G.I. Joe #1 (2019) Spoiler-Free Review

Thanks to the folks at IDW Publishing, we got our hands on an advance copy of the new G.I. Joe #1, the first in a newly reimagined continuity. What do we think? Read on to find out!

G.I. Joe #1
Writer: Paul Allor | Art: Chris Evenhuis
Colors: Brittany Peer | Letters: Neil Uyetake | Editor: Bobby Curnow

I’ve long been the proponent of Paul Allor writing a new G.I. Joe series. His single volume of writing on the previous G.I. Joe continuity, The Search for Siren, combined an accessible and fun story that showed a genuine, passionate love for the franchise with an emotional core that gave new life to the previously one-note character Hashtag. IDW’s new series is not at all what I expected from a new ongoing masterminded by Paul – but it’s gripped me nonetheless.
Both Allor and Chris Evenhuis should be known to fans of IDW’s previous Hasbro titles, with Allor having written both the aforementioned G.I. Joe work and the amazing Clue miniseries, while Evenhuis provided art for the prologue to John Barber’s Action Man. However, while Evenhuis brings his distinctive, almost “cel shaded”-looking art over to this new series, Allor trades in the more absurdist comedy fans might be familiar with for a far more grounded and dramatic work – but unlike many “grounded and gritty” reboots of classic series, one with a distinctly hopeful tone that promises that change is possible and that challenge can always be overcome.
While the series’ premise of the paramilitary Cobra having forcibly conquered swathes of the United States doesn’t perhaps line up entirely with the current state of affairs, there’s certainly a timeliness to the idea of anti-fascists rebelling against a government who promise “order” in the form of oppression. The conceit of G.I. Joe maps onto this premise surprisingly well, with a good mix of new characters and reimagined classics in the core cast; in particular, the issue’s point-of-view character Tiger, is strongly-written – and his feelings of needing to do more but not knowing what are likely to resonate strongly with certain readers.
If you’re expecting Ballistic Battle Balls and orthodontists-turned-shirtless-mad-scientists, this probably isn’t the G.I. Joe comic for you – and, admittedly, I wouldn’t have thought it was for me, either. But this first issue provides such a cohesive declaration of intent and a well-realised world that I’m fully on-board for this new take on America’s highly-trained special mission force.

G.I. Joe #1 is out on Wednesday 18th September 2019, and can be bought on Comixology or from your local comics store. Discuss the issue in the G.I. Joe thread on our forums, or in our Discord server!