Comics: Cobra #13

May 25, 2012

With their budget slashed, the Joes make a deal with a devil in a three-piece suit in exchange for a base of operations and intelligence on Cobra. And that first piece of intelligence is a whooper...

After writing crossover issues for the past year, it seems that Mike Costa is finally stretching his story-telling muscles and getting back to the characters and plots he had been developing since the inception of this series. And he's using that groundwork to take us into new directions. It appears that Ronin, that still mysterious and intriguing character, might be re-recruited back into the Joes. Rather than disappearing after his failed coup attempt, Tomax is center-stage and seeking sanctuary from the Joes. Like Erika Le Tene, however, we know Tomax too well not to suspect he's up to something. And it seems that the former Cobra Commander still has a part to play even beyond the grave. Costa is dipping heavily in the past while keeping us shocked and captivated about what's yet to come

Erika Le Tene, AKA Chameleon, has had a long, winding path through the IDW universe, as has her former employer, Tomax Paoli. The last issue made me nostalgic for the original Cobra miniseries, and yet the unexpected meeting between these two pivotal characters still floored me (this is why I avoid solicitations). And Erika's retort to Tomax (four shots to the chest) was pitch-perfect. Erika was an interesting character in the first Cobra series, and a surprisingly sympathetic one in the Cobra II series, but I never really cared for her after she aligned herself with the Joes. But like Firewall and Lady Jaye in this issue, it's impossible not to respect, and like, her after this.

Strong art by Antonio Fuso, as always. The fight sequence with Ronin, with the Japanese temple in the background, was especially beautiful. The masterpiece, though, was Erika's attempt to assassinate Tomax. A simple splash page with a couple of inserted panels for setup, and a couple more for reactions before we cut away to the next scene. If a picture is worth a thousand words, that splash page was a small novel.

"So, you trust me?"
"Yeah, I trust you to be untrustworthy."

Costa and Fuso: back in their own sandbox, playing with their own toys and making up their own doesn't get much better than this. Highly Recommended.

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