This is a tough one. G.I Joe: A Real American Hero #214 is the hardest issue to review. It’s definately for the fans, or anyone following the recent storylines at least, but new readers are going to find this the most bizarre issue they’ve read. On one hand, it’s good fan service but, on the other, it’s a dead weight in terms of plot momentum.
The official description from IDW:
The end of the road for SNAKE EYES… The events of this issue will change G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero forever!
First off – there’s no way to review this without spoiling it – this issue has no words. There are no words, or dialogue. This entire issue is just a tribute to the character of Snake Eyes in one elaborate sequence. Honestly, it does get the point across in that typical G.I Joe way of going over the top. Yet, it’s nice to see the title try an emotional side, rather than the gung-ho attitude that it easily achieves in most issues.
Of course, this makes the writing hard to describe. Larry Hama lets the artwork do the talking, although the whole issue moves very slowly. In real time, this issue must take minutes or hours, at most. Still, I apprecaite Hama’s effort to reward long term fans and let the actual changes sink in. Bar a iffy visual metaphor with a coyote, Hama does the best thing here by doing next to nothing.
Visually, then, the artwork has a lot to achieve. There’s no new talent here – which I’m grateful for – so we get to see S L Gallant (pencils) and J Brown (colors) work their usual magic. Now, this is where the issue might make or break readers. Yes,it’s very well done and gets to the point but, at the same time, you start to get the point after the 20th G.I Joe faces the camera with a single tear. It’s very on the nose, so it depends on your preference for story telling.
All in all, though, this is the 214th issue and you have to admire what its done. How many titles can get away with releasing a blank title?