Here’s a fact that everyone should just know: there’s your every day run of the mill ninja and then there is Snake Eyes. So if you’re going to pick a fight with the deadliest G.I. Joe ever, then you better have the testicular fortitude to back it all up. Well, there’s a man who seems to have just that as he’s sent a clear message to Snake Eyes by having his students killed who were the various martial arts themed characters on the Joe team. Khalikhan is one of many in the running to take the mantle as the new Cobra Commander, and let’s be honest, if he’s able to take out Snake Eyes his position is pretty much solidified.
The issue starts off with Snake Eyes along with a three man team (who we actually know this time) searching for Khalikhan’s secret base. The problem is this base is located on the face of a mountain and only opens its doors once a month to take in supplies. Being that he doesn’t talk, the rest of the team is in the dark about why they’re there, but the fact that they trust Snake Eyes with their lives speaks quite loud. Especially during the fight scene on the side of the snow covered mountain thousands of feet high.
For a story focused on a guy that can’t speak and doesn’t show his face, this issue far surpasses the previous Cobra Civil War titles. Much of it is the choice of characters that Dixon chose to surround Snake Eyes with, as we get Alpine, Helix, and Iceberg. All of whom are known to some degree, unlike the many “new” Joes that have been thrown into the various Cobra Civil War books just to end up dead in two panels. The dialog between the characters is sharp and isn’t bogged down with too much military speak that distracts from the main story. Alpine and Iceberg are a very good balance against characters like Snake Eyes and Helix, as they provide a bit of the lighter moments in the story, but with a seriousness in getting the job done. We are also treated to several flashback moments that flesh out events that seem to have happened during G.I. Joe #1.
Robert Atkins’s visuals in this issue are just sick! The amount of detail and great artwork isn’t reserved just for splash pages, as you will be getting it in every panel. I’m really hoping he’s able to keep up this level of quality work through the entire series, because he’s set the bar pretty high for himself. The vast mountain scenes look fantastic with the various angles, along with the action sequence towards the end. Augustin Padilla handles the flashback scenes, and again it’s a style that looks good and fits perfectly well since it’s completely different from Atkins’s work.
When you have a title that focuses on one of the most noticeable and famous G.I. Joes, then you have to bring your “A” game. So far that’s what this creative team has done with the beginning of this series, and I’d suggest checking it out immediately. It’s pure fun and it’s got one of the greatest ninja of all time slicing through Cobra troops. However, I am more excited to see how Dixon fleshes out this Khalikhan character, because aside from Stormshadow, not too many people have been shown to have what it takes to go up against Snake Eyes.