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REVIEW: Duke #2

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REVIEW: Duke #2

4.45/5.0 Stars
Rating if the Book Were a Movie:  PG-13

Creative Team:

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Tom Reilly
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Rus Wooton
Cover: Tom Reilly
Editors: Sean Mackiewicz and Jonathan Manning
Publisher: Skybound Entertainment/Image Comics 

Ratings:

Story: 4.7 Stars
Artwork: 4.2 Stars
Cover Artwork: 4.2 Stars
Dialogue: 4.3 Stars
Mechanics: 4.5 Stars
Editing: 4.8 Stars 

About the Book:

An attempt to gather intelligence about a plane that changed into a robot led to a nasty incident at a M.A.R.S. Industries site for Duke. Afterwards he decides to see his old war buddy, Clutch. From there Duke can lick his wounds and figure out the next plan. It’s good plan until some highly trained military specialists crash the party. One is certainly ready to Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Reader’s Notes:

Full disclosure. When it comes to the G.I. Joe franchise Duke was never my favorite character. I blame the marketing department. The first episodes of the animated series I remember watching were the ones from the “Pyramid of Darkness” miniseries in early 1986. While Duke was featured, a lot of the attention was placed on Snake Eyes. Shortly after that I bought my first G.I. Joe comic book.

This issue was part of a story arc that did not include Duke. The cartoon was trying to roll out new characters that were hitting the toy aisle as well. My favorites were the characters I could create my own adventures with. Duke was never available in stores when I was hunting for more figures, so he was relegated to the back burner.

To me, Duke was like that uber popular person in high school. Everyone knew who he was; but that didn’t mean we knew him. This series has been a wonderful opportunity to get reacquainted with someone I have known from a distance for years.

It isn’t just our title character, either. “Duke” has given us the opportunity to see more of the personalities of characters that were phased out after the first year or two. Clutch’s skill with the ladies reminds me of someone I know. I don’t think the lug nut has ever drawn a complete blank on a woman’s name the morning after. They’ve had some memorable moments though.

This is the ideal way to develop a character. If a character reminds people of someone they know they are more apt to gravitate towards that character. Give that character a good role in a compelling story and you’re onto something. That’s what we saw with Clutch in the second issue of “Duke”.

I also appreciate how we continue to get nods and Easter eggs to previous incarnations of the franchise. I loved seeing the Pit from the 80’s again. On behalf of  diehard fans everywhere, please continue with this trend.

I enjoyed how the artwork was done for this cover. It gives us the promise of action. Moreover, it creates intrigue. Who are Duke’s assailants? How did he get in this situation? That gets a book added to the stack at the comic book store.

I like how Reilly and Bellaire bring the characters to life with their work on the interior pages. Their work gives the story an edge that takes it to another level. I was thrilled to see the other prisoner make an appearance.

With its second installment “Duke” is shifting away from being a spy thriller. The path it is on seems to be putting it more in step with other G.I. Joe titles. As a geek on a budget who loves the franchise, I’m okay with that. People that are not as familiar with the franchise will enjoy the story; but they may not get the same thrill from the Easter eggs and other references that are dispersed throughout the issue.

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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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