and while the command itself will cause many deaths, it is especially Chuckles non-hesitation to obey and the Commander's human puppeteering which makes the event so dastardly. By the end of this issue, Chuckles' infiltration is bordering on betrayal, but he may not even care as long as he gets his revenge.

Costa and Gage's combined writing effort gives GI JOE COBRA a darker, more human element, which I personally enjoy a heck of a lot more than the norm. Shades of gray abound in knocking down hero/villian scenarios. Everyone here is human and free to make decisions, both good and bad.

Antonio Fuse, in this series, illustrates possibly my favorite rendition of Cobra Commander to date. He is one-third businessman, one-third deviant serpent and one-third the classic Cobra Commander we all know and love. Something about Peter Dawes' coloring really makes the art stand out for me.
He applies a dirty spatter undertone that makes everything a bit more grimy in a subtle way.

Good stuff. This is the sort of JOE espionage tale worth your time, especially if you're a little bored with the cliche good guy/bad guy dynamic. Recommended.

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