IDW’s G.I Joe universe has been a bit slow of late, but G.I Joe: Snake Eyes: Agent of Cobra #1 is the kick start it needs. This mini-series could be a title that focuses on the espionage, stealth and political aspects of the series without overdoing it. For a first issue, there’s plenty of potential to admire here.
The official description from IDW:
DESTRO, one of COBRA’s top operatives, has been captured. As the metal masked maverick gets transferred to a new prison, a prison break is instigated by none other than… SNAKE EYES! With DESTRO free and SNAKE EYES under COBRA’s control, a mission that will rock the world of G.I. JOE begins!
What’s clear about this issue – and the series – right from the start is it’s specific sense of narration and storytelling. This isn’t just a random romp through various aspects of G.I Joe. From the outset, the focus on Snake Eyes and a few respective characters instantly pinpoints it into a certain direction. It’s not overtly moody, but it does focus on the areas of G.I Joe that I like best – the quick action, the cat and mouse game play and the blurring of good vs bad.
In a way, this is partially why the title is so surprising. Mike Costa is clearly a talented writer and has chosen to pen a story directly from the result of ‘last seasons’ G.I Joe (I won’t spoil anything here, but it’s very obvious very early on). As such, Costa’s script quickly charges the series with direction, although there are one or two deviations here that suggest some further development. This issue gives Destro some questionably-neccessary background, suggesting a strong, important role later on, before jumping back into the story. Still, it definately adds weight to the issue and compliments the quick, action packed opening.
Visually, this is one of a few titles where I think the gritty color palette works. Joana Lafuente does some excellent work here, with dark rainy skies and even a few splashes of lighter color. I do think it overdoes it, but this is the kind of issue where it’s surprisngly easy to forgive, for now. In terms of the pencils, then, Paolo Villangelli does a fantastic job – when your main character doesn’t talk, he needs to communicate with effective body language and Villangelli’s attention to detail ensures plenty.
All in all, this is a strong opening issue. Sure, it is definately for G.I Joe fans with a recent understanding of the story, but I think just about anyone could still enjoy this for what it is.