G.I. Gary’s Pull List Pick of the Week – 8/31/17 *Spoilers*

September 1, 2017 Author: Gary Viola

Before I go into this review I want to remind readers that IDW is publishing two continuities of G.I. Joe.  There is “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero,” still written by Larry Hama and that is still in its own original universe. This book that I’m about to review, has no connections to it. “G.I. Joe” (without the “A Real American Hero”) is part of the Hasbro shared universe that is hosted by IDW.

IDW Publishng “G.I. Joe” #8
Writer: Aubrey Sitterson
Artist: Giannis Milonogiannis & David LaFuente

The cover reflects the central conflict of this issue, the fight between Snake Eyes and Quick Kick. This came about from Snake Eyes trying to stop Duke from taking the illegally held Baroness and Crystal Ball out of G.I. Joe headquarters.  Scarlett ordered him to stand down, and then Quick Kick challenged him to a fight. While the fight is the main thread for this issue, there are two other subplots that are woven in between the pages; what appears to be the final chapter of the “fatal fluffies” storyline and what happens to Duke on the road once he leaves the headquarters with the prisoners.

The first offense I take with this book is that the storylines are all broken up and crammed together.  While reading this book you’re jumping from place to place with no transitions. Each segment is in action, there is no pause for the reader to take a break before the  move to the next one. Each thread takes place in what seems like minutes so action that should flow is broken, and thus the reader’s concentration is as well.  While the book isn’t necessarily hard to follow with these transitions, it is jarring and you’re left wondering why.

Aubrey has never been shy about how he has drawn from the 80’s cartoon in this volume of G.I. Joe; and it shows through the characterization. IDW has published their own continuity since 2008, using versions of the characters that don’t stray much from the 80’s file cards. So while everyone was familiar, they differed from versions seen in the previous publishers. Scarlett as a commander isn’t a shocker, but her doing something illegal in the name of security is against her character, and against what the team stands for. Snake Eyes on his own is nothing new, but how the fight plays out is not how Snake Eyes has acted before. Rock and Roll is a mopey metal head. Quick Kick constantly quips during the fight, which is exactly like the cartoon, not like a martial arts master.  Overall, the team isn’t acting like a military unit, more like a superhero unit with not following rules and regulations. The team is sloppy, and the book is sloppy.

Giannis’ and David’s art highly mimics anime and manga style. This has been the style for this volume, but compared to other G.I. Joe books, if you just open into it, it’s a little bit of a shocker. It plays into the theme that G.I. Joe is now a global team (as Giannis himself is from Greece), and as a martial-arts-centric issue, it should shine. However it falls short. First with the previously mentioned plotting and the jumping around pages that should flow into each other and don’t. With many other books using double pages to flow a fight scene, this art team constantly breaks it up into linear panels making a martial arts fight choppy. When Quick Kick breaks into a different style, or stance, they animate the animal the pose is based on into the frame, and one looks lifted right out of Dragonball Z. One of Snake Eyes’ punches is emphasized almost exactly like Iron Fist. If you went into this issue expecting a martial arts issue like the now classic Marvel Joe #21, you will be disappointed.

This book gets a 1 star out of 5. It’s a let down on many levels. I’ve given 8 months on it and am dropping it as of this week’s “Previews.”

Now to results of this issue, spoilers ahead, so you’ve been warned!

Quick Kick challenges Snake Eyes as a matter of pride. And Snake Eyes accepts. A martial arts master would neither provoke, nor accept a challenge like this. We learn that Snake Eyes brought Quick Kick onto the Joe team.  That’s kind of believable, but Quick Kick implies that he’s continued his training while Snake Eyes has been off galavanting with Helix.  The fight begins as hand to hand combat and Snake Eyes opening moves are easily deflected by Quick Kick all the while the comments keep rolling off Quick Kick’s tongue.  They aren’t veiled threats, they come off as a spoiled brat telling off his teacher that he’s improved beyond his teachers skills.

Early on in the fight, Snake Eyes pulls out a blade and cuts Quick Kick’s vest.  Again, Snake Eyes, a man of honor as characterized by years of storytelling, cheats during a fight?  When Quick Kick throws off the vest, Helix the walking battle computer magically figures out it weighed 83.4 pounds! Why would anyone would wear that kind of weight around their center of mass during a fight? Armor? This was hand to hand! You can see how ridiculous this is getting.  Quick Kick grabs a blade, too. That goes on for a whole page before it turns into a judo/jiu-jitsu grappling match where Quick Kick begins with a sleeper hold but then Snake Eyes gets the upper hand and power slams his opponent. Our trusted commando/ninja recovers in time to grab his katana while Quick Kick grabs iron rings for his wrists and settles into a horse stance. Those iron rings stave off Snake Eyes’ frontal assault and the momentum they give Quick Kick’s fists knock Snake Eyes back to the ground. Quick Kick then attempts an Iron Fist style punch but is stopped by Scarlett’s order just millimeters from Snake Eyes’ face.  Snake Eyes raises his hands and bows his head in defeat.

The artwork and storytelling made this fight one sided as it was all about Quick Kick winning and reminds the reader that Snake Eyes is just a side character in this book.

In other news: Skywarp and Rock and Roll seemingly sacrifice themselves to stop the onslaught of the “fatal fluffies.” How a Decepticon just can’t mop the floor with organic life forms is beyond me.  Rock and Roll felt bad because Crystal Ball got in his head.

Other news, too: Duke’s transport gets ambushed by the Dreadnoks and the Cobra acolytes, which are just ordinary people brainwashed by Crystal Ball.  Apparently he gave them all the ability to stop a military convoy.

Until next week!

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