Comics: Danger Girl / G.I. Joe #1

July 30, 2012

G.I. Joe is teaming up once again, and this time, it's with the sexy agents of Danger Girl. Andy Hartnell, co-creator of Danger Girl, brings us a story of military and espionage on this first issue of Danger Girl/G.I. Joe team-up.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I had never been a fan of any Danger Girl stories I'd read, but I did try to keep an open mind for this series. Compared to other crossovers in G.I. Joe's history (talking robots, zombies IA, Lovecraftian monsters), a crossover with an covert espionage group whose goals include taking down a paramilitary terrorist organization makes a lot of sense.

In execution, though, the story falls a little flat. Much of what happens in this first issue is clich├ęd (the dogfight in which two people go missing, the President disbanding the Joe team, Joe's going against orders to rescue their teammates). I understand that these are merely plot points around which the creative team need to establish to build the rest of the story. I felt, though, that a little more time and effort could have been spent adding depth to this first issue. A first issue of any series should grab readers right away and leave them wanting more. There was not one "Holy Cow!" moment in this entire issue (besides, perhaps, the last panel's reveal, which had already been foreshadowed half-way through this issue).

There was little characterization in this first issue. The cast of the Joe team resemble that of the ARAH era with their classic outfits, and their behaviors were pretty generic. You could have swapped out any Joe in this book with another.

Perhaps the only character the average reader wouldn't be familiar with is Johnny Barracuda (or Abbey Chase, but discussion of her might lead to spoilers). Hartnell's pretty familiar with this character, and we got pretty much all we need to know about him in the few panels he was in: a James Bond-esque character, complete with the unbelievable luck, the gullible villains, and the sex drive.

I do have to say, though, that him hitting on Cover Girl was a nice touch. And additional bonus points for writing a Joe story that doesn't even mention Snake Eyes.

IDW has had some fantastic artists in their roster for their Joe books. Granted, some are much better than others. Unfortunately, this ranks in the latter category. John Royle is an established illustrator in his own right with an impressive resume. However, I personally don't care much for his style. Often overly angular and exaggerated, especially in the faces, it reminds me of art styles popular in the ‘90s. This isn't to suggest his art is bad; his style is clean and panels flow clearly. His overly cartoonized style actually complements (even adds to) the light-hearted feel of the story. It's just a style I am not personally fond of.

Biggest surprise in this issue: Data Viper!

My review should be taken with a grain of salt, as admittedly I am a fan of neither the Danger Girl franchise or John Royle's art. However, I tried to approach this book with an open mind, and I was fairly underwhelmed. Pass.


LastBestAngryMan said...

I pretty much agree with you; the art style was consistent, but reminded me of many of the worst excesses of 90s comic art. There didn't seem to be any characterization of either the DG characters or the Joes. I was intrigued by the possibilities, but I will not be buying #2.

John said...

Thanks for the comment, LBAM.

Truthfully, I think some of the blame rests on the co-editor, John Barber. While I don't necessarily love all the Joe titles put out by IDW, they arguably all have a pretty good minimum standard of quality (both writing and art) under his management. He knows and loves this franchise. So I'm disappointed this one slipped in under his watch.

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