Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
GI Joe: America's Elite #28
Powers, Bear, Beaulieu, Crowley
World War III - Part 4 of 12. This is a long arc. Twelve parts could take a year or more, given delays, and that could be tough on the old memory. However, so far, this story has delivered.
This issue advanced the overall plot with one sub-plot and then includes one smaller self-contained story as has been a similar formula for the past three installments of this series.
However, rather than a small team of Joes rounding up a Cobra operative, it is a Joe who is rounded up. Duke and his father are prisoners. A Cobra newcomer, introduced in the latest Special Missions, interrogates both Duke and his father using vastly different methods. Manipulating the father with lies to get to the son, who is watching behind the two-way mirror is brilliant stuff. This story really brings a huge jump in character development in Duke. We see a mini-declassified story of Duke's upbringing, the loss of his mother, his enrollment in the Army, his falling out with his father and even the origin of his codename. All great stuff. This takes away much of the Duke mystique, but makes the character more real. To me, Duke is no a "blah" character.
Between segments of mind torture with Duke and his dad, Blackout boards a submarine and starts the actual war in America. This advanced the overall story arc in a big way. Up until now we had seen skirmishes and smaller battles open up around the globe. This is the first assault in America and in such a huge way.
There were some smaller additions to the overall plot as well.
For one thing, this issue sees the further bonding (or manipulation) between Cobra Commander and Destro's son, Alexander. This has been very small in overall page count but very powerful as Cobra Commander tempts Destro's son to see things his way. It has a very Darth Vader-Emperor feel to it, except both of these guys where masks.
We also see a conversation between Tomax and Rourke (Agent Delta?) about hiring Rourke to kill the Prime Minister of Israel. I don’t know who Rourke is and I don’t know if I am supposed to know or not, but he immediately contacts the Pentagon. It adds to the mystery all that much more for this story. Although, if I am supposed to know who Rourke is/was then shame on me.
One last small plot point is that Hawk and Joe discuss how all 203 GI Joes are not active. This is good and bad. This series has had it's focus on smaller teams to develop the individual's characters. This has been the bread and butter for each issue and the inclusion of all the GI Joe roster could degenerate into the "Yo Joe!" days of the cartoon very quickly. This is good because it means Storm Shadow must show himself. He is either a Joe or not. Or he could not show himself just to keep me angry. Whatever.
Oh yeah, the Oktober Guard hold a meeting with Falcon and Vorona showing up. I can't remember these people from the previous DDP run and to be honest, I thought they were dead. Vorona looked an awful lot like Cover Girl to me and it confused me.
The Duke prisoner plot is resolved in this issue with a bit of a let down. Roadblock tracks them down and leads to a gun pointed at gun situation. I expected some death. Read it for yourself to decide, but I didn’t like it. What I found interesting was that the Cobra Interrogator called Duke "sergeant" and up until now I thought Duke was a classified rank….hmmmm. I also loved when Duke pulled rank on Roadblock and orders him to shoot. Always cool.
Art work is awesome. Bear has it all down. He even captured Duke as a youngster flawlessly.
The series, story and issue are just about the best out there in the non-super hero genre. If you have only seen the cartoon, only read the Marvel run or haven’t seen or read anything beyond playing with the gung-fu grip Joes this issue is an excellent read. Spy meets military.
5 out of 5 geek goggles.
Americas Elite #28