While it is true Scarlett's origin was covered in Scarlett: Declassified, that was written by Mike O'Sullivan and wasn't very memorable. I can't remember if there is any conflict between IDW ARAH and DDP ARAH, but I would much rather Mr. Hama provide an origin for her, and for Snake Eyes too, if he so inclines.
I did get caught up with this week's reading, burning through 3-5 over the weekend. I put off reading #3 because it was the first time we got a silly sci-fi element from Mr. Hama and it bothered me since this was before Hasbro started mandating it. This was all his idea. I actually never read this issue until Marvel put out the small digest volumes, which made it an even harder pill to swallow. Reading it again though, it wasn't too bad. The robot being able to find the console to activate the blast doors was ridiculous to me, not to mention it re-assembling itself, but I have to say that the characterization and the action more than made up for it. Most of the good points have been covered so I won't go into it, but I couldn't get enough of how Mr. Hama brought out how the Joes work together. The tactics and their ingenuity made it an enjoyable read. Not quite on par as the previous 2 though.
Like #3, I first read #4 in digest form. As ER said, this was some pretty dark stuff for a "kid's" comic. Mr. Hama once again balances a solid story with superb characterization, many learning moments, and sprinkles of both good humor and humor that makes you roll your eyes. The high point for me were the entries of Snake Eyes, especially when he is observing Hawk and Grunt. Reading this again was interesting because there were two DDP spin-offs from this issue, one good and one not. Brandon Jerwa's Frontline #11-14 storyline centered around Wingfield's son Tyler, which I think is the best Frontline story DDP produced and really made Chuckle's a much more intriguing character. Joe Casey, on the other hand, started off America's Elite by bringing back Wingfield himself. It was plagued with bad characterization, flying IG robots, Storm Shadow jumping from an exploding Sky Hawk and landing to the ground without a scratch, among other things.
There were a couple things though that made me scratch my head. Throughout the issue Stalker is referred to by many Joes as Ranger. The second is Hawk jumping in the Sabre and piloting it. Maybe it's different in the Army, but in the Marine Corps there just isn't that type of cross training. Artillery officers and especially enlisted soldiers (Zap) don't have any possible way to attend MATSG-21 (Marine Aviation Training). I would have rather Hawk got a message back to Breaker to scramble a certain pilot, but, as with most of Mr. Hama's work, the rest of the story is so good that you can accept a few of those inconsistencies.
Then there was #5. It is interesting to note that to this point the Joes have only battled with COBRA once, in the first issue. That streak continues here as this issue further shows the Joe's ingenuity and their ability to adapt and overcome. If they were any better they would be Marines. Once again Mr. Hama teaches us, this time with detailed information on the inner workings of a tank. Gotta love those moments. Mr Hama did a fine job of balancing action and comedy. Joes always seem to ease the tension of a situation with levity, and this issue certainly was no exception. Like Torpedo, I too thought the using of Breaker's gum to simulate firing was brilliant. I also agree that I think it was the fault of the artist to properly depict the situation with CC using a girl scout as a human shield. Regardless, this is the second time in three issues the Joes have thwarted CC's plans without firing a single shot (squashing/stomping/shooting tiny COBRA robots notwithstanding).
So that makes 8 issues read in 5 days. Well, 11 if you consider Declassified were double issues. Not bad. Here is how I would rank the stories:
Thankfully Mr. Hama's plots would only get better and better over the next few years, until Hasbro started introducing some pretty suspect figures/vehicles into the toy line and then mandating their appearance into the comic.