G.I. Joe Classics #1
Okay, this is where I usually post the publisher and cover date. I wish I was certain! Look, this is a reprint of the first Marvel comic (June, 1982) by IDW Publishing (cover date I have no @#$%@# clue). I usually go to the Grand Comics Database but they don’t recognize a G.I. Joe Classics from IDW. The only IDW listing is G.I. Joe: The Complete Collection, which I think is some kind of omnibus. It is free to read as of this writing (and with a better reader than either of Amazon’s Kindle online readers but not as good as the now killed comiXology online reader…thanks, Amazon!) on IDW’s site, with a sell date of 5/21/2015 but that’s all I could find.
I’m using the comiXology posting because I’m moving the digital library review to Thursday and the short series from my physical collection on Friday. That means I go back and forth between physical and digital comics, which works for me personally. Anyway, here’s the credits since I can at least trust them. I think.
“Operation: Lady Doomsday”
WRITER: Larry Hama
PENCILER: Herb Trimpe
INKER: Bob McLeod
COLORIST: Glynis Wein
LETTERER: Jim Novak
EDITOR: Tom DeFalco
A scientist, feeling she’s working on a “doomsday project” for the government, decided to expose the project. The terror group Cobra and their mysterious leader, Cobra Commander, kidnaps the scientist during a press conference on a train in the hopes of learning her secrets. The only hope for recovery is Special Counter Terrorist Group Delta, codenamed G.I. Joe. They can’t bomb the island because of the civilians living there, but Cobra kills them all anyway as Cobra Commander anticipates all of the Joes’ plan. What he doesn’t prepare for is the government-hating scientist trying to help her would-be rescuers, allowing the Joes the opening they need to successfully make that rescue as Cobra Commander and Baroness escape.
Let’s just really break formula here (since we’ve started) because what interests me in this case is how different this comic is from the cartoon I grew up with. The only Marvel Joe comics I have were crossovers with The Transformers so I wasn’t prepared for Cobra Commander to actually be competent as leader of Cobra. His famous ego was missing and he actually played the Joes well. It was only a factor he didn’t plan on that cost him the victory. Meanwhile he was ruthless enough to kill an entire village just to rub it in the Joes face during the rescue operation. He knew the government wanted to get her back to save face and used that against them as well.
Meanwhile the scientist doesn’t change her views on the government but is happy to see people with scruples in the military–not aware that some of the members of the team (including Scarlet and Snake Eyes) would have been happy to shoot her “traitorous” head off to protect her secrets and call it a day. They were only following orders, though some on the team were in favor of the rescue and wanted to bury the villagers, ordered not to because it would take time away from their part of the plan…useless as it turned out to be.
It’s great writing, don’t misunderstand. However, I like the cartoon’s interpretation better. I don’t care what the real world scenario would be because I live in the real world and don’t necessarily need it in my fiction. I like my heroes of strong moral conviction who wouldn’t consider killing the scientist except as a last resort, but then never consider the option. I kind of prefer this take on Cobra Commander as it makes him more of a threat but I’m not as keen on this version of the Joes. I like fiction to be the world as I wish it was, not some cynical idea of how it is, despite which one is more accurate to real life. It’s called fiction for a reason. That said, I totally understand why some fans of the franchise prefer this version. It is good writing with interesting characters. I just have my preferences.