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Yes, I know Issue #161 hits comic shops tomorrow…that ones coming, too, I promise.
I figured I should play catch up a bit at least first.
The frenetic, crazed continuation of the original Marvel G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero title rushes on, full speed ahead, and shows no  sign of letting up, for better or worse.  It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride getting to this point, but as we appear to sort of wrap up this first “arc”, I find myself growing just a bit tired of “business as usual” in this particular title.
To read the full review (spoilers included) click the Read the rest of this entry link below.

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #160
Written By: Larry Hama
Art By: Agustin Padilla
Most Joe fans have very fond memories of the G.I. Joe title with Larry Hama at the reigns.  However, if the fans have complaints, it’s that there was way too much of a focus on “brainwashing” near the end of the original run, and you really found characters dilluted by the fact that Cobra Commander could flip a switch and make ’em bad guys again.  So, here’s a bit of a clue…you’re writing a title for fans who hate brainwashing…  maybe you shouldn’t make brainwashing the main focus of the first arc of 6 issues?
I dunno.  From an action standpoint, I’ve certainly enjoyed the title to this point.  It picked up right where it left off in 1994 with a very unique and energetic art style that certainly isn’t realistic, but it does bare some resemblance to the familiar Gosier/Wildman artwork from the later parts of the initial run (for better or worse).  I thought the story was fairly intriguing, though things really did seem to jump all over the place.  We go from Washington to Borovia and anywhere in between at the speed of light and while the mainstream Joe title plods along at a snail’s pace, this title almost seems to be moving too quickly.  This issue is no exception.   To this issue, though, while the story has moved quickly, it has still had its fun elements, even though you could sort of see the Brainwave Scanner kind of lurking in the background.
Well, in this issue, the Scanner comes surging back to the forefront, and I’m already sick of it.  Mr. Hama.  I love you, man.  You’ve done great things for the title over the past twenty-five years, and you are far and away the best guy who has breathed life into these characters.
But for the love of God, please, please, PLEASE retire the damn Brainwave Scanner already!  Brainwashing as a plot device got old in 1994…it’s damn ancient now.  I know it was a heavy angle of the Cobra storyline in the 90’s, and a logical continuation would say it should play a part now, but honestly, can we move on?
In this issue, we simultaneously get Storm Shadow suddenly kicking the brainwashing habit, all while Snake Eyes gets thrust into it once again, and the two ninjas essentially switch sides.  We spend plenty of time seeing Cobra Commander knock down those metaphorical barriers within Snake Eyes’ mind as we’ve seen many times before.  We see Storm Shadow cast Zartan aside as if he was rookie wearing a wig instead of one of the greatest Masters of Disguises of all time, which was pretty disappointing, in my mind.
And disappointing seems to be the trend in this particular issue.  The art just never seems to come together here…in other issues there was that energetic, animated flair, but it seemed to be at least held together by some semblance of realism.  In this issue it’s totally overboard and it’s tough to really take it seriously.  The “shock ending” with Snake Eyes turning evil was not a shock in the least, and frankly, I’m not really mentally prepared to see a brainwashed “evil” Snake Eyes for the next few issues.
I’m not giving up entirely, of course…the majority of this title has been entertaining to this point, but this particular issue grated on me.  Let’s hope things turn around with #161.  From the looks of it, I think it will.  I already love the art a  lot more, judging by the 5-Page Preview, and it’s evident that it will be at least somewhat more military and less ninja.  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to let you know what I think by the end of the day tomorrow.  😉

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