Yes, I know I'm running a bit more than a week behind, but I feel so strongly about Costa's new G.I. Joe story that I wanted to get a review posted anyway. If G.I. Joe fans aren't paying attention to this book, you're doing yourself a real disservice. Even folks who are not huge fans of Snake Eyes (like me) should crack open these pages and soak them in.
Snake Eyes: Agent of Cobra #2
Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Paolo Villanelli
Colors: Joana LaFuente
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Carlos Guzman
For a thirsty G.I. Joe fan with limited media options, Mike Costa is like a tall, cold glass of ice water.
The fact that I'm saying this about an ongoing Snake Eyes solo title is almost inconceivable to me, but the fact is, Costa has already made it so much more. This truly feels like an evolution of his work on the two Cobra titles, yet still something new and different.
Issue #2 finds Snake Eyes face-to-face with the familiar Erika, also known as Chameleon. We get some glimpses of her time between departing G.I. Joe and now, where she got in with the Yakuza. But later on in the issue, it's not the Yakuza who come to strike against them, but the Arashikage!
Snake Eyes apparent death and rebirth did not go unnoticed by Storm Shadow, and even though the former G.I. Joe agent is now working alongside Destro, Arashikage ninja still target both him and Chameleon, with brutal results.
Narrowly escaping the flurry of ninja assault, the two operatives go underground in the search for Cobra Commander's son, and we learn that Storm Shadow is officially on a Snake Eyes hunt.
I'm not huge on the ninja aspects of G.I. Joe, but Costa and Villanelli execute it perfectly. The seamless shift between character history and present events occurs naturally and without
disruption, as we see some more peeks into the missing five years since G.I. Joe's Las Vegas dismantling. Costa is able to handle Snake Eyes' wordlessness with a finesse that I've only really seen Hama himself navigate. But honestly, what drew me in here was the action. Villanelli's art is fluid, impactful, and exciting. The sword work swings effectively from panel to panel, and the damage done by the ninja steel is visceral without being gory. Dramatic swings of momentum are obvious, yet the more natural conversations are effectively subdued.
Costa's writing, Villenelli's art and LaFuente's muted color tones all come together to nicely mirror the film noir look of the former Cobra titles, but much more effectively inject impactful action.
A fantastic second issue in what is already shaping up to be another Costa G.I. Joe masterpiece.