Okay, I’m not a huge G.I. Joe fan. I know that might sound sacrilegious considering I work for ToyFare, but I was just too young to really absorb who was who and I completely missed out on the Marvel comics by Larry Hama and company. That being said, I did LOVE the cartoon and the action figures. I still have a shoe box back in Ohio filled with those little dudes (most of them whose names I’m just really learning now).
So, why did I read G.I. Joe: World War III? Well, because it’s a darn good comic book. A few months ago, while the story was still coming out and G.I. Joe’s move from Devil’s Due to IDW hadn’t been announced yet, guys in the office were raving about this story. So I checked out the first few issues and then completely lost track (it happens a lot, even when you’re surrounded by comics on a daily basis).
Well, the fine folks at Devil’s Due (mostly my former roommate and Wizard-intern-in-arms Brian Warmoth) sent a few copies of the Omnibus to the offices and so I blazed through it. And I mean blazed. I basically sat down and read right through the whole 12-issue story in one sitting (though I did shift around quite a few times as I’m wont to do).
The book was written by Mark Powers with Mike O’Sullivan and drawn by Mike Bear, Mike Shoyket, Pat Quinn & Jean-Francois Beaulieu and stars all of the still-surviving G.I. Joes getting together to try and stop Cobra Commanders near takeover (and later destruction) of the Earth. I’m not sure if it’s because I knew that this is the last DDP G.I. Joe story or just because Mark Powers is a fantastic write (which he is), but I really thought that Cobra just might win. Of course, I didn’t want him to, but the way the Powers sets things up, you really don’t know how the good guys are going to win. Cobra takes over the White House for Flint’s sake.
And while the overall story is incredibly compelling, Powers does a great job of juggling smaller stories taking place literally all over the world and not one of them feels like a dropped ball. You’ve got a double agent coming in out of the cold, trouble in the ranks of Clan Destro and way more, but probably my favorite part was seeing Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes fighting side by side together and kicking ass.
I did have a few question marks when it came to some of the relationships and the continuity that has been set up since DDP got the license back in the first round of ’80s nostalgia books, but that’s what Wikipedia’s for, right? The gaps didn’t even bother me that much and mostly made me want to go back and check out the previous volumes of Joe comics (including the Marvel books) and has peaked my interest in the upcoming IDW launch.
In the end, I highly recommend checking this book out if you like wide sweeping events, G.I. Joe (duh), military intrigue, espionage, ninja anticts and just plain old action stories. Also, it’s cool to see pages filled with the toys I used to play with as a kid, like a big set up battle in my living room.