G.I. Joe The Cobra Civil War: An Overview
By Tao Mori
November 13, 2011 - 11:40
Publisher(s): IDW Publishing
Writer(s): Chuck Dixon, Mike Costa
Penciller(s): Casey Maloney, Will Rosado, Javier Saltares
Inker(s): Christopher Ivy, Juan Castro
Colourist(s): Simon Gough, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Arianna Florean
Letterer(s): Neil Uyetake, Shawn Lee
In the most general sense, G.I. Joe is about an anti-terrorist organization that hunts especially bad terrorist organizations such as Cobra. Cobra is a powerful and secretive organization that has tendrils all around the world doing various things from arms dealing, drug running, destabilization of nations and so on. If its bad, Cobra does it.
I started doing reviews for each of the three issues that were coming out under the moniker of Cobra Civil War, but I got behind, a lot, so I decided I would do a larger view of the entire series up to the issues of 7 for the general Cobra Civil War: G.I. Joe and issues 6 of Cobra Civil War: Snake Eyes and Cobra Civil War: Cobra. Or at least those are the issues that I've read to. No one else on the site has looked much at this series, but if you look around you can find an issue to issue reviews. One website Generaljoes has even been keeping a scorecard on how many joes and cobras have died in the series. Yes this isn't your 1980s cartoon of G.I. Joe where the two sides shoot lazers at each other all day and yet everyone gets to come home safe. I always thought that was pretty ridiculous in the cartoons, but then the series was for children. The Marvel comics was considerably more grim than the cartoons, but I would say that these newer issues depict a far more violent G.I. Joe world than ever before. Still if you want G.I. Joe without violence, well then I think you should probably read something else.
So the the whole Cobra Civil War thing came under being because the previous Cobra Commander was shot in the head by Chuckles. Chuckles is well known in the G.I. Joe universe for being the spy joe who wears the Hawaiian shirts, which he was. Somehow Chuckles got to know the Cobra organization very well and was able to almost become a member. G.I. Joe knows very little about what's going on within the Cobra organization and yet Chuckles has lunch with Cobra high command. Chuckles exploits his closeness to the commander to shoot the commander himself and then blow up the Cobra base, which prompts this Cobra competition to replace the commander with a new one. Cobra Commander has a short tenure, which is mind boggling to me considering how important Cobra Commander is. Now the series is trying to replace him with another Cobra Commander, but Cobra Commander is supposed to be a character all by himself, he is not supposed to be replaced. He's also not supposed to be removed to begin with. Anyway the competition that the Cobra Council (whoever they are) sets out to various Cobra bigwigs is that they have to kill as many G.I. Joes as possible.
Though this image here is tiny, it shows all the various potential leaders of Cobra. Well except that the Cobra Council said that Serpentor (the guy in the snake get up) can't be Cobra Commander, but that hasn't stopped him from manipulating the situation. Destro also isn't in the running, and we haven't seen a whole lot from him in this series at all, so I'm kind of wondering why they even bothered with him. Maybe they just wanted to get 9 nice images together and they threw Destro in there for kicks. Then again, maybe he'll play a larger role later on, even though this series is near completion. Issue 8 of Cobra Civil War: G.I. Joe is supposed to reveal the new Cobra Commander. If this was Larry Hama writing, it'd be the original Cobra Commander come back from the dead, but no sadly this is Chuck Dixon's brain child, so it'll be... yeah I have no idea at this point.
When the series first came out I thought that Khalikhan would have a good shot at being the Cobra Commander. Snake Eyes destroyed that prediction. I shouldn't have been surprised as Khalikhan went straight after Snake-Eyes by killing all of his ninja buddies. The G.I. Joe ninja force in the Marvel series was huge, I suspect because Hasbro told Larry Hama to make them huge because Ninjas were really popular in the 90s. Hey I was a kid back then, I remember how cool I thought the ninja force was despite their bright colored costumes. Back then nobody messed with the G.I. Joe ninjas because they would kick your butt. Slice and Dice were also a joke back then too. They were the comic ninjas who couldn't really accomplish anything and whenever they saw Snake-Eyes or Stormshadow (he was good then) coming after them, they would run away. Slice and Dice are far more mean in this series, but they're just as martially inept and Snake-Eyes beats the two of them despite facing them both at the same time. Khalikhan is surprised by this (moron) and then gets killed. Hey you go up against Snake-Eyes you die. For future reference, don't go up against Snake-Eyes. He can't lose. He's the superman of G.I. Joe as no matter what happens to him, he will always win. Well I guess I can't blame Khalikhan for his arrogance, I thought he had a chance too, how quickly that went down the drain.
If you want to catch Snake-Eyes and all his ninja awesomeness then Cobra Civil War: Snake Eyes is the one you want to read. If you only read G.I. Joe to see Snake Eyes kick Cobra butt, then this is the issue you want to read. Though alas Duke does make an appearance in issue 5, because he gets a virus and Snake Eyes helps Duke go find Vargas and kick his butt. Despite Vargas' cool virus, he doesn't stand much of a chance against Snake Eyes. Vargas was silly enough to put himself on Snake-Eyes' radar, which means that he's not going to live very long. Somehow Kwinn shows up at the end of Issue 6, though his facial tattoos are very distracting. I'm excited to see Kwinn in this series as he was pretty awesome in the Marvel comics. I just hope that he isn't too cliche.
This issue, which was number 3 of the general Cobra Civil War: G.I. Joe had Zartan and Stormshadow infiltrate the G.I. Joe headquarters and blow it up. That's the kind of awesome that we expect from Stormshadow. Helix tries to fight Stormshadow, which is crazy as she's no ninja. She gave it a good effort though. It's odd how much face time Helix has gotten in the comic as she isn';t one of the original characters, in fact she only came into existence two years ago with only one figure of herself and then IDW did a one-shot comic of her and Duke. Even more odd is that in that one shot she was Asian, and now she's a Caucasian. Not the same, Helx? No the abilities are the same... weird. Zartan is no biker goon like he was in the Marvel series. Perhaps this is good, as the Dreadnoks were the comic relief of G.I. Joe and we don't really need them. The Dreadnoks reduced Zartan's credibility as a bad dude, rather than improved it. This isn't to say that bikers are something to be made fun, but the Dreadnoks were always depicted as incompetent fools who screwed things up. If they weren't messing with Zartan's high tech gear they were taking chainsaws to aircraft. Chainsaws to aircraft? Just thinking about that hurts my brain.
Anyway before I go too far off my tangent, the Cobra bigwig responsible for the destruction of the G.I. Joe base was Oda Satori. I still think he has a big chance of winning, mostly because he has Storm Shadow and Zartan. Also the joes haven't had much contact with Satori in person. This could change come the next issue, but so far Satori appears to be untouchable. The Baroness is the exact opposite of this as she has been captured by G.I. Joe. One of the covers for Issue 7, has Flint with his arm around Baroness's throat. Yeah I think her odds of being Cobra Commander are kind of low. Also surprisingly Major Bludd has been a strong contender for the position of Cobra Commander due to his infiltrator within G.I. Joe and then for being responsible for taking down the submarine that G.I. Joe had turned into their mobile base. Yeah G.I. Joe is kind of sucking hard right now. I had at first thought Major Bludd was a joke cause he's an Australian mercenary who writes poetry. That sounds pretty lame, but nope he's actually kind of hardcore in the series so far.
The other Cobra bigwigs who I think still have a shot at winning are of course Krake and potentially Serpentor. Despite Tomax's best efforts he doesn't stand a chance. That puts Krake, Serpentor, Major Bludd and Oda Satori at the top of my list. Vargas is as good as dead, Tomax is all over the place emotionally, and the Baroness is in G.I. Joe hands. That leaves Destro, but who knows what he's up to or if he even has a shot in all of this. Maybe he rescues Baroness, well he ought to. Krake is pretty hardcore, but he likes to get his hands dirty, which is very unCobra Commander like. Oda Satori seems like a safe bet as he's more behind the scenes, which is very Cobra Commander like. Major Bludd has been doing a lot of damage recently, but he's still only a Major. It's not like he's General Bludd or anything. Yeah that's not a great dismissal, but he's a small picture guy, not a big picture guy. He also likes to get his hands dirty too, and with stupid stuff like drug deals. Cobra Commander is probably rolling in his grave right now. Serpentor is very much behind the scenes pulling strings, which I is why I don't rule him out despite the fact that he's not supposed to be in the race at all.
Final concluding paragraph. The series has been pretty good. There have been some hiccups. The artwork has all been spectacular, then again I'm more of a story guy myself. Though there are times when a lot of effort goes into making some drawings really good, and then other drawings look like they've been put together really quick. I imagine one can't spend their time putting 100% effort into every panel, but still it stands out when you're looking for it. If you like action and Snake-Eyes you'll like G.I. Joe. In some ways its far more realistic than ever. It is violent though, so parents keep that in mind when introducing your kids to G.I. Joe. If anything start at the beginning with Marvel issues, but of course IDW owns that all now, but they are being pretty spectacular in reprinting all of the old issues in paperback. If you haven't ever read G.I. Joe and you read this whole thing, then I apologize, this probably made no sense whatsoever. Anyway just go get the reprints of the first few issues of this series and you can get caught up into what's going on.
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