GI Joe (volume 4) #5 Preview and Review!

Writer: Karen Traviss
Art: Steve Kurth
Colorist: Kito Young
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Editor: John Barber

The Fall of GI Joe, Part 5

My thoughts on IDW’s latest GI Joe series are mixed. Traviss indeed writes fantastic political-military intrigue. Unfortunately, the long game she employs also works against it, as I’ve read all five issues it’s still setting up pieces for whatever payoff she has planned. This is even solicited as the first issue of a new arc, which makes no real sense in the story and with the issue title calling it out as the fifth part.
Perhaps it is more realistic to have half a dozen sides all playing against each other, but as a reader I find it overwhelming to keep track of what’s going on. I almost need a scoresheet to know who’s who and what they know. This is not helped by the introduction and use of Joshua Spinetti. Kurth draws him like a curly-haired Duke in a story where Duke is hanging around with the same people, everyone is in civvies, and multiple days pass between adjoining scenes so no one looks the same twice. I’ve read Avengers tales with Hank Pym, Clint Barton, and Steve Rogers all in civvies and had no problem keeping track of them, but these two… They’re just not different enough. Across these five issues I’ve seriously had at least three moments of going back and re-reading scenes with one because I thought it was the other.
The fans who want Tom Clancy or Call of Duty style GI Joe are probably loving this book, and well they should. In no way do I mean to say it’s a bad book. However, I also don’t think anything so far feels particularly like GI Joe. Nothing about this comic really needs the backstory and codenames and other conventions of GI Joe to be the story that it is, so any use of them feels like a concession rather than utilization. Me, I want absurd snake themes and mutants and robots and horrifically unrealistic combat vehicles. I never thought I’d say this, but right now I would love to see some ninjas show up.
As I said, my feelings are mixed. It’s a good book and I certainly appreciate that GI Joe is trying this new approach, as I’ve seen many fans request it. It’s just increasingly clear to me that while I can enjoy the story, it’s not the approach I prefer.
Favorite Line: “Y’know, I’ve been special forces long enough to know my own kind when I see ’em.” –Roadblock
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