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Talk about polar opposites.  Released alongside the deep and understated G.I. Joe: Hearts and Minds #158, this continuation of the classic series from the 90’s makes no assumptions, and continues right along bringing the fight and Larry Hama makes no apologies for that.
The G.I. Joe team continues to be on the run, while Cobra is the government entity leading the charge against them.  Remarkably similar to the G.I. Joe: Renegades animated series plotline (though this comic run certainly doesn’t get the A-Team criticism that the cartoon is getting…interesting, that) and has at least as many bullets flying as dialog, unlike the other issue released this same day.
For spoiler reasons, the rest of the review will be posted after the jump.

Missing no steps from the previous issue, the G.I. Joe team converges on the Cobra silent castle, and the issue is certainly action packed.  We start with Snake Eyes and Scarlett sneaking in through the water ways as the Joes hijack a gypsy van to go in through the main door.  Billy and the Baroness continue their weird little relationship while Destro and Zartan certainly still seem 100% under the brainwashed control of Cobra Commander.
For the most part, the Cobra agents all remain in their classic attire, and I’m surprised to say it still works pretty well, even now.  Destro is great in his familiar 80’s garb, though I must admit, I’m looking forward to Mindbender dropping the cape somewhere down the line.
The BAT’s get introduced here once again, and are looking much more like their 80’s selves.
Since issue #155 1/2 I’ve been enjoying this ride, and feeling very happy with the 90’s roots.  I will admit, Padilla’s art is still leaving me fairly cold, even though he’s doing his best to emulate the crazy 90’s art style that we’re used to.  I gotta say the whole Baroness/Billy angle is almost creepy, too.  I mean, the Baroness was an established, mature Cobra villain while Billy was a 10-year old prisoner in Cobra dungeons.  I know he’s slowly being taken over by Dr. Venom (another angle I’m not so sure about) but this whole storyline seems downright bizarre.
The action is fast and furious, with swords, shotguns, and explosions…the dialog is very traditional Hama, and he does seem to have retained his form, even through his long absence to this particular universe.
The end result?  Not bad.  This is still a very entertaining ride, but I am wondering a bit about when the luster wears off how will the comic hold up?  The Cobra villainy still is under the brainwashed control, I’m not sure how long Hama leaves them that way, or if he’ll want them to start exploring their own histories again.  The story does sort of seem like it’s all over the place, with the ninjas, the Joes, Hawk storming into a mysterious janitor’s closet back in Washington.  I don’t know.
I still remain confident that Hama can tie this up and keep the roller coaster ride going, and I’ll be here for the long haul, but I’m just hoping the book retains the fun feel even as the months go on.

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