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REVIEW: COBRA COMMANDER

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REVIEW: COBRA COMMANDER

4.30/5.0 Stars
Rating if the Book Were a Movie:  PG-13

Creative Team:

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Andrea Milana
Colors: Annalisa Leoni
Letters: Rus Wooton
Cover: Andrea Milana and Annalisa Leoni
Editor: Sean Mackiewicz and Jonathan Manning
Publisher: Skybound Entertainment and Image Comics 

Ratings:

Story: 4.6 Stars
Artwork: 4.0 Stars
Cover Artwork: 4.0 Stars
Dialogue: 4.3 Stars
Mechanics: 4.2 Stars
Editing: 4.7 Stars 

About the Book:

Cobra La is a group of humanoid organisms that once lived on the surface. The Ice Age, coupled with homo sapiens discovering how to make stone tools and weapons drove them beneath the surface in the Himalayas. There they spent centuries perfecting biotechnology. An extraterrestrial energy source called Energon has been discovered by a Cobra La scientist. This scientist is ambitious and power hungry. He has seen how science can  be used as a weapon. The ruler of Cobra La, Golobulus, has allowed this scientist to return to the surface to recruit soldiers for a war against humanity.

Reader’s Notes:

When it comes to new content, there are two types of fans for any franchise. There’s the fan that is ecstatic to be getting another story, just because they love the franchise. Then there’s the fan that nitpicks every single detail of the new material to find things that contradict canon.

Before I go any further I want to disclose that I am a huge fan of both the G.I. Joe and the Transformers franchises. Am I as well versed as my friends Cover Girl and Devastator, both of whom have been credited for their comic book work with these franchises? Absolutely not. I like to think I’m the next rung down on the ladder though.

I split the difference between the two types of fans. Of course I want new content! I want as many stories as time and my reading queue will allow. I also want the creators to get the story right. I want characters depicted correctly. I want the story to recapture the magic.

Williamson and company have done just that with the first issue of “Cobra Commander”. We get to see the society Cobra La has created beneath the surface. This is something that has seldom been touched on in comics.

We get to see how Cobra Commander has always used creativity with science in an attempt to emerge victorious. Sometimes his ideas are brilliant. Others go horribly wrong and leave him lucky to be alive. It’s comforting to find this consistently throughout various platforms and a multitude of writers.

Williamson has taken the game to another level by including Cobra La and making this story a crossover. I am loving it. This has to be one of the most original AND plausible concepts to bring the two franchises I’ve come across.

Traditionally the plot seems to be:

  1. Cobra discovers a Decepticon and convinces Decepticon to engage in battle with the Joe team. 
  2. Decepticon’s superior firepower makes quick work of the Joes, forcing a retreat. Enter Autobots that were alerted to Decepticon presence. 
  3. Joes attack Autobots, not realizing there are multiple factions of robots. 
  4. Autobots convince Joes of their honorable intentions. 
  5. United Autobots and Joes go into battle and emerge victorious, in part due to a mistake by an overzealous Starscream or Cobra Commander.
  6. Comradery conversation between Joes and Autobots while promising to have each other’s backs in the future.
  7. Roll credits.

Seeing something that looks nothing like this formula gives me high hopes for the series. This plot gives us a great foundation for an origin story and a crossover that children across the land were enacting in their living rooms for the better part of the second half of the 80’s.

I like how this cover is done. We see Cobra Commander rising from beneath the surface with body language that makes it clear he will end anyone that crosses him. It is a glimpse of the ruthlessness that we have come to know so well. It also gives us a teaser of the crossover by having the Ark in the background. If that wasn’t enough for you, this cover is also a well done homage to “Wolverine” #1.

The artwork in the interior pages is not as detailed as I’d have liked in some panels. I was hoping to get a better view of Golobulus. In some panels the omission of some detail is probably a good thing. We didn’t need to have extremely graphic panels when the Insecticons went to work.

I’ve been reading Larry Hama’s ongoing “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” series for some time now. His work with that title has been tremendous for years. It’s like going to the ice cream shop and getting all those great flavors. “Cobra Commander” is like discovering the station in the ice cream shop where you can get a waffle cone, whipped cream, fudge, or sprinkles, as well. As a lifelong fan of both franchises, this hero on a budget highly recommends checking out “Cobra Commander” #1.

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I grew up loving all things geek. I started reading and collecting comics when I was 8. My personal collection has roughly 8,000 books in it. When I’m not doing something geek-related I love spending time with my amazing wife and kids, gaming, and working on cross stitch projects.

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