Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
G.I. JOE Annual #1
Hama, frenz, Wagner, Trimpe & Buscema
The first GI Joe Annual from IDW reads a lot like the old Special Missions from the Marvel days. For the most part, the issue is a self-contained story that could basically take place at any number of points in the continuity. The story is fairly entertaining but doesn’t really provide a lot of density to it. Sure, the premise is a sound one but the book sort of races through the detective work to get to the ending and then provide a big ending with only a couple of panels. The price point for the book is a concern at $8 as well. Combining the so-so story and the exorbitant price point makes this an opportunity lost, in my opinion, for IDW.
The basics of the story is that a small team of Joes, consisting of Scarlett, Gung-Ho and Mutt, are spying on Zartan and learn that Zartan has been dispatched on a secret mission to deal with a rogue Crimson Guard. The cast is a great one, especially because it brings Mutt and his canine friend, Junkyard back into the fold. The book moves quickly from this point.
Part of the Ted series of Guards, this particular Ted is fed up and disgruntled with society and decides to detonate a bomb in a theme park and cause general death and havoc to innocents. Cobra sends Zartan because Ted plans to do these acts in the name of Cobra.
The book is a bizarre story because it seems a stretch that a sleeper cell Crimson Guard would be so opinionated about things like immigration and teenagers working for minimum wage. Wouldn’t you think the elite guard would have better training and discipline? Also, why in the world is Cobra Commander concerned about his reputation as a terrorist?
The book is fast paced but is it to a fault? The comic is only thirty-nine pages long but this results in a story that jumps from location to location with little or no transitions. Based on what I can piece together, this comic goes from New Jersey to Ohio to Missouri every few pages with no real transition or warning.
The artwork is a mixed bag. The book is detailed and well colored. However, some of the character depictions are strange. Scarlett looks much too manly in quite a few panels and I was stunned at how fat and out of shape the Ted was made to appear. The action is good and I liked the details in the settings in the theme park though.
Ultimately this book is less than two comic books worth of pages for $8. It’s an extraordinary reach for IDW to charge a customer this amount of money for so little content. For example, Dark Horse Presents is 80 pages for the same price. Even two issues of Wolverine have one more page for the same price. When you mix in an odd story that rushes through the plot points and contains a stunningly abrupt ending and you have something that is utterly forgettable. This one is for the absolute die-hard fans only.
2 out of 5 Geek Goggles