Comic Publishers

August 27, 2010

IDW Publishing Reviews: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero # 157

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

“A Real American Hero”: After things got off to a pretty fast paced start last issue, there was the expectation that things might slow down a bit here. After taking a look at the cover I pretty much threw that assumption out, and rightly so. Right after we get to see Stalker seriously own a Cobra trooper, we shift back to where we left the Cobra inner circle from G.I. Joe: ARAH 155 1/2. Destro and Dr. Mindbender notice some weird “coincidences” between the late Dr. Venom’s virus that Mindbender is trying to purge from their computer systems, and the fact that Billy (who is in another room sparring with Baroness) is repeating the video loop of the late Doctor almost word for word.

We also get to see another Joe on the run from a Cobra hit team, and it’s proving a bit difficult, because the Cobra troops are perceived as the good guys and just can’t spray the park with gun fire and hope to kill Rock & Roll. This helps the fugitive Joe, and with the expert timing of General Hawk he’s able to get away so they can meet up with Snake Eyes, Duke, and Scarlett, but little do they know, Storm Shadow and a team of ninja are on their trail and tracking them quite effectively.

I’ve got to give it up to Hama as he’s taken the Joes out of their comfort zone and made them seem like more of a Black Ops team of renegades than the cocky good guys they were portrayed as in their heyday. The team seems to have a rougher edge now as well, which is acceptable as long as it doesn’t sacrifice the story or the characters’ image. So far we’ve been given what seems like the natural progression of the G.I. Joe mythos, as a lot of things have changed in the world since 1994, and it is being reflected in the work here. Hopefully that can manifest in the form of a costume change for Destro and Dr. Mindbender, because I think it’s time those guys to put some shirts on.

Now as good as the issue was, there were a couple of things that annoyed the hell out of me. For one, the Arashikage symbol of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow’s ninja clan was drawn very wrong in a few panels but done correctly in one. It’s a definitive symbol for these characters and is displayed prominently on Snake Eyes’s costume and katana. Getting this wrong is like screwing up the “S” on Superman’s chest, so I hope it’s not a continued mistake. The other is that Storm Shadow adds an “S” on the end of the word ninja. He’s Japanese and trained as a ninja and speaks Japanese, so shouldn’t he know that the word “ninja” is already in its plural form? Yeah, it may seem a bit minor, but things like that stand out like a sore thumb for those that catch it.

Now one thing I can’t complain much about is Padilla’s overall artwork for the book. The guy is doing some very good stuff, and even though I’m personally not a fan of the heavy ink style, he makes it seem to work here. The backgrounds could use a bit more detail at times, though, but the action keeps your eye moving from panel to exciting panel.

Larry Hama has picked the ball up and ran with it, scored a touchdown, and is doing a victory dance in the end zone! G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero is on the right track to be THE Joe book in my opinion, when compared to Chuck Dixon’s G.I. Joe title also from IDW. I know there’s something for everyone, but G.I. Joe: RAH is a return to the original with a new flavor, and that flavor is awesome!

Infinite Speech



  1. Hands down, this is the best JOE title on the shelves!

  2. Twitter Trackbacks…

  3. I have to agree with you there Andy and I actually dropped the other title and put this on my pull list at my LCS. The only thing I’m not really diggin’ about this title is the price. $3.99? Really? Can I get a few more pages of story and art then?

  4. Paul Halbach

    I’m in on this one and so far, it has not disappointed. But Larry is slowly creeping back to the one story line that killed the series, he’s bringing back the ninja bulls#^t!!!! It helped kill the original series and I hope that Larry has the good sense to keep them to a minimum, so minimum that you don’t see, hear, smell or taste them. They were the worst part of the original G.I. Joe, though if he keeps them to just Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow, I think he can keep the series afloat. Any more, and he’ll sink the series as he did in the 90’s.

  5. I think what killed the series in the 90s was that everyone was moving on to something else in the industry and the comics actually just became ads for the struggling toy line. Add to that that the industry as a whole was struggling to keep readers interested and I think that there was no definitive story for the Joes anymore. A lot of us who grew up reading the title had moved on and there really wasn’t an attempt to capture and hold NEW readers.

    It’s only been two issues into the new series and the only ninja to show up are Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. The other ninja that showed up with Storm Shadow are merely fodder, but it makes sense that to assassinate a ninja as good as Snake Eyes you wouldn’t sent the run of the mill Cobra trooper or even a Viper to do the job. You would send another ninja or 10.

    I do agree that too much focus on the ninja will negate the purpose of having anyone else on the team. Maybe Hama can have a mini spin off that focuses on them instead of taking up space in the regular title.

  6. […] Real American Hero”: After reading this issue I had to go back and read #157 again, because it seems as if I had missed something, or a few things actually. This issue starts […]

  7. […] arrived on the battlefield. However, as much as I enjoyed some of his work, I actually miss seeing Agustin Padilla’s work which gave an edgier look to the story. I also noticed that he drew Sneak-Peek, and if I […]

  8. […] for sending the assassins is in the running for the role of Cobra Commander. It was good to see Padilla’s artwork again, and it totally fits what I’d want in a series filled with fast paced action […]

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