Comics: G.I. Joe #12

May 1, 2012

It's a new chapter for the Joes, and it doesn't look good. Washington takes a critical look at the effectiveness of the Joes while Cobra, fresh from their victory in Nanzhao, sets their eyes on their next target. G.I. Joe #12, by Chuck Dixon and Will Rosado, explores the aftermath of Cobra Command.

Since the kickoff of Cobra Civil War, Dixon's been writing mostly action-heavy issues, often letting the plot, and not the characters, tell the story. This is an exception to his normal M.O., and the change was refreshing. From the opening sequence (an informal memorial service for the soldiers who fell during the Nanzhao conflict) to the last panel of Zartan's press conference, Dixon lets dialogue, and thus the characters, shape the story. In a book such as this, where both the Joes and Cobra are re-evaluating themselves after the Nanzhao, giving the focus to the characters effected by the consequences of the war made it that much more powerful.

While I like the direction this universe seems to be going it, I have to admit I can't avoid seeing the similarities between this and the plots of both the Renegades cartoon and the upcoming Retaliation movie: Cobra publically presenting themselves as an altruistic organization who uses the media (with Zartan as their spokesman) to turn public opinion against the Joes. It's an odd choice for IDW to go with a storyline that two other media have used in the past 18 months. We can hope the similarities end there, and that IDW takes this in a new and interesting direction. Hopefully, the Joes won't be driving around America in a van performing good works, or all sporting Arashikage tattoos any time soon.

Administration cuts and political maneuvering have ousted Hawk from the leadership position of the Joes. This issue appears to be his last one (at least for a while) as Duke takes over command. Traditionally, it seems that Dixon chooses to develop a select few characters, and Hawk wasn't one of them. I am a big fan of Hawk from the Marvel run, and so it's especially painful to see him eclipsed once again by Duke in this universe as he is in most other media.

Dixon did a beautiful job for a sendoff, though. Whether it was officiating the memorial service, or pulling strings one last time to help Duke out, Hawk stepped down from C.O. still exhibiting the strong qualities of honor and leadership we'd expect from him. The quiet moment with Scarlet was an incredibly powerful scene, and frankly one of the more "real" and touching moments Dixon's written in a while. Dixon may not have always given Hawk the screen time I thought he deserved, but he did give him a wonderful sendoff.

Farewell, Hawk. We hardly knew you.

Will Rosado is back on art, and it looks better than ever. Alex Cal did a great job with Cobra Command, but after the heavy use of shadowing and the beautiful but distractingly detailed backgrounds, Rosado's clean and sharp style really is a welcomed change. Rosado has a subtle touch with his subjects, making a slight angle of the head or width of the eyes speak volumes about the emotions running through the character's mind. That touch was particularly evident here, and complemented this character-driven issue perfectly.

Is it my imagination, or does Savane suddenly look hot now?

I like a lot of action in my Joe comics, but character-driven stories are what I really crave. In that respect, this was one of Dixon's better efforts. One could argue that not much happens in this issue, but what did happen was very well told. Highly Recommended.

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