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Well, I didn’t have a chance to get the 5-page preview posted yesterday, but I did have a few minutes to type up a review for the latest issue of the main G.I. Joe title, issue #22.  To avoid spoilers, I’ve posted the full text of the review after the jump.

While G.I. Joe: Cobra, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, and even G.I. Joe: Origins all pound along at a great pace, it seems the main title has hit somewhat of a stumbling block once again.  Over the past few months I’ve lauded the G.I. Joe title for coming into it’s own after such a dragged out storyline, yet once again we seem to be firmly stuck in a morass of slow-paced narrative and somewhat uninteresting events, mostly following the same group of uninteresting characters.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of Cover Girl or Shipwreck, and when Devils’ Due tied them together I thought it was forced and silly (I mean, seriously, does every female Joe only exist as a mate for a mainstream male Joe?) and while the two of them are certainly not romantically linked here, I wasn’t especially ecstatic to see such a focus put on them already.  In fact, Cover Girl’s treatment in both Devils’ Due and IDW makes her seem like more of a fanboy dream and less like the hard-nosed armorer she’s always been.
I mean, that is what she is.  She’s a tank driver.  Yet in America’s Elite especially, but also here in IDW, she’s suddenly a martial artist, a skilled marksman, and all around G.I. Joe bad ass.
That’s fine and good, but how about spreading the wealth a bit?  Don’t we have a whole roster full of special ops troopers?  Why do we need to shoehorn a tank driver into the role just because she’s a hot blonde?
Regardless, as nicely as the story was flowing for a little while, we seem to be in the mud again, as we find ourselves still at sea with the two groups of Joes as Cobra is apparently repeating actions from the Marvel Universe and blowing a fault line to create Cobra Island.  I’m reading a lot of this into what I’m seeing on the pages, so my hypothesis might be incorrect, but that certainly seems to be where we’re going.  If I’m not mistaken, Larry Hama told this timeless tale in a pair of issues (mostly) #40 and #41.  It was a fantastic, action-packed story that introduced a ton of characters tied up a lot of loose ends, and was a joy to read from start to finish.  Here we’ve spent 3 months reading, and we’ve just barely seen the nuclear explosion go off, and we don’t even yet know the circumstances or results.
One storyline that did get moved along, at least somewhat, is the (re)introduction of Destro, this time as a member of Cobra elite.  It only took nearly 2 years, I suppose, but here we are.
Beyond that, while there is a ton of action with Cobra attempting to take back their massive underwater fortress, I still felt like the story failed to move either emotionally or chronologically.  The one-syllable nicknames continue to be a bit tiresome, I was somewhat disappointed at how non-iconic Cobra’s underwater troopers looked, and really, while I loved the machine gun fire and battle sequences, it simply looked like so many generic soldiers in wet suits with goatees…I could barely even tell them apart.  There certainly wasn’t a real feeling of character to distinguish any of them.  Honestly, I’m not one that’s married to nostalgia, but taking a great leader and character like Admiral Keel Haul and regulating him to a wet-suited ground-pounder seems a bit out of left field as well.
I’m not trying to pick the book apart, and I really have been trying to give it it’s due, and I was quite pleased with the latest run of issues, but for some reason, I just found some things to dislike about issue #22.  It certainly wasn’t the art, as Alex Cal continues to produce some amazing artwork, but I think I’m about ready to move on.  We’ve seen glimpses of great military characters like Flint, Recondo, Stalker, Gung Ho, and even Leatherneck…how about we explore those guys a bit more, and let the spotlight move away from Cover Girl and Shipwreck for a change?
Judging by the last page, (and the fact that IDW has stated that “Season 1” terminates with the next issue) I feel like the title might be ready to make a jump, and I certainly hope it does.  Storm Shadow will make for a great ride next month.  I only hope in another 22 months I’m not singing the same song.

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