Comics: Cobra #10
The honeymoon is over for the new Cobra Commander as Bludd, Menasian, and Tomax form an alliance to overthrow Krake and take control of Cobra for their own objectives. Meanwhile, Krake and the Baroness have their own ideas about restructuring Cobra, starting with The Council. In Cobra #10, Mike Costa and Alex Cal bring us an outstanding chapter to the Cobra Command story.
If you are solely looking for an action-packed comic, this may not be for you. Three-quarters of the issue are talking heads: Menasian and Bludd, Bludd and Tomax, Chameleon and Firewall, Mainframe and Scarlet. However, for anyone following the Cobra series for the past couple years, the story is very engaging as we witness the beginnings of a coup forming within the Cobra higher ranks. Menasian has information which he shares with Bludd and Tomax that seem to encourage this rebellion. What this information is, like many of Cobra's goals during this storyline, the reader will have to wait to discover.
The issue is not devoid of action, and in typical Costa fashion, he reserves the honors for the ladies. While I won't spoil one of the character's appearances at the end of the issue, I will happy admit part of me cheered as the Baroness single-handedly takes down a small security force to brutally extract information from a member of The Cobra Council.
Costa did an incredible job tying this issue together as the reader follows the information flow from Menasian to Bludd to Tomax to The Council. The Baroness interrupts that information flow, but her actions are noted by Chameleon, Firewall, Mainframe, and Scarlet. Ten people, four locations, and yet each scene flowed seamlessly into the next. Brilliantly done.
Mike Costa's and Christos Gage's Serpentor (Menasian) already had my vote for best interpretation of the character in any media when they introduced him in the Cobra II series. Unlike other interpretations, Menasian seems content in passing on the leadership role to others, at least overtly. At the same time, he is amassing a huge army of zealots, one that is loyal only to him. We have seen him publicly support Cobra leadership, although we the readers suspect that support will only last as long as Cobra's goals are parallel to The Coils. One of the appealing aspects of this character is his yet untapped potential.
Menasian takes a major step forward in this issue as be begins to take a more active role. For one, he is recruiting the Nanzhaon refuges into The Coil. Those very people that Krake is using as cannon fodder, Menasian views as both a numerical and geopolitical advantage. His "recruitment" speech, with references to "the serpent crawling from the muck" and "If we run, we give up" (identifying himself with the refuges, not the oppressors), subtly indicates that joining The Coil is not the same as joining Cobra.
Menasian also makes one of his more overt power plays as he begins to sow the seeds of discontentment among Bludd and Tomax. Whether he truly wants a coup, or whether engaging Bludd and Tomax in this plot has another purpose, I'm not quite sure. Menasian appears to be someone who is at least three moves ahead of everyone else.
In Cobra #9, Cal's art seems uneven and occasionally sloppy. Whatever caused that stumble didn't seem to carry over to this issue. Every panel is beautifully drawn, expressive, and engaging. And I can honestly say I don't know if I ever have seen the Baroness ever looks as good as she did in this book. This may be Cal's best work yet.
"Oh, dear. Norway is mad at us. What will they do? Write a bleak modernist play about us?"
Plot, characterizations, action, and art are among the best so in this Cobra Command storyline. Highest Recommendation.