G.I. Joe America's Elite #24
Sins of the Mother, Part 4
Writer: Mark Powers
Pencils: Mike Bear
Colorist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters: Brian Crowley
Commanding Officer: Mike O'Sullivan
Military Consultant: Phil Kost
Issue #25 is here! World War III has officially began, and if this first installment is any indication, we're in for a wild ride.
Because I've gotten an early review sample, I am holding off on a summary of the issue until it hits shelves in June.
As good as Sins of the Mother was it was a relatively small scale 4 issue run which really showcased how well Powers knows these characters already, even in the short time he's been the chief storyteller of the America's Elite title. The Baroness, Wraith, Flint, and most other characters woven within the story all just flowed as real characters and worked remarkably well. Casey had a hard time getting his head around this non-super hero cast of characters and understanding what makes them tick, but so far Powers has not had this problem at all.
So how would this translate into a larger scale story? The latest "mega event" from Devils' Due, who, admittedly, has had a hard time pulling off these mega events in the past? So far, so good. Actually, no. So far, so GREAT. World War III starts off with a few simple operations that show the Joe team getting "carte blanche" from the US Government to hunt down and dispatch COBRA operatives around the world. As the Joe team (and three returning cast members) travel the world to take out these COBRA agents, we get a couple of very cool and unique cameos from some of the lesser known COBRA assassins and it's pretty cool seeing them worked into the story pretty easily. Characters you never thought you would have seen featured in a Joe book get their spot in the sun, and are written well, to boot. Not much backstory given, but they see enough action to make them pretty neat side characters and small parts in an ongoing story.
On the COBRA side of things, COBRA Commander is featured in a recruitment drive of sorts...he is seen personally overseeing the training of a new COBRA agent who the Commander seems to be grooming for a special occasion. The writer is able to capture the character of COBRA Commander quite nicely, and the different twists he uses to try and convince this new agent to join the COBRA cause is very interesting. It's a different take on COBRA's overall purpose in the world, and it's easy to see how some of the more skilled operatives might come to join the "bad side" so to speak. COBRA Commander is certainly grooming this man for something special...and that something special is revealed near the end of the issue. Trust me when I say that it's a great revalation, and I think it leads the way towards a storyline that will really excite a lot of fans out there.
There are mixtures of quiet introspection in this issue as well as all out action and Powers does each extremely well. This is only the first part of a long, ongoing story, but so far things look interesting and we get a few hints that there are big things on the horizon. In previous years, a lot of the mega events have been gimmick based, kind of relying on very specific events...Serpentor's return, the Red Shadows, etc... World War III seems to be focusing on an intense, deep, global conflict, and I think it's going to work very well. This first issue has already made me excited to see where this road is going to lead.
Mike Bear is absolutely on top of his game in this issue and we have great art with an assortment of varied characters (both good and evil). All characters are revealed accurately and the action runs exceedingly smooth. Weapons are all drawn to exacting standards and he has a nack for great dramatic action. I cannot find anything to complain about with any of the art chores in this particular issue, and I hope Mike Bear is with the title for a long, long time. The style isn't over-exaggerated or mal-proportioned, but the quality of the art is extremely "real world" and just works on so many different levels. Bear's art has impressed me more than almost any artist I've seen in the Devil's Due run so far, and it adds a ton to the title. Fantastic.
Like Sins of the Mother, only better. We retain the crisp, clear, concise writing style with the equally clear and terrific art. Mark Powers and Mike Bear (as well as the rest of the crew) have very successfully translated their successful technique into a somewhat larger scale, bringing us a host of new and different characters with the same talent as they did with the smaller cast. So far things are rolling along great and I'm really eager to see just where this story takes us.
RATING (OUT OF 5)