Friday, March 12, 2010

COMIC REVIEW: G.I. Joe Origins #13 (IDW)

G.I. Joe Origins focuses on one of the lesser known Joes this month, Ripcord. In the old Marvel run, Rip had a few good issues, mostly focused around the Cobra Island storyline, but he could hardly be termed a major player. Whether that's going to change or not in this new IDW continuity is uncertain, but the character has certainly changed (and that's ok). Fanboys will probably argue over whether IDW is trying to cash in on lingering recognition of last summer's movie, or whether Hasbro has declared that Ripcord, across all media, is now the wise-guy/sidekick who wants to be a pilot. Ultimately it doesn't matter; that's who Wallace "Ripcord" Weems is now in the IDW Joe universe as well as the Rise of Cobra Joe universe. If you, as a Joe fan or comic reader, don't like that, steer clear.

If you don't fear change, this issue of origins is a solid return to being a military action comic, something the last issue certainly can't claim. And while I enjoyed that Baroness issue and its utterly-un-GI Joe-like art, it was a pretty big departure from the usual Joe fare, so it's probably a good move by IDW to return the reader to more familiar ground. Instead of a wealthy socialite joining the Revolution, paratroopers are jumping out of planes, Spy Drones are being deployed, and a bad-ass, highly motivated soldier is continuing his mission despite setbacks that should have completely scrubbed it.

What more does any Joe fan want? That was always the dominant theme of the Joe team; continuing against all odds, finding a way to get the job done, out-thinking and out-working an enemy that's been given the advantage. G.I. Joe Origins #13 delivers a really old-school G.I. Joe comic feel, and that's a good thing. It helps that Ripcord's wisecracking in this book is almost certainly better than in his film incarnation. Lest you think it is all about the writing though, a word on the art; it's not outstanding, but it gets the job done. The inks, by Walden Wong, are particularly evocative in a series of night-in-the-jungle scenes. One slight problem is that, occasionally, some of the faces become a little too similar, so that when a group of soldiers are standing close together, it is slightly difficult to pick out who is who. This is a minor quibble, though, with what is otherwise a book any Joe fan (provided they're willing to accept the changes to Ripcord's background, which I am) should enjoy. It isn't breaking any new ground, but it is telling the first part of a solid military action story, G.I. Joe style.

Dan Ford
Staff Reviewer

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