Comics: G.I. Joe #17

January 18, 2013

In the aftermath of "Deep Terror," the Joes regroup and reassess their next strike against Cobra. Meanwhile, Scarlett and the Joes find out that Snake Eyes is alive and has re-joined the Arashikage Clan.

This issue serves as a transition between "Deep Terror" and the next G.I. Joe storyline "Target: Snake Eyes." As a stand-alone story, this was pretty good. A lot happens in this issue (the Joes set up a new base of operations, Scarlett and the Joes find out Snake Eyes is alive, Helix gets a long overdue butt-kicking) and a lot got resolved.  This makes me wonder if Chuck Dixon would be better off writing more of these stand-alone stories as opposed to the decompressed story arcs which usually end so unsatisfactorily.

My major problem from this story comes from the very end. The Joes just realize that Snake Eyes is alive and has apparently rejoined the Arashikage Clan. So their first response is to organize a response team to kill Snake Eyes? In the preceding panel, Scarlett herself acknowledges that the Arashikage and Cobra are no longer allies. In a series where half the Joes are running around AWOL and Cobra is still the world's biggest threat, what exactly makes Snake Eye's disappearance deserving of the Joe's murderous attentions? Obviously, Dixon is setting up the new story arc in this issue, and once again, the premise is fairly weak.

Helix is by far the least likable, and most frustrating, character in the IDW books. I don't base this on her personality or her "condition;" the biologist in me finds OCD/savant-like abilities interesting. It's how she's used that I have a problem with. A specialized agent like that should be treated like Ronin in Cobra, kept on the back burners for special missions, not thrown into mix with the rest of the Joes. Dixon might believe that her personality conflicts with everyone else leads to interesting character moments; it doesn't. Rather, it just seems to underscore how non-military, non-disciplined, and insorbinate this Joe organization truly is.

With the misinformation Helix fed Scarlett coming to light in this issue, Dixon's lack of emphasis on military procedure comes to light once again. One of the Joes' best operatives disappears in combat in a foreign country, and the extent of the only witness's debriefing is a few sentences? There was no attempt for a full debriefing to figure out how he died, or an attempt to reclaim his body?

While we wouldn't want our Joe characters to be as stiff and formal as The Queen's Guard, it would be nice for Dixon to remember that the Joes do come from a military background.

Alex Cal takes over penciling duties from Will Rosado with this issue. I've enjoyed Cal's art during Cobra Command, and it's great to see him back. He has a very realistic and natural style that works so well in a book like G.I. Joe. The inking seems heavier, and the colors more muted, compared to the previous issues. Intentionally or not, it makes the art seem more coherent with Cobra. Strong art overall, and a great return effort from Cal.

It was a relatively minor part, but I thought what happened to the Senator was one of the most interesting and powerful subplots in these last couple issues.

Despite my many criticisms of this book, overall it was a good stand-alone issue, even if the intention was to serve as the prologue for the next upcoming storyline. A good jumping-on point for those interested. Recommended.

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