Comic Publishers

August 17, 2010

IDW Publishing Reviews: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero # 156

Publisher: IDW
Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: Agustin Padilla
Cover: Agustin Padilla

“A Real American Hero”: It was during FCBD that we were treated to G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero # 155 1/2, which picks up directly where the old series (then published by Marvel) had left off many years ago. Now the man that helped define a franchise, Larry Hama, returns to continue his story, and let’s just say that the Joes weren’t in a good place towards the end of that run. The team had been disbanded and their base shut down while COBRA still remained at large.

In this issue we find that Martial Law has been declared and Cobra, now called “The Coordinated Order By Righteous Americans” (or C.O.B.R.A. for short), is helping to reinforce the already taxed National Guard maintain order. Part of that task is keeping an eye out for the secret military group that has gone rogue and “might” be affiliated with terrorists, the G.I. Joe team. So with C.O.B.R.A. having free reign across the country to operate openly, the Joes are attempting to come together in secret. This being known, C.O.B.R.A. has set up several obstacles to stop this from happening; however, we all know how resourceful the Joes can be when backed into a corner. So this issue focuses on various members, from Duke to Snake-Eyes, and even Mainframe gets in on the action, as they begin to rebuild their team and go after Cobra Commander and his organization.

It’s been a little over fifteen years since this series was canceled, and Larry Hama has brought the continuity of the Marvel G.I. Joe franchise back to comics the way it should be. The series doesn’t seem dated, nor does his portrayal of the characters; actually, it doesn’t seem like too much time has passed between the issues. Having the Joes in hiding and without the backing of the U.S. Government is a great way to start this thing off, especially with C.O.B.R.A. basically taking their (G.I. Joes’) place as protectors of the people. So there should be an explanation of how things came to this point in the future issues, just to flesh some things out for us.

The artwork is growing on me, and one thing I did notice about Padilla’s style is that he draws these guys like regular people. The Joes aren’t built like Superman and Captain America, but normal people who are called upon to do extraordinary things, and I like that Padilla’s artwork reflects that. I remember checking out several of the other incarnations of this franchise, and in some I didn’t know if I was reading G.I. Joe or a superhero book from one of the Big Two. Not so here. Padilla also did an excellent job with the ninja ambush sequence, which was my favorite next to Mainframe’s escape from a C.O.B.R.A. ambush. You really can’t go wrong with Snake-Eyes taking on ten C.O.B.R.A. ninja!

This is still a decent jumping on issue for anyone who wants to get in on this turning point for the G.I. Joe team. To help fans out, I know that the original Marvel series has been collected in trade form by IDW (9 volumes, leading up to issue #89 to date). Now, with more than one G.I. Joe title on the shelf, comparisons are bound to be made, and even though I like IDW’s G.I. Joe title, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero definitely raises the stakes a bit, and may be the only one I collect if Hama keeps the story going this strong. Great story telling mixed with his military knowledge, as well as his longtime affiliation with these characters, should make for some great moments and have fans yelling “YOOOOO JOE!!” once again!

Infinite Speech



  1. Billy

    Great review man! This series sounds and looks fantastic!

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  3. It truly is Billy! I’m debating picking up those trades of the original series because there is NO WAY IN HELL I’m going longbox diving to read some of those old issues to catch up on a few things lol

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