G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #211
Writer: Larry Hama
Inks: Brian Shearer
Colors: J Brown
Letters: Tom B. Long
Editor: Carlos Guzman
Over the past few issues, it's been clear that Larry Hama is starting to lean a little towards the science fiction side of the fence with the revelation of the giant eye in the Utah desert and the potential resurrection of Serpentor. This issue furthers that idea along as we not only get more giant eye, but more Revanche automations, and a healthy dose of... big battle robots?
Listen, Hama has been writing G.I. Joe off and on for three decades, and he has written far more good than bad, but I will admit the big mech robots had me do a little double take.
This issue hits a number of different angles, focusing on the desert training battle featuring a number of great vehicles (which get pretty quickly wiped out). I loved that Hama and Gallant actually included the appropriate drivers for those vehicles, too. It's those little touches that add to the enjoyment of this book.
The vehicles are wiped out by what appears to be a next generation armored battle robot, which actually bears a little resemblance to the Star Brigade Armor Bot, though not enough to really bring a smile to my face. As it turns out this robot is being controlled by Roadblock much in the same way that he was "plugged into" Serpentor the issue before.
In Japan, Storm Shadow and his two new comrades tear through a clan of Night Creepers and Techno Vipers (and to his credit, Storm Shadow acknowledges that it's a strange pairing) as they push forward into Revanche trying to cut off the head of the snake, so to speak.
Meanwhile, in Olliestan, Outback, Bazooka, Throwdown, Cover Girl, Dusty, and Clutch stumble upon... the Red Shadows who appear to be working alongside Cobra and Revanche. This was an interesting curve ball, and I loved seeing that little Shadowtrack cruising along the desert sand before it was ambushed. A few of the Joes disguise themselves as the inhabitants of the Shadowtrack (leaving Cover Girl, Bazooka, and Clutch as support) and infiltrate the desert base, only to come across... yes, another giant battle robot, only this one looks significantly larger and more... Transformers like?
I suppose it could also look "Gundam" like, but Transformers is the most direct correlation I can think of. We do only see its lower legs and feet, though.
As the issue ends, Joe and Jane stand above the strange large eye, and can't help but notice that it's staring directly back at them.
So... a lot to cover here. I'll admit I have no idea where Larry is going with these science fiction elements - the eye, the robots, etc... it's clear that Revanche is involved in the design and construction of the really large robot at the end of the issue, there are blue ninjas all over the Olliestan base. But how that all ties with this eyeball and G.I. Joe's own experiments with armored robots, I'm still not quite clear.
I will say I love how varied this issue was with character choices. We saw Cross Country, Armadillo, and Steeler controlling their respective vehicles remotely, plus see Outback, and who can forget a really nice cameo by the Red Shadows. Both Black Major and Red Laser are seen milling around the Olliestan base as the Joes sneak in and get a peek at the scary threat within, and I'll be interested to see how that all plays out.
As for the eyeball and Serpentor, I'm still remaining cautiously optimistic. Hama has rarely let me down, and there is certainly a healthy heap of build up here, we'll have to see how it pays off. With the upcoming events (that I will not spoil here for folks who haven't been checking upcoming solicitation info) there will obviously be some serious reprocussions to this plot line. The question just remains how all these different puzzle pieces fit into that.
Hama and Gallant keep up their pace of a fast-moving, well designed story, with great character and vehicle translation from plastic to page. That really helps compliment an exciting story, even as I grow just a little bit more leery of all the out-of-this-world elements that continue to seep in.