G.I Joe: Special Missions #5 kicks off the new story-arc for the series, and it’s clear it’s taking a different route from the first. A completely different setting, villains and joe’s. If variety is the spice of life, then G.I Joe: Special Missions is certainly very hot – but does it make for good reading?
The official description from IDW:
The DREADNOKS return! When a COBRA satellite drops form spacer to crash in the Australian outback, Scarlett and the Special Missions team enter the race to retrieve it. They face not only the near-impossible challenge of finding the space debris in millions of square miles of barren and dangerous wastelands. The murderous, marauding, motorcycle maniacs who call themselves the Dreadnoks are in the neighborhood and led by Zartan!
The premise for this story is fairly simple. A satellite drops from space and, as is natural, both Cobra and G.I Joe want it. Yes, that does sound a bit similar to the first plot. Yet it feels different, set in the Australian outback instead of the stormy seas, with characters such as Zartan and the Dreadnoks providing a very different approach and atmosphere.
Still, it’s early days yet, so it’s hard to judge the writing. Chuck Dixon takes a lot of time setting up exposition in this issue, even though “a satellite falls and Cobra get their hands on it first” would pretty much suffice for most the pages of this issue. Still, it’s an entertaining set up and well-grounded in the military and political aspects of G.I Joe. It’s just not got the action that Special Missions often teases.
This time we have Will Rosado on the art front, and the change is noticeable in parts. The facial detail is an improvement, but there’s still the high level of detail all around that is becoming expected as standard for Special Missions. Aburtov & Grafikslava remain on color duties, offering very smooth, yet bright, colors with plenty of highlights and shading. It’s an art direction I’m currently in favor of, working well with the desert setting, with contrast between day and night. It ensures that everything doesn’t have the same color palette, which was a minor complaint in the last plot’s setting.
Overall, this is a good opener for the new story, if a little slow. Still, what it doesn’t deliver now, it is certainly teasing around the corner.