30th Anniversary ARAH Reading Marathon - Week 2

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30th Anniversary ARAH Reading Marathon - Week 2

Postby shanecdavis » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:28 am

In honor of 2012 being the 30th Anniversary of the Marvel G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic that we all know and love, we will be holding a reading marathon. Each week we will read 5 issues and then post our thoughts here. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate. Please share any experiences you had when you first read these issues, whether it be as a kid, or picking these up later as a teen or adult. If you missed out on the previous weeks, you can find the URLs at the bottom of this post.

WEEK 2 - Marvel G.I. Joe 6-10

Covers
Image Image Image Image Image

Curiously, this week's writing only has 1 issue actually written by Mr. Hama. Herb Trimpe wrote #6 and #7 even though Larry Hama was credited, Trimpe penned #8 himself (which explains a lot) and Steven Grant wrote #9. Happy reading!

Week 1 - http://forum.idwpublishing.com/viewtopic.php?t=11084&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=

edit: Thanks to ER for setting me straight on Mr. Hama writing #10 and providing the interesting info of Trimpe writing #6 and #7. - Shane
Last edited by shanecdavis on Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Torpedo » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:00 am

Just saying, the cover to issue #7 is one of my all-time favorite covers of the series. Issue #7 also answers a question I posed in the trivia thread about Colonel Brekhov.
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Postby jackharkness » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:05 am

gi joe number 7 was the first gi joe i ever got, it WAS the cover that grabbed me, and the dialogue within was great, although i couldn't figure out (at the time) WHY clutch was such a shmuck towards scarlett, i expected her to belt him one by the end of the issue, rooftop hotplate
BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA wonder what the power bill for THAT was
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Postby ER » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:15 am

Shane, great to see the week-two thread up so promptly - thanks again for doing this!

Though Larry writes #10, not Steven Grant.

It should also be noted that Herb Trimpe came up with the plot for #6-7 even though Larry was the actual scripter on these two issues.

So Larry wrote 3 of this week's 5 issues, but he actually only came up with the plot for one of them: #10.

This week's reading features the debut of the Oktober Guard and Dr. Venom - can't wait! :)
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Postby Torpedo » Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:54 pm

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #6 - "To Fail is to Conquer... To Succeed is to Die!'

I always liked that title.

This issue includes a number of firsts for the G.I. Joe comic. It is the first multi-part story to be concluded the next month. The first five issues were all done-in-ones that wrapped up fairly conclusively by the last page. Issue #6 was also the first time we get a double-page splash in the comic as Herb Trimpe cut loose with the gorgeous spread of the Joes shooting it out with the Oktober Guard as they jump over the crevasse in their respective vehicles.

In story, of course, this was also the first appearance of the five original members of the Guard--Col. Brekhov, Schrage, Daina, Horrorshow, and Stormavik. We see the unnamed CIA liaison with the red ball cap who will show up later (if I remember correctly), and through him and Ahmed's dialogue we get a sense of Larry Hama's feelings about the Agency and the way it uses "line infantrymen". That particular relationship will be revisited on occasion, notably in some great issues of Special Missions.

There's a bit of a mistake in this issue, and it's unclear whether it was an error on the part of the script, the lettering or the coloring. When Hawk unveils the mission roster, it includes Grand Slam. During the mission, however, we only ever see and hear from Grand Slam's visual double, Flash. However again, Flash is colored with grayish padding on his chest and arms, like the second action figure version of Grand Slam that came with the J.U.M.P. jet pack.

Every time I reread this issue I'm surprised by the subplot where Hawk betrays the team's location/objective to Cobra. I always forget that it was a part of this story. The first time I read this issue, I remember thinking, Why is he doing that? That doesn't make sense. I never thought for a second Hawk was actually an agent of Cobra and since I had started reading G.I. Joe in the middle of its run I knew he was still their leader and everyone was safe; I just thought it was confusing at the time.
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Postby Leneer1 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:52 pm

I loved the adventure aspect of issues six and seven. The RTV being dropped off in components that then had to be reassembled on the field was a cool idea. And here we get what will become a recurring theme with Larry, that of the smarmy, conceited government official. Larry really has a thing against the "suits and haircuts", and they would plague the Joes all through the original Marvel run. The CIA agent's exchange with Ahmed is one of the best moments in the series. "Stalker's just a two-bit line infantryman, he can't promise you anything." "He is a fighting man." "So?" "I knew you wouldn't understand."

I love it when the Joes go on adventures like these in other countries. These are the kind of situations I imagined my own action figures in when I used to play with them in my parents huge backyard with its small hill ("We must take the high ground"), huge oak tree (a great mountain the Joes must climb to reach their target), and long sidewalk (a winding lake for amphibious assaults). Stalker has definitely emerged as one of Larry's favorite characters to write. Kinda sad that he's not getting as much face time in the current IDW run.

The Oktober Guard have always been so-so to me, best used in small doses. But they really shine here in their first appearance. And CC has never been more bada$$ than at the end of issue six as he emerges from the chaos and tells his men to line up the prisoners and kill them. Great stuff. Still a fun read after all of these years.
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Postby CrazyK » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:43 pm

GI JOE #8 was the second Joe comic I ever got (after #5), so I missed out on the Oktober Guard for years until I could track down those back issues.

I always liked this story, as it was fairly straight forward and exciting. I remember that this was one of the first comic stories I tried to "recreate" with my toys. As a six year old, I thought the SEA Legs were awesome and I was hoping they would be a toy soon.

Interesting note, this story was used as the basis for one of the first GI JOE coloring books, too.
"I... I don't believe it..."
"That. Is why you fail..."
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Postby CrazyK » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:46 pm

ER wrote:Though Larry writes #10, not Steven Grant.


Yojoe's comic book archive does have Steven Grant listed as the writer in their credits. So, which is true?
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Postby shanecdavis » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:06 am

Aha! I did grab the information of YoJoe! while I was copying the cover URL. I checked my digital copy of #10 and it indeed is credited to Larry Hama. Looks like we need Antarctica to make a small correction to his site.
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Postby ER » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:30 am

And don't forget the actual content of #10 - we get the introduction of Dr. Venom and Billy and it's the first time the Joes are in Springfield and it's the first time we get a clue into SE's tragic past - only Larry could have written this one!

(This is one of the issues that I pretty much have memorized - I doubt I'll come across anything that I don't remember when I get to this in the marathon, but we'll see)
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Postby Torpedo » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:52 am

I'm a little disappointed, ER. You failed to include Hama's greatest contribution to G.I. Joe, if not comics in general Issue #10 also featured the introduction of everyone's favorite Brainwave Scanner.
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Postby ER » Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:51 pm

Torpedo wrote:I'm a little disappointed, ER. You failed to include Hama's greatest contribution to G.I. Joe, if not comics in general Issue #10 also featured the introduction of everyone's favorite Brainwave Scanner.


ha ha - your sarcasm is duly noted :)

Though, I have to say that I actually like the BWS in #10. When it was used as a mind-reader I thought it was pretty interesting.

When it was used later on in the series as a brainwash machine (instead of just a mind-reader) over and over and over again... Well, that's when I started getting tired of it.
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Postby shanecdavis » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:28 am

Just finished up #6 and #7. I wonder just how involved Trimpe was in the script. He provided the plot, but is Mr. Hama responsible for all the dialogue? This was our first two-issue story and it was a good one. I had forgotten that Grand Slam was originally selected to be part of the team. Either Hawk inadvertently wrote the wrong name or maybe they changed the team due to some intel they received that would make Flash more valuable.

While the guys tried to woo Scarlett with the technical specifications of the MOBAT in the previous issue, this is the first time a Joe actually makes a pass on her. That's pretty ballsy, assuming from flashbacks that would come later that she and Snake Eyes were already an item at that time. We are talking about Clutch here though, who would probably hit on "Iron *" Austin's wife, if she where hot enough. Hawk being the "mole" was a surprise too. He basically sacrificed his team in order to secure the spy plane. Not very cool.

As Leneer said, we got our first taste of a CIA liaison. I don't particularly like the fact that EVERY liaison was portrayed in this fashion and that most civilians we see behave boorishly towards the military, but I must admit both situations happen. Still, I would have liked to have seen a "spook" be a help to the team once instead of always a hindrance. Gotta love the exchange between him and Ahmed though.

I've always liked the Oktober Guard, bad stereotyping notwithstanding. I wish we could have seen a British equivalent (called Action Force of course) as well, or even an Israeli one. The GRU (which is what I assume the OG is comprised of), SBS/SAS, and Shayetet are among the deadliest SF units in the world. It makes sense the Joes would come into contact with them, as they did here with the OG. The splash page with both units jumping the ravine was the first time we a got a panel that spanned 2 pages. Awesome.

I also enjoyed the progression of CC's character through the first half of the Marvel run, up until he gets "killed" by Fred VIII. Even when things don't go his way, he stays cool and collected. Like he said in #3 "Luckily we have more than one plan to destroy G.I. Joe". How right he was! Sadly though, towards the latter part of the run, Mr. Hama started portraying CC more as his awful cartoon counterpart. Even the first part of IDW's ARAH had it. I am VERY hopeful that the death of Billy will be what brings CC back to what he used to be and not the bumbling idiot he turned into.

Boy did Clutch really prove his worth to the team throughout this story! He was always just the VAMP driver to me, until I was able to read this story and his one shot years later. It's a shame he got lost in the shuffle when Hasbro started coming out with all the special interest teams.

One thing that bugs me though is that we never truly see a resolution to the story. Hawk tells the team they were the diversion and that was it. No recourse. Trimpe would take over the writing duties for #8 and then Steven Grant would for #9, and then Mr. Hama wen on to his next story. Sure, many things happen off panel (like Flash being substituted for Grand Slam), but I for one would have liked to have seen that played out in some way.

Next up is #8, which is in the same boat as #3 for me.
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Postby ER » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:40 am

I read #6 and #7 back to back last night and had a blast!

(Torpedo, I looked for the answer to your trivia question, but couldn't find it - I guess I just don't know song titles good enough)

In #6 and #7 Hama definitely wrote the script itself with all the dialogue. All the Joe interaction and the stuff with the CIA guy is classic, classic Hama.

You can say what the plot of the story is in a few sentences: The Joes must protect a captured Russian plane from being reclaimed by the Russians and from being taken by Cobra. Elite Russian team, the Oktober Guard, attack the Joes. While the two forces are fighting one another, Cobra shows up and takes the plane to a heavily fortified bunker. The Joes and the Oktober Guard team up to get the plane back from Cobra. In the end the Joes succeed in taking the plane away from both Cobra and the Oktober Guard, but then they find out that they were just a red herring the entire time.

It's my guess that Trimpe did little more than come up with what's in the above paragraph and then Hama took that and churned out #6 and #7, writing the script, all the dialogue, deciding which Joes would be featured, etc. In my mind that's the difference between plot and script.

In #6 I absolutely love all of the Joe interaction as well as the plot, itself, with all the international intrigue going on. The continuing Clutch/Scarlett conflict is great! Steeler, Clutch and Breaker had just been featured big in #5 and all three are back for #6 and #7 - nice to have that continuity, and of course readers should feel pretty familiar with Stalker and Scarlett by now as well. Great to have Flash along too as I don't think we'll see much of him after '82. The personalities of Stalker, Scarlett and Clutch overpower the other three in this adventure, I'd say.

I love the Oktober Guard (I have all 5 of their figures from the comic three-packs released, I don't know, 7 or 8 years ago - awesome figures, though I'm still hoping that Hasbro will release them as 25th anniversary style figures as well sometime.

My only complaint with #6 is that when the OG are pinned down, under fire from the ATV they leave their cover and charge out and begin fist-fighting with the Joes - that moment always seemed a little much, even when reading this as a kid - I remember thinking - what the the Joes can't shoot them when they're running up the hill like that? But oh well, this kind of thing happens in comics a lot, and it certainly didn't stop me from enjoying the adventure.

It's funny - in my Tales of GI Joe #6 they reprinted the pages in such a way that the two-page spread are on different page spreads! So I didn't even know that this was meant to be one big picture until Marvel published the #1-10 trade around ten years ago! But I agree with Torpedo and Shane that this is a great spread.

I do remember noting as a kid that this was the first Joe issue to end on a cliffhanger. And it's a great cliffhanger at that with CC himself coming onto the scene!

#7 starts out very cool with their escape and teaming up with the OG. But though I remember loving all the booby traps in the fortress as a kid, the action here for me doesn't really stand the test of time.

Still, this is a great story that's pretty complex for a kiddie comic with the Joes being a red herring.
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Postby ER » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:16 pm

Just finished #8 A good read, though there's not really anything particularly memorable about it other than it's one of the few times we see all 13 originals in action together.

And I think the timing was right to have another adventure with all 13 - a few (Grand Slam and Rock N Roll) hadn't really been seen since #1 so it's nice to see the whole team out with all the vehicles working together. I do like this aspect of the issue quite a bit. And this being the first non-Hama issue, Trimpe did a nice job keeping some continuity with the characters - Clutch goofing off with the snowball, Stalker getting leadership responsibility from Hawk, etc.

The SEA Legs remind me of ATSTs from Star Wars - lol

Love Cobra Commander's look with the red cloak in the beginning

EDIT: Forgot to mention the Dr. Strangelove reference - ha ha - I don't remember ever noticing that before! :)
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