G.I Joe has been going for along time. With various titles through out history, its no surprise that one of the longest, G.I Joe: A Real American Hero may be running short of ideas. With a recent plot set in Comic-Con, its a toss up between a lack of ideas or blatant fan service.
Besides this, G.I Joe: A Real American Hero #180 (henceforth just referred to as G.I Joe: ARMH) does a decent job serving up regular action for the Joes. More than just the typical conflict between the Joes and Cobra, the plot focuses on more modern or alternative characters, such as Destro and the blue ninjas.
In fact, its the blue ninjas that are the most interesting. Unlike the rest of the bad guys, the blue ninjas are self replicating robots (and also ninjas). This makes for a more interesting and engaging fight. Unfortunately, they’re mostly dead by the start of this issue, but they still make an interesting surprise appearance.
Unfortunately, this moves on to the setting of Comic-con. Given the timing, its hard to shake off the feeling of reading a giant advert. Most comic book readers are arguably familiar with the event, and need little encouragement or pushing to go. Whilst the logo isn’t entirely flashed in the reader’s eyes, the general promotion of the event in G.I Joe: ARMH is more than obvious.
For example, the constant inclusion of Optimus Prime is almost unsettling. At first, its harmless fun. But after a couple of appearances the less than subtle use of another IDW property, one that’s quite familiar as a G.I. Joe crossover in the past, gets in the way.
Besides this, the plot itself generally works. With the Joes watching from afar in a busy crowd environment, there is certainly suspense, tension and plot development. Had this been set anywhere else, I feel that it would of been much better.
To summarise, G.I Joe: ARMH is decent issue for G.I. Joe. However, the inclusion of Comic-Con does slightly ruin a good storyline. Between the beginning of the issue and the end, there seems to be too much of an obvious shift in plot, to quickly establish the Joes in San Diego. Despite this, regular Joe fans will still find plenty to like.