Comic Publishers

June 4, 2010

IDW Reviews: G.I. Joe: Hearts and Minds #1

Publisher: IDW
Writer: Max Brooks
Artist(s): Howard Chaykin & Antonio Fuso
Cover: Howard Chaykin

“Major Bludd/Spirit”: G.I. Joe: Hearts and Minds basically focuses on two people (in this issue Major Bludd & Spirit) and gives us a peek into their character and what drives them.  This is probably one of the G.I. Joe titles that I’ve been more skeptical about, in part due to my ignorance, and the other reason would be preference of artistic style.

Part one of the book focuses on Major Bludd, and in eleven pages Max Brooks sums up what has been driving him all of these years.  Basically, he has no intention of ending up like his grandfather and father before him, and to ensure his success he has gone to great and extreme lengths to be the man he feels they failed to be. It doesn’t seem as if he’s driven by hate or greed, but love for his family to do the things he does to provide for them.  Showing this family oriented side right along with the killer and mercenary that Bludd also is was a bit of a shock, but it’s always good when a character can be fleshed out beyond the readers’ preconceived notions.

Spirit’s story explains his aptitude for tracking, and how this condition unfortunately helped to fuel the racist stereotypes concerning Native Americans, which he’s had to endure throughout his life.  In the beginning, this ability was more of a curse, but as time passed he learned to control it and make use of it in the military.  Once he was able to do this effectively, it seemed as if he was more at peace with himself.  I know it may sound like something out of X-Men, but Brooks keeps it firmly grounded in reality for the entire part of Spirit’s story.

Now, I’m a fan of Max Brooks’s World War Z and his other zombie related books, but I was unsure how he’d do here on a G.I. Joe title.  In my ignorance I had pigeonholed Brooks as just a “zombie” writer, instead of just a “writer”.  Hearts and Minds is a good read, though it goes by pretty quick, but there wasn’t a lot of dialogue necessary to move the story.  Brooks expanded on these two “lower tier” characters in very unexpected ways, but kept it believable and interesting without straying far from what has already been established.  If you’re a longtime G.I. Joe fan, then you are getting a richer history in Major Bludd and Spirit; and if you’re new, then this is a great intro to these guys.

Though Max Brooks handles the writing for the entire issue, the art is split between Howard Chaykin (Major Bludd) and Antonio Fuso (Spirit).  This is where I was really skeptical, because I’m not fond of Chaykin’s style, and being that the only work that I liked of his was a Nick Fury/Wolverine book from many years back, I doubted even picking up this book.  Though I’m glad I changed my mind about grabbing this issue, there was nothing that changed it about Chaykin’s artwork.  Though it wasn’t all bad, it’s just not for me, and I’m cool with that; I just hope that any Chaykin fans out there will respect my opinion.  Fuso’s work was good, though after the first five pages of the story I do think the level dropped a bit, but it didn’t hinder the story.  I did like the scene where a younger Spirit is being assaulted by all the sights and sounds around him, as that page stood out the most from all the others.

I’m going to keep with G.I. Joe: Hearts and Minds a little longer, since the next issue spotlights Firefly and Tripwire.  I’m interested to see what Brooks can do with these guys that don’t get as much face time as Snake Eyes and Destro, because so far the title is well worth it for an origin type book!

Infinite Speech



  1. I agree with you, it was a fast read, but I was into it. Major Bludd reminded me a lot of the Kingpin character in Punisher MAX: A killing bad ass who’s a family man at heart.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack, Comic Attack. Comic Attack said: @IDWPublishing Reviews: GI JOE: HEARTS & MINDS #1 by fan favorite writer, Max Brooks! #comics #GIJoe […]

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