G.I. Joe #1 Review
Hasbro had two resonant franchises in the 1980s spawned from cartoons. One was Transformers. The other was G.I Joe. The robots in disguise had great success with their recent film (and another one on the way), while the Joe’s turn on the silver screen will be upon us August 6.
This issue is the first in a three-pronged attack from publishers IDW. G.I Joe is the adventure series, G.I Joe: Origins launches next month and G.I Joe: Cobra, which hits in March will focus on the Joes’ enemy and their rise to power. Each title has a different direction and creative teams, but they all present familiar faces to children of the 80s, like me.
G.I. Joe #1 is written by longtime Batman scribe chuck Dixon, with easy on the eyes art by Robert Atkins. It may mean more to hard core fans of the Joes, especially with cameos by such characters as Beachhead, Shipwreck, and Dial Tone. Each of the Joes has a set of unique skills that reflect their code names and work together as team of hi-tech operatives battling criminal organisations around the world. The events of this issue are set directly after the events of G.I Joe #0, but it’s not necessary to have read that preview issue beforehand. Opening with an attack on a smuggler’s ship, we are quickly introduced to the Joes, beginning with field leader Duke, and Beachhead on their run around The Pit, the Joes secret base of operations. And what an impressive base it is. Fans of the cartoon, and owners of the toys will see some familiar vehicles in the two page spread that reveals the base. As Shipwreck and his fellow divers examine the sunken vessel from the first few pages, the redhead Scarlett begins piecing together the big picture.
Following an attack by a vanishing soldier on the mansion of the ship’s owner, popular Joe, the mute ninja Snake Eyes makes a brief appearance. Then the American heroes examine a curious piece of hardware found recovered from the vessel, that seems to be secretly monitoring them.
There are many characters in the G.I Joe universe, but this issue does a grand job of introducing us to them slowly. Dixon restrains the urge to bring out a cavalcade of popular soldiers, and instead focuses on scripting a tight, over arching tale,. The bad guy shave yet to reveal themselves, but surely will in future issues. If you have fond memories of the Joe toon back in the day, or would like to familiarise yourself with this world before the silver screen version is released, then this is the title for you. You can view a preview of this issue here and read my interview with G.I. Joe editor Andy Schmidt here.