Comics: Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow #14

September 10, 2012

Zartan is in the middle of a four-way war as allies double-cross each other to kill him and advance their own objectives. Chuck Dixon and Robert Atkins bring us the next chapter of revenge and betrayal in Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow #14

More often than not, I've been disappointed with Chuck Dixon's writing on G.I. Joe and Snake Eyes. His storylines tend to end in a whimper, he only focuses on a handful of characters, and the ones he does use tend to lack interesting development (besides the way over-played "Scarlett-in-love-triangle".)

One of the most over-exposed and least interesting characters is Snake Eyes, so I am pleasantly surprised that I've been enjoying this book these last two issues. The cast is small, but their interactions are dynamic (to put it mildly). We are getting meaningful background on Snake Eyes, and great emphasis and development on Zartan.

There have been a couple times in the past in which Dixon had me excited about a developing story arc, only to leave me disappointed with an anti-climatic ending, so I'm a little apprehensive about getting too excited about this story. Still, I'm enjoying the ride so far.

While G.I. Joe was originally designed with sci-fi elements, the first waves of figures and vehicles took more of a mild "five minutes in the future" approach. It wasn't until the introduction of Zartan that the sci-fi elements of G.I. Joe took a definitively step in a wackier direction. While building new mythos around G.I. Joe, it's tempting to ignore or minimize characters that grew out of those wackier elements, such as Crystal Ball, Raptor, or Serpentor, but it seems next to impossible to have a Joe story that does not include Zartan.

IDW's Zartan is building to become a more prominent character. I've felt that one of the more interesting facets of Marvel's Zartan was that he was truly a wild-card: often allied with Cobra, but you were never quite sure what his true motivations were. I like my antagonists fractured…it makes them more unpredictable and therefore more dangerous. It seems like Dixon is taking us in that direction, and I'm excited to see how it turns out.

Robert Atkins' art, as always is fantastic, although reading this issue was somewhat bittersweet, as we're slowly approaching his last interior art of Joe comics for the foreseeable future. Atkins had often been the only selling point on the Snake Eyes series for me when I considered the writing fairly uninspired. Now that both the plot and the art are quality, the cynic in me wonders how long it can last.

I never realized how much Savave looks like mohawked Ororo Monroe.

Dixon's writing is still going strong in this arc. Coupled with Atkins' amazing art, and IDW has another winner. Recommended.

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