Welcome to a very special edition of Parlay points, the comic book review blog to the ODPH Podcast!
For this entry, we are checking out the grand return of a legendary comic. Throughout the course of history, the G.I. Joe franchise has been one of the most popular in pop culture.
From live action movies to the classic animated series to unforgettable toys, the brand has made its’ mark with fans for decades. One of the biggest win has been its’ comic book runs.
Since the 1940’s, there has been a connection between G.I. Joe and comics. However, if you talk to most comic fans these days, their first real memories were based in the 1980’s with the run via Marvel Comics.
With an impressive 155 issue run under the voice of Larry Hama, the series left a lasting footprint with fans. The rights had moved to a few different publishers since the series wrapped at Marvel in 1994. Last readers saw, issue #300 hit shelves in November 2022.
The new landscape would be the home for both G.I. Joe and Transformers! With fans buzzing about what is coming, Skybound is bringing back the flagship book in a monster way with the voice of G.I. Joe leading the way once again!
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #301 by Larry Hama, Chris Mooneyham, Francesco Segala and Pat Brosseau picks up where things left off for the Real American Heroes! Let’s take a closer look to see how this return fares!
*** POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING ***
The issue opens up with a fantastic “who’s Who” recap of the history of G.I. Joe. Readers get a quick glimpse into G.I. Joe and Cobra and some of the key players involved. (Editor note: This is brilliant and I wish more companies did this with series)!
The main story begins with Duke and Wild Bill flying over Cobra Island. With a damaged plane, they’re trying to salvage the flight, not to mention the precious cargo of a Joe team on-board.
On the ground level, Dr. Mind-bender and Serpentor Khan (COBRA notables) have activated the Mutant Virus Bomb. Preferring this method to defeat the Joes instead of surrender, time is now a factor for the good guys. Outside of Mind-bender’s lair is another Joe squad led by Snake-eyes and Scarlett ready to go.
With the bomb activated, who will survive? The tension races as Cutter tries evacuating the team on the ground. With one note-worthy figure on-board the ship escaping, an event happens proving how dangerous and deadly this conflict is between GI Joe and Cobra.
Once the smoke clears, readers see how this series is a far cry from the cartoons and toys. THIS is vintage GI Joe comics. The aftermath will leave a lasting impression that you can’t help but want to make sure you don’t miss another issue of what is going to be another incredible run in the legacy of G.I. Joe stories.
In case anyone is diving in for the first time, Hama picks up right where he’s left off involving his story-telling. There is a reason he is synonymous with this franchise. Hama establishes the high stakes right off the bat and never lets up. His dialogue between Serpentor and Mind-Bender illustrates how unhinged Serpentor is and how far he’s willing to go to win.
On the flip side, no one brings out the voices of the Joes better. Duke and Will Bill’s story keeps escalating until it hits the perfect timing and mark. The escape from the island has its’ drama and one moment sparks a bigger match to explode later in this new series. The resolution of the bomb kickstarts a few avenues for the team to venture down in future issues. This is a great re-introduction issue for older fans and a solid jump-on for new readers wanting to find out about the hype.
Mooneyham adds a gritty style to the Joe imagery for this issue. It gels perfectly with Hama’s dialogue. The intro pages are an easy win with readers. Once they conclude, the art speeds events up quickly to layer the dangers of what Cobra is doing. This all leads to an excellent full page image of the teams trying to escape.
The one major moment of the escape comes across to readers as a huge deal, even if they’re not familiar with everyone involved. Its’ following sequences show a variety of reactions. The panels construct the foundation for a lasting image to close this chapter out with. There is so much to compliment with the art for this return issue.
FINAL POINT: 9.5 OUT OF 10
The return of the long-running fandom doesn’t miss staking its claim as a must-read series. With Hama’s legendary writing backed by Mooneyham’s superb visuals, the saga of G.I. Joe strikes back to win over fans new and old alike. Don’t leave the comic shops without this in your possession!
Hit me up on ODPH social media and let me know your thoughts on G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #301! Thanks for reading Parlay points on Nerd Initiative!