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So the end of “Season One” is coming near…  I’m not sure I’m fully prepared for this new “Season” format, but it is certainly an interesting twist.  Taking each issue as an “episode” and resetting the title so to speak every 2 years is a very interesting tact.  Some will say it’s a sales grab, and maybe it is to a certain extent, but I think it’s also designed to draw in new readers who might only jump on board with a new “#1”.
I’ve certainly made my feelings known about the pacing of this title pretty much from day one, how is it coming along now that the end of the season is upon us?  Better.  Certainly better.
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G.I. Joe #25
Written By: Chuck Dixon
Art By: Robert Atkins
So G.I. Joe not only has discovered Cobra and uncovered the secrets of the MASS Device, but they’ve also reverse engineered their own receivers to adapt to the transportation technology.  Hawk chooses a team of Joes who volunteer to get encoded into the digital chips which are used for teleportation.  Among this group are Snake Eyes and Helix, who conveniently emerge at just the right time to be encoded.
Not only do they get encoded, but later that night, they sneak into the vault and retrieve their encoded chips, unknown to the rest of the Joe team.
Meanwhile, the Joes new computer tracking system is analyzing the global political climate and making assumptions on when and where Cobra is set to strike yet, and a high probability target appears.  The Joes mount up on a full scale assault and fly to the designated area.  Moving quickly, Snake Eyes and Helix intercept a Cobra strike team and take almost all of them out, leaving only one breathing.  They order him to call in a return transport, and the MASS tech team obliges, pulling Helix and Snake Eyes along for the ride…
And that’s essentially the story.  It was actually very good.  What most fans will latch on to (myself included) was the plethora of characters that appear in this issue as the assault teams are organized.  We get a nice look at Frostbite, Low Light, Rock n Roll, Stalker, Flint, and others as they get encoded in the tech center, and then again as they dispatch in teams to try and intercept Cobra’s latest plot.  Most of them don’t get much more than a bit of face time and some limited dialog, but every little bit counts.  Interestingly, too, is that pretty much everyone who appears here appears in their traditional familiar uniform.  Up until this time, both Devils’ Due and IDW have tried to make changes to the overall appearance of many of the Joes to put their own unique spin on them.  Well, here, pretty much everyone looks as you would expect.  Some minor changes are there, and I really like how the changes come across, but every character is instantly recognizable.
Ultimately, it’s a brisk read, and while I might wonder how it took so long to get to this point (and really hope the pay off is worth it!) this issue moves along nicely.  It would seem that some action is finally on the horizon.
Granted, I’m not entirely sure what the point of the whole Snake Eyes/Helix infiltration is.  I would imagine they’re just trying to get to Cobra, but really, is this the best tact?  And why are they so near-suicidal about it?
I don’t really get that angle, and I still kind of question Helix’s near superhuman abilities, but the issue presses the action along, as some cool character and vehicle appearances, and manages to ramp up the suspense somewhat.  Again, I can only hope the pay off is worth it, and the first season doesn’t just end with Snake Eyes and Helix single-handedly bringing Cobra to their knees.
As for the art?  Well, as I’ve come to expect with Atkins, the art is fantastic.  Very realistic, very dramatic, great storyboarding…when Atkins is on this book, it evolves to a whole new level, and I love the work he does for G.I. Joe.
All told, a very solid, fast-paced issue.  I kind of wish more of the other issues matched it.

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