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Okay, time for me to be honest.  I really don’t give a crap about zombie stories.  Interestingly, I did find myself captivated by The Walking Dead, but I think that was more character and story driven rather than specifically zombie driven.
When IDW announced they were doing a mega cross-over event featuring zombies, I really wasn’t all that enthralled.  When they claimed it would all happen in continuity and somehow make sense…well, that got me at least a little bit interested.
So now we’ve gotten Infestation #1, and now G.I. Joe: Infestation #1.  How are the end results?
Click the “Read the Rest of this Entry” link below for the full review.

G.I. Joe: Infestation #1
Writer: Mike Raicht
Artist: Giovanni Timpano
First and foremost, zombie fans who are expecting a traditional zombie story here are going to be disappointed.  But fans of the G.I. Joe universe who are just looking for an interesting story…you guys (I think) will be pretty happy, because so far, Infestation is a pretty interesting story.
The Baroness and a squad of Cobra Eels are seabound and heading after a small group of Joes who are transporting a mysterious piece of technology that Cobra wants, specifically relating to their “B.A.T.” project.  Yes.  B.A.T.s.  IDW hadn’t yet touched on the whole B.A.T. concept, but it ends up being the central focus of this issue, to great results.
When Psyche Out and two new recruits are invaded on this boat, the Joe psy ops specialist is taken captive and set before The Interrogator, which provides some very interesting back and forth.  He’s being held deep within an underwater Cobra facility, which just happens to be the same facility that Cobra is using to push ahead on their B.A.T. project.  It just so happens that Psyche Out was in possession of what appears to be a cyborg arm (no doubt cast through the wormhole during the events in Infestation #1), and The Baroness believes this will be just what Cobra needs to get over the hump with the B.A.T.s
In spite of numerous warnings from Pysche Out (ominous warnings that horror movie aficionados are no doubt used to by now) Cobra is determined to further investigate this cybernetic arm, and of course, chaos ensues.  The lead scientist on the B.A.T. program ends up possessed by some strange electronic energy, which brings the B.A.T.s to life and begins infecting animals, who were test subjects for mechanical implants.
The rest of the issue involves many Cobra Troopers trying to battle back the rampaging androids.
So, there you have it.  Pretty far from a traditional zombie story, which doesn’t bother me one bit.  In fact, the way the writers tied in the whole Infestation concept, yet managed to meld it perfectly with a more realistic G.I. Joe universe was downright inspired.  Not only did they merge the two very different worlds fairly seamlessly, but they also progressed the overall mythology with the introduction of the B.A.T.s
I particularly enjoyed how much trouble Cobra was having getting the B.A.T.s just right.  It always made me scratch my head a bit that in the cartoon and comic, Cobra was just able to magically produce this highly advanced mechanical soldiers without much trouble.  Seeing them struggle through the design and conceptual process is a great touch in this IDW story, and a very cool way to have a “zombie” story without the supernatural taking over too much.  True enough, pure zombie fans might be a bit annoyed at the lack of the living dead within these pages, but I think it was pulled off extremely well, and most importantly, the story was entertaining.
I did wonder a bit about some of the artistic choices.  The art itself was excellent.  Just the right mixture of realistic detail, character authenticity, yet with the right hint of style.  I loved the panel layouts, but I was a bit confused about why all of the characters were suddenly so accurate to their vintage versions.  IDW has established a very unique look for their Cobra Vipers, and seeing them back in their true ’86 garb was a bit jarring (though they did look very cool).
Besides that, the story worked well, the art was great, and I found myself very pleasantly surprised.  Joe fans who are dismissing this story because of the zombie ties and because it seems like somewhat of a departure are doing themselves a disservice.  So far it has been great read.

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