Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
GI JOE: A Real American Hero #156
Hama & Padilla
Some sixteen years after the cancellation of the original GI Joe comic book series over at Marvel with issue number 155 Larry Hama is given the chance to continue his run. He simply knocks this issue out of the park. Of all of the reboots and various series that have launched by various publishers over the last ten years this is the story that I think most fans have been waiting for and it was worth the wait. Hama brings the classic GI Joe characters into a modern setting that lost none of the charm or continuity from the original series. This is an excellent start to hopefully a long run.
The issue starts with the Joes on the run. GI Joe was disbanded and Cobra is all over the government. Hawk is trying to round up his team. He contacts a key Joe to set into motion their plan to fight back. This issue really only deals with Duke, Roadblock, Stalker and Mainframe but the execution is excellent.
What Hama does is bring in a nice mix of military jargon into the dialogue to make the comic book feel more authentic. They aren’t just screaming “Yo Joe!” He also supplies plenty of action and violence to make the story feel like it matters. You don’t find characters shooting at point blank range and missing and you also find that characters drawn blood and produce dead bodies. It might be subtle but at least it’s present.
Hama also immediately establishes the voices of the characters in the issue. Having not read the Marvel run in years I felt like all of the characters in the issue had unique voices that were both familiar and fresh in the sense that they have more urgency to them than in the old comics. If Hama can keep up this level of writing these characters then this book is going to be a hit.
The artwork is excellent. It has an edgy feel to it that helps make the story have a little more realism to it. I thought the artwork shakes off all of the previous incarnation’s cartoon aspects of it. This definitely measures up with a modern day military or crime drama comic book. On the other hand the characters all hold very familiar features to keep the old reader from being at all confused as to the character’s identity.
It’s worth noting that there was an issue number 155 ½ that came out in May for Free Comic Book Day that appears to be essential reading. While this issue does contain a recap box of that issue I still think you need to have read it to fully understand what is going on with this issue.
I’m not thrilled with the four dollar price tag but if the series continues with this high of a quality of story then I will plunk down that amount for it (one of the few series I would consider paying four bucks for). To me, GI Joe is action, surprises, strategy and military espionage. This comic book has it all and I can’t imagine the long time fan being disappointed with it. I definitely recommend the issue.
4.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles