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The landmark 200th issue of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was the big story what seems like just a few weeks ago, so I was surprised to see the next issue already slated for release this past Wednesday.  I was quite pleasantly surprised, I should say, simply because while I enjoyed issue #200, I didn’t feel like it presented an impactful closure to the current story, and I was hoping to see how things continued to evolve.

As it turns out, issue #201 seems like more of a set up issue, but it’s still a quite enjoyable one.  Check out the full review after the jump.

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #201

Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: SL Gallant
Inks: Mark Deeing
Colors: J. Brown
Letters: Neal Uyetake
Editor: Carlos Guzman

The 200th issue of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero contained a pretty large scale vehicular battle as well as the revelation that there are even deeper levels underneath the PIT in Utah than even the highest brass of the G.I. Joe team were aware of.  Compared to the massive armored conflict of the previous issue, this issue seems pretty low key and more intimate, paying very close attention to the characters and personalities of G.I. Joe team members as they discover this new direction the team is now facing.

While Jane takes a handful of Joe members deeper into the sub levels, Spirit, Joe Colton, and Wild Bill take the high road to a secret helipad, and get a glimpse at some of the new hardware.  Jinx and Pale Peony make their return to the team with information about Revanche and the Blue Ninja’s while the Joes start designing a counter measure to these relatively recent enemies.

Another side bar features Long Range, Alpine, and Muskrat digging into the Arashikage elements of this whole thing, where they meet Budo and I love the little touch of Budo having some relation to the Arashikage path, but not being directly involved or related to it.

Other more personal touches include a poignant scene where Sneak Peek goes to retrieve the remains of his deceased mother, who passed away without ever knowing that her son had not actually been killed in action in Trucial Abysma, and while they meet some resistance (considering her son is technically dead) they appeal to the military background of the director of the facility.  Along with this we also see Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Stalker, Steeler, and some others make a return to Fort Wadsworth of all places to set up shop there, and as if there weren’t enough heart strings in the issue, some soldiers discover the monument to fallen Joes and Steeler takes a few moments to polish the metallic surface and reflect.

As I said, it’s a low key issue, without much high intensity action or dramatic revelations, but I thought it was a great follow up to issue #200.  While I felt like 200 lacked some of the “wrap up” that I thought we might expect, issue #201 provided its own share of closure as well as set ups for some upcoming events sure to take the title in new and interesting directions in the coming years.

Hama’s writing remained on target in this issue, even if some of the character/specialty choices were somewhat odd.  I’m not sure why Long Range, an artillery expert vehicle driver, ends up in the Arashikage Dojo, but I always like seeing obscure characters get their time in the sun, and you don’t get a whole lot more obscure than him.  The new hardware in the PIT was a nice touch, too, as we see a Night Attack Chopper which one thinks is set to replace the Tomahawk.

Gallant continues doing a great job with the art, though I’ll admit some of the attention to detail on some Joe uniforms seemed to slip a bit, though I’m not sure if that’s his problem or a coloring issue.  Steeler’s uniform in particular was a strange amalgamation of green and gray and not really accurate to any source material that I’m familiar with, something that Gallant generally pays much closer attention to.  I do think he generally does a great job using a few small key elements to make certain characters recognizable (Recoil’s hat, glasses, and pouches immediately focus on who he is in The PIT) but there were some details missing here and there that would have been nice to see.  I will say he did a kick ass job on Budo’s samurai armor, though.

All in all, Issue #201 was another fun issue, very reflective, and while mostly uneventful, it provided a nice step away from the previous story, and step towards a few new events sure to happen in the future.