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With the last major IDW event Cobra Command I made a concerted effort to review each and every installment so I could see how the story progressed as a whole.  When I review a book I tend to dive more deeply into it myself and truly absorb it better as I prepare to write an article about it.

Well, I’m already behind the eight ball with Target: Snake Eyes considering I missed the chance to review G.I. Joe #18 last week, but I’m going to endeavor to cover as much of this story as I can.

Click the Read the Rest of the Story link below to check out the review.

Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow #18

Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Alex Cal

With the news revelation that Chuck Dixon is leaving the flagship G.I. Joe title and moving to “Special Missions” (or Secret Missions depending on which report you’ve read) in 2013, I read this issue with a little bit more of a critical eye.  I have long established that I was not a huge fan of Dixon’s work on the main title, with the somewhat slow pace and the irritating tendency to use these hackneyed nicknames throughout the story, but I thought his work on the solo Snake Eyes book was pretty decent.

The Target: Snake Eyes story sort of brings both worlds together as the G.I. Joe team fears that Snake Eyes has gone to the other side and sends a team to either bring him in or bring him down.  Obviously Scarlett is concerned about this (although somewhat surprisingly, Mainframe is even more concerned) but the mission goes on.

We see the Joes in Budapest attempting to ambush the Arashikage while the Baroness negotiates with minor royalty to buy off his entire nation.  It’s an interesting twist to Cobra’s attempts at legitimacy.

Throughout the issue we see plenty of Arashikage vs. Cobra action as the ninja clan attempts to access Cobra’s vast sums of cash reserves, though certain members of the Red Ninja clan are starting to doubt Snake Eyes true devotion to the cause.  Cobra Troopers are paying the price, but many Red Ninja are falling as well.  Storm Shadow maintains his faith in his sword brother, however.

Meanwhile, Serpentor and the Coil have captured the Soft Master and the two are playing mind games with each other, the Soft Master clearly coming out on top, especially in the last pages of the book.

It’s interesting to see this title dive so deeply into the ninja methodology, but Dixon seems to handle it fairly well.  The dialogue is well written, the events do blend together nicely and this issue is a decent installment of the IDW universe.  I’m still having a hard time buying why the Joes are so convinced that Snake Eyes has gone rogue, even though he is operating alongside the Arashikage.  His victims to date have all been evil and there doesn’t seem to be a really distinct cause for concern.  Still, the pieces are coming together fairly nicely, and I’m enjoying this new take on Serpentor that Mike Costa spent so much time crafting… Dixon has picked up that torch and is doing decent work with the character.

There is a lot happening, but it doesn’t feel jumbled or frenetic, so far it’s all making good sense.

As for the art, Alex Cal continues to do some stellar work.  I really loved what he did with the Cobra Command multi-part series, and his art in this book is just as fantastic.  He does a great job balancing shadow, perspective and expressing action in clearly established lines of delineation to the reader where we can easily follow the fight sequence between half a dozen ninjas and Cobra Troopers.  If I have any complaints it’s almost like he relies too much on funky angles (often showing sequences in the reflections of goggles or from other perspectives) but it’s balanced nicely enough with more well established action scenes.

This was a pretty fun issue and did a good job continuing the Target: Snake Eyes story.  I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next, as we lead to the inevitable conclusion.  I can’t help but wonder what special event they might have in store for issue #21, which might just be the final issue of this title.

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