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Wow…has it been a week already?  I know I was holding off a bit on the review, for fear of spoiling the storyline events, but I figure pretty much anyone and everyone knows what’s happened at this point, and the review is fair game.
So then it was just laziness.  :shifty:
Honestly, though, the latest issue of G.I. Joe: Cobra pretty much continues the status quo, and nobody should be surprised.  Shocked maybe, but not surprised.  Does that make sense?  Read the full review after the jump.

G.I. Joe: Cobra #12
Writers: Mike Costa and Christos Gage
Art: Antonio Fuso
Tomax and Xamot continue their dichotomy, battling each other and Xamot even picks a fight with Chuckles himself.  Rescued from his own anger by Big Boa, Chuckles doesn’t realize that Xamot lifted his ID card.
Hearing about the conflict between Xamot and Chuckles, Tomax ventures to Xamot’s quarters to confront him…but instead his twin brother is waiting for him, knocks him out, and assumes his identity.  Xamot has apparently gone completely off the reservation, as he acquires an assault rifle and guns down a squad of Vipers, apparently intent on taking the fight directly to Cobra Commander.
As chaos reigns throughout Cobra high command, Xamot slowly peels off his disguise and waltzes into Cobra Commander’s main throne room.  Confronting the Commander, he reveals a dirty plot, planning to frame Chuckles and murder the Commander in cold blood.  Thinking his loyal Crimson Guards will back up his claims, he gets a very nasty surprise when Chuckles reveals himself underneath one of the CG’s helmets.
Taking the rifle, Chuckles is ordered by Cobra Commander to kill Xamot, and Chuckles does indeed pull the trigger…but we all know by now who takes the bullet.
Amazing.  An amazing story.  When we first got introduced to the G.I. Joe: Cobra universe, I wasn’t sure it could maintain the sense of style and atmosphere that it had constructed with just one short story.  Well, now we’re essentially at 16 issues, plus a pair of special one-shots, and there has been absolutely no drop in quality or impact.
Sure, there have been some minor lulls here and there…the Scoop story I thought was a bit of a departure, but the story was still great, and here we are at issue #12, and the title just doesn’t stop hitting.  The conflict between Tomax and Xamot is an extraordinary story telling idea that completely separates from existing continuities, yet it feels so normal and natural.  Even having the twins dressed in opposing colors gives a good sense of ying and yang…one twin more evil than the other.  Seeing Xamot casually roam through the Cobra fortress, gunning  down Vipers and waltzing through the chaos was like watching a film.  The pacing was so exceptional, reading the issue just felt totally natural.  This isn’t an easy task.
So what about the climax?  How was the whole end?  Did it make sense?
Yeah, it made perfect sense.  There are times that you get the sense that certain deaths or events are purely for shock value, and yeah, I’m sure some element of this story is designed for that, but the progress was totally organic.  It felt like a natural, normal progression of the story and didn’t feel at all forced or pressured.
In short, this was yet another stellar issue of a stellar series that just happened to feature an event designed to catapult G.I. Joe into its next phase.  Exceptional work by the writers, the artist, and the overall production team.  This is a book that continues to raise the bar.  I look forward to seeing how it continues with the Cobra Civil War.

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