Comics: G.I. Joe #11

April 4, 2012

Cobra achieves total victory in Nanzhao, despite the Joes best efforts to stop them. Chuck Dixon and Alex Cal bring us the next chapter in Cobra Command, and Cobra's ascension into a world power, in G.I. Joe #11.

Dixon continues to churn out an action-pack, quick-moving story with his contribution to the Cobra Command story. I have to admit, I am enjoying how this war in Nanzhao is being told. As a rule, I am not fan of crossovers (having been over-exposed to them ad nauseum by other comic publishers). But in this case, it works great. We are seeing the war in three books from three points of view. In Cobra, we see the men who are pulling the strings and a little about the motivation why. But in G.I. Joe, we are as ignorant as the Joes are. Like true grunts, we see what's going on only from the perspective of one with their boots on the ground, even if those boots belong to General Hawk. A great storytelling technique.

Dixon seems to concentrate on a handful of his favorite characters (Scarlet, Duke, Hawk, Snake Eyes, Helix), so it was refreshing to see him give a little more spotlight on Flint and Roadblock this issue. There is a whole sandbox to play with, and it sometimes it seems as if Dixon is content to play only in a small corner of it. Costa excels in building an ensemble cast in his book, and especially taking D-list characters and giving them an intriguing twist. On the other hand, Dixon seems to concentrate on a handful of A-listers. With that said, every time Dixon uses a character for more than just a namedrop is a step in the right direction.

It was great to see the B.A.T.s again, and even better that the Joes give them the respect they deserve.

Alex Cal's art continues to work great for this story arc. I've praised him often in previous reviews, and I enjoy his work tremendously. There are a few criticisms I have, though, and two that stood out with this issue. A minor one is the similarity with which Hawk and Flint are depicted. Cal likes to draw a lot of panels from unique “camera angles,” especially from the perspective of looking up at side profiles of characters. Now that Hawk and Flint are in the same area, and with some of the details washed out because of the atmosphere of the art, it's tough to distinguish between the two.

Another minor, and admittedly nitpicky problem: for inexplicable reasons, I loathe how Flint is drawn. Admittedly, this is not totally Cal's fault, as he is following character designs that were established before he came on the book. But he does seem to accentuate problems I have with that design. The face seems very short and squished, with the eyes set so far back the inker often shades over them. Again, this is nitpicky, and IDW is free to interpret any character as they wish. I just have a difficult time looking at that face and believing that is Flint.

After seven issues of teases and buildups, we are FINALLY seeing the showdown between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow in the next chapter... I hope.

Another solid chapter in the Cobra Command event. Recommended.

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