Despite its name, Cobra #20 actually has very little to do with Cobra. The main antagonists of the series (and franchise) take a back seat this issue as G.I Joe are pitted against the Oktober Guard. Whilst this might seem unusual for a series actually entitled Cobra, it none the less provides a fresh and engaging experience.
The official description from IDW:
OKTOBER IS BURNING! The covert G.I. JOE team is in for the fight of their lives as they go toe-to-toe against the OKTOBER GUARD! But who are they? Where did they come from? And what do they want? The answers will shock you—but we can tell you that MAJOR BLUDD is looking for retribution!
Following the previous developments, this issue offers a very focused storyline. The Joe’s are trying to get Ronin back from being held hostage by the Oktober Guard. Its a simple premise, but it offers a closer look at the Guard. The interrogation scene in particular is very useful for this. Whilst some might scoff at the stereotypical ‘bad English-speaking Russian’ dialogue, the scene is none the less quite tense.
The moody blues and black adds tension to the scene, which contrasts against the lighter flashback sequences. It might be an easy excuse to develop a character’s history, but its needed. The Oktober Guard are still only a few issues old, so there’s a need to define them, both as characters and within the greater context of the G.I Joe setting. In a world of secret agents, spies and ninja, simply being Russian isn’t going to cut it.
Of course, there’s also the usual slice of action as well. Again, this takes on a more tense and stealthy approach, giving the issue as a whole a rather tense and slow pacing, which works well as a break in the usual pace. The fighting is often one-on-one, as opposed to the overtly large, over the top fighting that often appears in various G.I Joe titles.
Throw in the usual amounts of drama and a cliffhanger, and Cobra #20 wraps up as a very satisfying issue.