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Call me an addict if you want, but dammit I need my G.I. Joe: Retaliation fix!!  It seemed for a while there like we were getting some stuff from G.I. Joe: Retaliation on a weekly basis, but it’s dropped off somewhat (beyond the press photos).  My hunger for Retaliation news pretty much forced me to jump on and immediately consume issue #3 of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation movie prequel by John Warden, Salvadore Navarro, and Atilio Rojo…I’m really glad I did.

No mere movie adaptation here, Barber has elected to travel backwards in time a little bit and tell us some real origins of some of the Retaliation crew.  Click the read the rest of the story link below for the full review.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation #3

Writer: John Barber
Artists: Salvadore Navarro and Atilio Rojo

Immediately this issue thrusts us back into the Rise of Cobra universe where one of the more humorous aspects of that film is followed up on with a young Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow facing off over the fallen body of the Hard Master.  Storm Shadow escapes as a deflated Snake Eyes is quickly taken under the Blind Master’s wing.  It’s impressive the seamless way that Barber is able to inject the Blind Master into the mythology, and while I’m still very much against the whole “vow of silence” thing with Snake Eyes, it feels like a real part of this story.

Mixed in with the flashbacks we see plenty of ninja action with Roadblock and Snake Eyes training in the ways of the Arashikage, and I must admit, I like that they’re focusing on that here.  I think the more they focus on the relationship between these two characters in the comic, the less of a big focus we’ll see in the film.  Since the fans are all somewhat against the concept of Roadblock as Snake Eyes’ student, I think isolating too much of that from the film might be a step in the right direction.

We also see Roadblock debut his now infamous “Battle Kata” weapon system, which is pretty interesting, since I would have thought they’d save that debut for the film itself.  We get a nice idea of the concept of interchanged handles creating pretty unique weapon sets, and Roadblock is able to use his skills as a soldier to actually overcome some of his deficiencies as a martial artist.  Interesting twist.

The way John Barber intertwines the current training regime with some of Snake Eyes’ past history is very cool, too, and we get a great idea of how closely Snake Eyes and the Blind Master work together in his training.

Both artists tackle the different timelines with a certain level of style, though I’ll admit I prefer the dramatic, impactful action of Rojo’s stuff over the somewhat weird bulky feel of Navarro’s.  Just from a straight action perspective, the flow that Rojo draws the frame, the motion in the figures, and the staging all works very well together, when in contrast I sometimes had a hard time figuring out how one scene moved on to another in the more current training scenario.  There are still some things to like about Navarro’s work as well, but I found myself more impressed in general with what I saw from Rojo.

I was a bit sketchy during the initial issue of this arc, especially thinking about it taking place so far in the past, and truth be told, I would have preferred a more current story.  But I give Barber credit for diving headlong into the ninja backstory and doing it credit.  He’s managed to interject this story pretty nicely into the Rise of Cobra universe, and has given us some awesome cameos, and a nice story over all.  I know it’s popular to bang on the Rise of Cobra, but part of me likes this little piece of Joe history that’s been created with the film, the Operation: HISS animated series and comic series, the video game, and now this comic.  The world seems to have a little life of it’s own, and while it doesn’t necessarily mesh with every Joe fan’s ideal, I do think Barber is giving it some credit and making some interesting choices within it.

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