So last night I was going through Comixology to make sure I was up to date on my G.I. Joe comics, and was surprised to see Real American Hero #193 had been released! For whatever reason IDW hadn't put it out there for a Preview, so I had forgotten it was due this week. I'm glad I found it, though, because it was another great issue from Larry Hama, Sergio Cariello, and SL Gallant. Cariello took care of the majority of art chores, with Gallant filling in on the final few pages.
Check out the full review below.
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #193
Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: Sergio Cariello
Additional Art: SL Gallant and Brian Shearer
Colors: J. Brown and Zac Atkinson
Additional Colors: Ester Salguero, Joana LaFuente, Stefano Simeone, Aburtov and Grafikslava
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editor: Carlos Guzman
Over on his Facebook page in some different cases, Larry Hama has revealed that the build up to issue #200 will feature some continuity challenges (which is saying a lot considering how Larry views continuity) and a lot happens in this issue. This particular issue seems to function as a kick-off to the next major arc, as former G.I. Joe operative Grunt is in Sierra Gordo using his engineering skills to help with a new fuel and energy source. The press conference is interrupted by some masked terrorists who execute many of the folks at the conference and scoop up Grunt.
The G.I. Joe team is watching these events unfold at The Pit, even as an elevator accident has revealed some hidden areas behind the secret G.I. Joe headquarters. Forgetting these areas for the moment, the Joe team mobilizes to prepare a rescue mission. Even with some political obstacles getting in the way, they plan to organize a "training mission" near the border of Sierra Gordo so they are ready to move.
Meanwhile, Jinx and Pale Peony have been delegated by the current Arashikage elder to research some secret technical initiatives, which tie in once again to the cybernetic Blue Ninja clan.
There are lots of moving parts in this particular issue, with various events coming together at once. I will admit I was a bit disappointed to see the Blue Ninja concept already working its way back into this story, and early looks seem to indicate the masked terrorists who captured Grunt may also be Blue Ninjas. But the positive events in this book more than made up for it as we got some great group shots of G.I. Joe team members as they prepared to deploy on their "training mission" which gave me some serious mid-80's G.I. Joe vibes. I remember G.I. Joe #49 - 50 in the original Marvel run, which delegated some awesome battle squads based on specialties. Hama chooses some very interesting characters, including little seen characters such as Dogfight and Downtown, not to mention some cameos with Repeater, Recoil, Mutt & Junkyard, and many others. I always have a huge smile on my face when we see some cool cameos and G.I. Joe team members that we haven't seen a lot of.
From an art perspective, as you can see above there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen this issue, and you can kind of tell. Cariello does a serviceable job with the artwork, but being such a huge fan of Gallant, I did feel a bit let down that some of his character work was more generic than I would have preferred. Granted, you can still pick out some folks like Psyche Out and Airtight, but there were some others that just seemed to be milling around in general green uniforms, when I get the impression Gallant would have put some more unique twists on them to reflect their vintage versions. I was thrilled to see Gallant take over the last batch of pages, though, which focused on some of those awesome obscure G.I. Joe characters, and the art reflected that.
As I've become used to, this issue was excellent. Hama continues to do great work on a month-to-month basis. I'm bracing myself a bit for the inevitable return of the Blue Ninjas, a storyline element I'm not especially looking forward to, but I'm hoping Hama can do something good with them this time around. We certainly seem to be building up to a major G.I. Joe offensive, which is awesome, as some of the best story arcs in Real American Hero comic history involved events just like this. I am immediately brought back to the Battle of Springfield, the Cobra Civil War, and other large scale combat sequences that Hama did so well.
A great issue, even with some issues with uneven art, and I'm greatly looking forward to see this arc progress.