Things start off quiet in G.I Joe: A Real American Hero #186, but that quickly changes. Equal parts tension, suspense and action, this is an issue that knows how to get the vital balances just right, building up into what looks to be an impressive set piece.
First, the official description from IDW:
DARKLON has managed to get the best of DESTRO and is going forward on his sale of the stolen nuclear trigger device. But when COLONEL FAROUD, the potential buyer of the device, asks for proof that it works, Darklon is forced to make a drastic choice that may put everyone—G.I. JOE, COBRA and even Darklon himself—in mortal danger! The clock starts ticking in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #186!
Although there are tangent scenes elsewhere, the majority of A Real American Hero #186 takes place in Benzheen. I’m always favorable of the smaller scale plots, and this issue proves why. Although its on a smaller setting, there’s enough characters and plot points for things to get interesting none the less.
It’s the smaller scale that also allows for character. This is expected from the various Joes in a typical fashion; the ending isn’t a massive surprise, but its well written and feels natural regardless. Some of the surprise character portrayal comes from Darklon, surprisingly. He’s always been somewhat of a bland ‘generic’ villain at best, so its surprising to see the character used in a greater capacity.
Still, as for as storytelling goes, this issue works very well. Things start out small and gradually grow in intensity. It’s not forced onto the reader, but teased in the first few pages, so that its much more believable as things digress. It plays out like a traditional set-piece, showing situations from various sides where it needs to. Information is teased out where it needs to; just enough to keep the suspense going without spoiling anything prematurely.
That said, this isn’t a one-issue plot. There is enough left over for what has the potential to be a more than satisfying follow up issue. That being said, with nuclear bombs and various bad guys running around, I’ll be disappointed if everyone magically gets out of this alive; the writing thus far has shown a better understanding than that.