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REVIEW: G.I. Joe: ARAH #302

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REVIEW: G.I. Joe: ARAH #302

4.25/5.0 Stars
Rating if the Book Were a Movie:  PG-13

Creative Team:

Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: Chris Mooneyham
Colors: Francesco Segala
Flatter: Sabrina Del Grosso
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Cover: Andy Kubart and Brad Anderson
Editor: Alex Antone
Publication Design: Jillian Crab
Creative Consultant: Diana Davis
Publisher: Image Comics 

Ratings:

Story: 4.4 Stars
Artwork: 4.4 Stars
Cover Artwork: 3.8 Stars
Dialogue: 4.2 Stars
Mechanics: 4.3 Stars
Editing: 4.4 Stars 

About the Book:

In the last installment of “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” we saw Serpentor Khan go all in with the stakes on Cobra Island. He detonated a biochemical device that turned every person on the island (including himself) into a zombie. Now Serpentor has designs on infiltrating the mainland with his monstrous coalition. His target is Cobra Headquarters in Springfield.

Elsewhere Mongoose asks why Wade Collins, a former Cobra Crimson Guardsman, is receiving a full military service for his funeral in Arlington. Stalker discusses the course of events from when he was on Long Range Recon Patrol with Collins all those years ago.

Reader’s Notes:

I remember when Serpentor first came on the scene in the animated series of G.I. Joe in the 1980’s. He was depicted as a military genius. He was also depicted as being more annoying and whiny than Veruca Salt of Willy Winka fame when he didn’t get his way. Those three words, “This, I command!” became his schtick. It got old quickly.

We first really got to know Serpentor in issue #50 of the original comic book series. He was depicted as a great warrior that knew how to get the most out of his troops. During this epoch we didn’t see much in the way of personality in Serpentor beyond a very pragmatic approach to everything. Compared to what happened with the Sunbow version of Serpentor, this was an improvement.

I can really sink my teeth into the iteration of Serpentor that Mr. Hama has presented us with at this point in the series. We’re being given a leader that completely buys into the concept of winning at all costs. The guy bombed himself with a bio weapon to gain powers that would help him in combat. On behalf of 96 percent of the world’s population, most of us aren’t that determined to find our way to victory.

I loved the way Stalker explained to Mongoose why Collins deserved to be buried in Arlington. The experiences some of our troops have fighting overseas AND coming home can be too much for some. I knew a guy that served when we went into Iraq in 2003. His time there was filled with nothing but urban guerrilla warfare.

After he cycled back to the states he was a wreck. When driving he’d swerve into the other lane if he saw a children’s toy on the side of the road closest to his vehicle. He was convinced that everything was an improvised explosive device. His wife divorced him. He had trouble sleeping which made him more paranoid. He began to abuse drugs and alcohol. This former soldier ended up taking their own life while intoxicated at a party.

With everything that he sacrificed in the name of defending our nation he deserved to be buried with honors, just as every other person who has worn the uniform and served until their hitch was up or they made the ultimate sacrifice. Mr. Hama hits the nail on the head with regards to how we should be taking care of our soldiers when they pass on.

I liked how this cover allows the past to intermingle with the present as we see Collins’ squad from LRRP to be the ones to carry him out of the WHALE. It’s a fitting way to say goodbye to a long-standing character that we have gotten to know over the years.

I am enjoying Mr. Mooneyham’s artwork on the interior pages. His depictions of Serpentor play a large role in making this iteration what it is. It’s one thing to write a character as a sociopathic genius. Mooneyham’s work puts the determination in his eyes that makes the reader believe that Serpentor’s vision will become reality.

Mr. Hama’s ability to tell a good story has never been questioned. The man is responsible for capturing a good portion of Generation X’s imaginations for a significant period of time when we were first meeting some of the characters that have become household names. Now that he isn’t dealing with the constraints of having to constantly write in new characters to help make things move in the toy aisle he’s only gotten better.

As a geek on a budget I truly believe that “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” is rapidly ascending the must read list for everyone, not just fans of the franchise. It has an outstanding cast of characters, great artwork, and a good storyline. Best of all, the way Mr. Hama writes this series allows new readers to quickly and easily find themselves immersed in the story without being subject matter experts.

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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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