The first comic that I collected from start to finish was Larry Hama’s run on the original G.I. Joe- A Real American Hero. Hama helped Hasbro develop the characters, and his military background and attention to detail helped ground the action and make it a believable drama that could be enjoyed by audiences both young and old. My dad liked it too.
The latest incarnation of G.I. Joe is part of Hasbro’s attempt at building its own shared universe which includes the ever popular Transformers, M.A.S.K., Rom The Spaceknight and The Micronauts. The ten-year old kid that still lives inside my head loves the idea of all these characters existing together. It’s like one big toy box! And, with the exception of M.A.S.K., these properties have already existed in a shared universe when they were licensed by Marvel Comics throughout the 70’s and 80’s. Spidey met the Transformers! The X-Men battled the Dire Wraiths! The FF got sucked into the Microverse! None of it should have worked, but it did. In the capable hands of writers like Hama and Bill Mantlo and drawn by legendary artists like Herb Trimpe, Steve Ditko, and Michael Golden, they crafted stories that were for designed for children without being childish. I haven’t checked out the rest of the Hasbro line, and it’s unlikely I will.
G.I. Joe #7 is a complete mess. The story by Aubrey Sitterson reads like a rip off of Marvel’s Civil War mashed up with the worst elements of the 80s Joe cartoon. The “Fatal Fluffies” weren’t cool in 1985, and they’re still not. The Joe Team is divided with Duke and Scarlett at odds. There’s a duel between Snake Eyes and Quick Kick shaping up. Hero vs hero conflict. Again. Yawn.
But the biggest offence is the art by Giannis Milonogiannis. His faux-manga style looks rushed and sloppy. The line work is so loose the characters appear to be unravelling. Facial features go missing between panels. Fifty foot tall robots appear weightless. The pages look like colored thumbnail sketches. If Hasbro considers G.I. Joe to be their “crown jewel” it’s certainly lacking in lustre. This is just exploitation of 80′ s nostalgia. If you’re looking for new tales about old toys, there’s better fan art and fiction on the internet. And it’s free.
Aubrey Sitterson (w) • Giannis Milonogiannis (a) • Aaron Conley (c)