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I figured a good return to the update pool would be a review of a very understated, yet fantastic read, G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds #2.  As with issue #1, written by Max Brooks with art chores shared by Howard Chaykin (Firefly half) and Antonio Fuso (Tripwire half), the lack of action and “snazz” is almost palpable.  You can tell this was meant to be written from a strictly “prose” perspective, and it dives deeply into the characters that make up the G.I. Joe mythology.
Of course, it’s a bit of a double edged sword, because we’re focusing on these characters from the IDW universe, which doesn’t really tie in to the existing Real American Hero mythology, but it still provides some very cool insight “behind the mask” so to speak.  To avoid spoilers, I’ve placed the actual review after the jump.

The Firefly story captures some great personality of the Cobra saboteur, unfortunately most folks will probably focus on his race change, as Firefly is now African American.  To me, for this new IDW universe, Firefly’s race is a non-issue.  This is a new generation of G.I. Joe, and since most folks would rather forget Firefly’s sordid ninja-focused past, what does his race really matter?
I would agree that Firefly is a very important character to the Real American Hero mythos, so the question is, does his race change alter that importance?  Or can he simply be important to the IDW world in a different way?  I know this is a touchy subject…if changing Firefly’s race doesn’t serve a specific purpose, why do it?  Honestly, I’m not sure.  But I’m sure it doesn’t bother me as much as it likely bothers other folks.
Moving on…
The Tripwire side of the story was simply fascinating.  Granted, his personality is transcribed nearly step-by-step from the Oscar winning film, the Hurt Locker…but really, who can blame Brooks for using that as a template?  The character of Tripwire does separate somewhat from Sergeant James with his specific motivations, though his apparent lack of self-preservation remains intact.
While the art in the Tripwire side didn’t resonate quite as much with me as Chaykin’s work on the Firefly piece, it still had it’s own nice stylistic flair.
As with issue #1, action fans aren’t going to be knocked out by what they read here.  But folks who are looking for an intellectual look into the soul of a pair of characters from the G.I. Joe mythos will get some pretty captivating (if somewhat fast paced) reading.  No ground-breaking plot devices, no IDW universe-shattering revelations.  Instead, just top notch writing, fantastic artistic nuances, and a very nice, high quality perspective on the G.I. Joe universe.
Very well done.

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