Comics: Cobra #11
Cobra Command concludes in this issue with a massive power struggle within the Cobra Organization, the consequences of which having important long-term implications for the future of Cobra
I spent much of this Cobra Command storyline wondering what the ultimate goal was for the invasion and destruction of Nanzhao. While I am still left with some unanswered questions, I do now understand the ultimate goal of the Cobra Command story arc itself: a massive restructuring of Cobra High Command. Within this arc, we see the systematic elimination of the Cobra High Council, leaving the newly elected Krake as the virtually undisputed commander of Cobra. Members of the High Command, including Destro, Baroness, Tomax, Menasian, and Bludd chose their allegiances, and not always with Cobra. When we were first introduced to Cobra, it was an old, static institution, but now we have seen it evolve every several months. This final coup by The Commander is just the latest string of changes.
I use the term "virtually undisputed" because Costa is foreshadowing the inevitable rise of Serpentor to Cobra leader. Even within this issue, the hints are there: Menasian's recruits continue to swell 300 percent above projections. He plays Bludd and Tomax against the Commander, and then the Commander against Bludd and Tomax, which in essence weakens any competition in High Command while at the same time, strengthens Krake's trust in him. Indeed nobody, which the exception of Tomax or the reader, seems to see this coming.
Tomax and Xamot have been favorites of mine since their first introduction. It wasn't their odd costumes or their even more-odd empathic link in the TV show or comics. It was their filecard. This was the first time my young brain understood that not all battles were fought on fields with guns. The fact that these two men command a legion of lawyers, accountants, and politicians may not have seemed sexy, but it gave me a deeper, and richer, appreciation of the G.I. Joe universe, and frankly the real world as well.
No doubt, Tomax is a personal favorite of Costa as well, having been one of the first Cobras introduced in his and Gage's Cobra miniseries. The death of Xamot and the subsequent depression and instability of Tomax made me apprehensive about the direction IDW was taking with my favorite twins. But Costa brought back Tomax better than ever: cunning, connected, confident, and grinning like a shark who knows his prey will never seen him coming. In this issue, Tomax goes into hiding from Cobra, so it may be a while before we see him again. So I wanted to take this opportunity to applaud Costa for his bold and unique take on this great character.
Alex Cal, with Beni Lobel, finishes this last chapter of the Cobra Command arc, and like the other chapters, the art is strong. One particular page, when Menasian and Tomax silently exchange looks, followed by Tomax contemplating his position in his office, was beautifully done, especially since it set up Tomax's next actions so perfectly.
Krake's burning of the national treasures is a good metaphor for his own position as Commander: he is destroying his own past, including those who've helped him come into power and the resources they may provide. This is one of the first times I am seeing Krake not as "a" Cobra Commander but as "the" Cobra Commander.
VERDICT Costa rarely disappoints, and this issue is no exception. The Cobra officers here are at their absolute best, even as they are fighting amongst each other. The consequences of this issue will have lasting implications in future storylines. This was a strong finish to a great story arc. Highly Recommended.