Friday, May 25, 2018

Micro-Reviews: G. I. JOE, Vol. 2, Part Three

G. I. JOE #18 (December 1983). Don’t know who did this cover. It’s not Michael Golden’s debut, is it?

More of Snake-Eyes and Kwinn. They track Scarface to Coney Island, of all places. Hama uses this scenery more than once; it also seemed to appeal to the commercial’s producers.

Snake-Eyes is given his own “I can’t…yet I must!” conflict.

Plot hinges on Cobra tricking the Joes into capturing Scarface, who’s infected with a toxin. The idea of cowardly Scarface as a living weapon is fitting. Cobra thinks they’ve found the best use of the guy, and the Joes don’t realize he’s a rotten gift.

I forgot how much personality Hawk had in these days. And who knew “surmise” and “deduce” aren’t synonyms?

G. I. JOE #19 (January 1984). Wacky corner box means this is Assistant Editors’ Month?

One of my biggest gripes about the trades are the lack of letter columns. It would’ve explained the context behind this cover. And, more importantly, Hama himself wrote the replies in the column. Marvel lettercols had grown so dull in this era, it was revelatory to me as a kid to read the thoughts of the actual author.

Those letter columns are also how we learned just how much Hama hated Cobra-La.

I spoke of personality before, but this is amazing. Exposition mixed in with chops-busting, a grunt’s POV, and a modest acknowledgment of the team’s diversity.

More fun(?) with the Geneva Convention. And the SNAKE armor debuts. What an odd book this could be.

This had to be one of the unofficial toy commercials. New products are appearing every few pages. Hama contorts some rationale for why the Joes’ base is now the latest playset on sale.

In the midst of this commercial, three major deaths! And a philosophy and ethics lesson from Kwinn. What a way to go out.

G. I. JOE #20 (February 1984). Steven Grant’s other fill-in. And a random John Byrne cover.

Very much a filler issue. Clutch returns to his hometown, discovers his old buddy is being forced to work with Cobra. Feels more like a cartoon episode than any of the previous issues.

Early fill-in art from Geoff Isherwood, who has an odd Ditko quality in these days. 

When Marvel first went heavy into trades, their books were famous for screw-ups. Vol. 1 omitted the backup in JOE #1. This volume skips a page and reprints another from #20 twice. Later installments will print corrections in the follow-up volumes. Better than nothing, I guess.

At least they were willing to commission new covers in those days, though. Hard to imagine this revived era of JOE without the Campbell covers. And now that we've concluded volume two, perhaps you fine people will consider checking out my JOE novel as we await volume three?

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