30th Anniversary ARAH Reading Marathon - Week 7

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30th Anniversary ARAH Reading Marathon - Week 7

Postby shanecdavis » Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:14 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 7 - Marvel G.I. Joe #31-35

Optional reading - Marvel Yearbook #1, Hasbro #32 1/2

COVERS
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Marvel #31 - All Fall Down!

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[b]Marvel #32 - The Mountain!


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Marvel #33 - Celebration!

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Marvel #34 - Shake Down!

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Marvel #35 - Dreadnoks on the Loose!


OPTIONAL COVERS
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Yearbook #1

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Hasbro #32 1/2 - A Day in the Life of Springfield


HIGHLIGHTS:
* First appearances of Spirit, Timber, Blowtorch, Lady Jaye, Recondo, Ripcord, Fred Broca II (aka Wade Collins) and Bongo the Balloon Bear (aka Candy Appel)
* Rod Whigham takes over as main artist
* Death of Fred Broca
* Fred Broca II replaces Fred Broca as husband and father
* Billy revealed as CC's son
* Destro shows his face to Baroness
* PIT II is opened
* Original 13 (save Snake Eyes) become Admin to PIT II
* Ripcord meets Candy
* Incredible Rattler vs. Skystriker aerial battle
* Mr. Hama establishes Zartan's ability is due to holography


PREVIOUS WEEKS
Week 6 - http://forum.idwpublishing.com/viewtopi ... 6f4cbd0a80
Week 5 - http://forum.idwpublishing.com/viewtopic.php?t=11275
Week 4 - http://forum.idwpublishing.com/viewtopi ... 499#271499
Week 3 - http://forum.idwpublishing.com/viewtopic.php?t=11165
Week 2 - http://forum.idwpublishing.com/viewtopi ... sc&start=0
Week 1 - http://forum.idwpublishing.com/viewtopi ... highlight=

Pictures courtesy of Antarctica's website - http://www.yojoe.com/comics/index.shtml#Marvel
Last edited by shanecdavis on Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby CrazyK » Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:00 pm

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Quite possibly my favorite Joe cover of all time... Depending on the day. :lol:


For example, sometimes this becomes my favorite cover...:

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Or.... :P
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:49 pm

Yeah and issue 34 is one of my favorites also, cover and all.
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Re: 30th Anniversary ARAH Reading Marathon - Week 7

Postby Torpedo » Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:10 pm

This one is my favorite cover!

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And these two easily in the Top 10 (or Top 11)!

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Postby Torpedo » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:02 pm

"Gee, these chaplain's assistants sure have a lot of neat stuff, huh?"

A favorite recurring gag during the first couple years of G.I. Joe that, for me, never got old was how Larry Hama kept the Joe's impossible-to-maintain-covert status a secret from everyone around Fort Wadsworth. I always got a kick out of how none of the other enlisted men on the base knew why or how the motor pool transferred so much cutting-edge equipment. In issue #31, "All Fall Down", Hama manages to inexplicably keep the secret from Crimson Guardsman Fred Broca despite his constant surveillance of the base.

But of course that's a rather trivial element to this important, action-packed issue.

I guess it's necessary to begin my recap with what has to be the most important aspect of the entire issue. Prior to #31, Airborne had made seven appearances in the comics, but this was the first issue to color him accurately based on his action figure. What the hell took so with that? And more importantly, why would you finally decide to color him sky blue and tan in the same issue where you first introduce another Native American Joe whose color scheme is also sky blue and tan? Why did Hasbro (or Larry Hama) create two Native American Joes in back-to-back years/waves, and why are they the same color scheme? Why does Spirit look like the mascot of a casino or a minor league baseball team instead of a soldier?

*sigh*

Anyhoo...

This seminal issue introduces Spirit Iron-Knife, pairs him with the heretofore underused Airborne in a mission to surveil Snake Eyes' cabin in the High Sierras, last mentioned in issue #27. Snake Eyes is taking a mental health day after the recent events with Storm Shadow and Hard and Soft Masters. The two Native American Joes give their best to remain unnoticed, which means Snake Eyes has them identified in about six minutes.

Back in Springfield, the Baroness and Major Bludd explain to Billy exactly what his role is to be in their plot to assassinate Cobra Commander.

Meanwhile, some coincidental events have led Destro and Firefly to Fred Broca. I never thought about this before, but it's amusing the Fred Broca tells the gas station attendant that he's looking for an old war buddy and learns of Snake Eyes' presence. What's interesting is that another character to use the name Fred Broca in the future really is an old war buddy of Snake Eyes'.

The Cobras and the Native American Joes all converge on Snake Eyes' cabin for an explosive and bloody three-on-three shootout that'll look like Quentin Tarantino's G.I. Joe! The action is crazy and thrilling. Everyone gets a moment to shine and everyone gets an entry wound to remember this issue by. Even Timber, the wolf, gets to shed some blood. Destro and Snake Eyes put holes in each other. Firefly pops a grenade that nearly kills Snake Eyes. Airborne manages to shoot Firefly. Fred shoots Airborne and Spirit, in turn, shoots Fred. The issue ends with Spirit and Destro throwing down as Firefly's satchel charge goes off, possibly killing all of them! Damn, man, this could be the most monumental and costly issue since issue #19 killed off four characters!

I've said this issue features one of my all-time favorite covers, but the interior art is just as superb. Rod Whigham's work on the series was phenomenal and this was such a powerful issue to debut his talents on. Issue #31 might not be in my Top 5 issues, but it's really, really damn close!
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:56 am

When I first got into the toys Stalker Gung Ho and Airborne were my favorites.

Issue 31 and 32, are just some of the best writing in Joe IMO. I also agree about the art in this issue too. Very nice. I couldn't put it down until I finished 32 last night. If you'd been keeping up to this point you kind of had to know that SE wasn't dead...but I'm sure the letters page for 34 will have some interesting comments about this issue.

I agree that it is odd that the 2 native American characters have the same color scheme....Turquoise and Tan, but both are colors popular with South western Native Americans.

Anyway, the interaction with Destro and Firefly was great. The soft master showing up and saying that "my name is unpronounceable to you so just call me the soft master" is greatness. Also his lines about guns and gun control are awesome.

It was also interesting to see the Baroness take a motherly role with Billy and protect him...Maybe she remembered what Kwinn said about whipping dogs, or at least what Destro remembered that he said. ;-)

Yeah Storm Shadow comes back and explains his escape, nicely done.

Dreadnoks, SS, Baroness and Bludd, Billy, Destro, Firefly...the plot thickens for the next issue....
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Postby Torpedo » Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:15 am

"The Italians have a saying: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer; and although they've never won a war or mass-produced a decent car, in this area they are correct."
- 30 Rock

The Cobra soap opera continues in G.I. Joe #32, "The Mountain", as Cobra Commander enlists Storm Shadow, Zartan and the Dreadnoks as bodyguards because he knows that all of his other agents have reasons (and plans) to kill him. He even admits to Storm Shadow that he knows who killed the Hard Master, but will withhold that information to ensure the ninja's loyalty.

At the same time, we see Baroness' true maternal instinct come to the fore as she affectionately reassures Billy while trying to make him a more efficient killer. How sweet!

Frank Springer returns to pencil #32, and even though he's far better than the artists who worked on the book for its first two years, I already miss the previous issue's Rod Whigham.

Larry adds four new members to the G.I. Joe roster this month. Blowtorch, Recondo and Ripcord finish out the single-carded Joes from 1984, and Lady Jaye (here called "Lady J") is the first Joe from the 1985 action figure wave (second overall after Crimson Guard). Just for good measure, we also get a scene where Spirit interacts with a bald eagle, not unlike Freedom, his pet from the toy and cartoon.

The four new Joe teammates are introduced in scenes that reveal the Pit's completion and pending opening ceremony. It's been ten issues--though really just a matter of days in-story--since they began rebuilding in "Chimney Sweepers" and it's nice that General "Iron *" Austin is coming to help the rededication.

But of course the real meat of this issue follows up on the cliffhanger from last month, where Snake Eyes, Spirit, Airborne, Destro, Firefly and Fred Broca were all shot up and blown up. Of course, they all survived--for the moment--and the timely intervention of the Soft Master sends the Cobras away to lick their wounds. By the end, though, Fred Broca will be dead, only to be replaced by Fred Broca II.

Also, Spirit blows up a #@%$ing bear!

All told, it's not as great as the last issue, but it's still really good. Soft Master dispenses some sage advice, lots of new toys show up, people talk to animals, and Destro and Firefly ride a tree over a cliff.
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Postby Torpedo » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:03 am

I just read Hasbro's G.I. Joe #32 1/2, "A Day in the Life of Springfield", and wow, this is a pretty bad story.

There are no creator credits listed anywhere on the issue, so if Larry Hama scripted this issue, well, maybe he didn't want to be credited. Continuity wise, though, where this issue takes place doesn't make any sense. Scar-Face is alive and well functioning as Cobra Commander's driver, when he should be long dead. Characters mention that Dr. Venom is dead, but Scar-Face died at the same time, unless we're to believe he didn't die, which was a theory I posited a while ago

This issue, if read between issues #32 and #33 would mark the first chronological appearance of Professor Appel and Dr. Mindbender. But more than that, this issue spoils the epic mystery identity of the Hard Master's killer in a very lame, undramatic way.

The issue comes packaged with Scar-Face Cobra Officer and Crimson Guard Fred Broca. The problem is, the Crimson Guard Fred does not appear in this issue, even though it would make logical sense of him to star in this story at this point in the timeline.

I get what Hasbro and the creators were trying to do with this issue, but it just did not deliver. I recommend not reading this issue, or at least not considering it canon with the rest of the series.
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:53 am

Thanks for that note on 32.5. I was just about to get that one. Not now.
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Postby Torpedo » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:05 pm

The Scar-Face and Crimson Fred figures are pretty cool, but if you're just planning to pick up #32.5 on its own somewhere, I would give it a second thought.
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:26 pm

It would be nice to add scarface to my collection, but I already have a squad of Hall of Heros Crimson Gardsmen. If I can find it cheap enough maybe.
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Postby Torpedo » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:58 pm

"That's a really dumb poem. Who wrote it, anyway?"

I posted my reasons why the cover for G.I. Joe #33, "Celebration", is my favorite cover of the series in another thread, so I'll just repost those thoughts.

So much story and drama depicted in this image. The look of utter shock and disbelief captured solely in the Commander's eyes as he makes his speech! The unknown assassin's hand ready to snuff out Cobra Commander. It's a political assassination rendered expertly on the cover; maybe that's why its so captivating, because it stirs images of the deaths of the Kennedy's and Dr. King in the 1960s (events, of course, I was not yet born to witness), or even assassination plots against Hitler. Regardless of why it resonates, or how--it does, and that's enough for me.


Every once in a while, Frank Springer seems to channel Jack Kirby in his layouts and character designs. There were a few shots of Zartan back in issue #25 that looked like they could have come from an issue of Fantastic Four or Journey into Mystery back in the '60s. He does it again in issue #33, particularly, I think, with Fred II's wife and kids at the shopping mall. There's also another image--the first panel on page four; there's a guy walking by smoking a cigarette and another guy on the far right side who seem like they could be portraits of the creators. I don't know enough of what Springer and Hama looked like in 1984, but I always got the impression these were supposed to be them or other members of the Marvel bullpen.

The dedication of the new Pit brings about some mostly symbolic changes. Hawk is promoted to full commander of the unit, taking the place formerly held by General Flagg. Duke, already the First Shirt, is promoted to field commander. And the original Joes are promoted to administrative staff of the Pit... sort of. Aside from Snake Eyes, only the eight single-carded action figures from 1982 are named. Clutch, Steeler and Grand Slam are left out of the commencement, so either General Austin forgot about them, Larry Hama forgot about them, or their status didn't change.

This was an interesting and fairly respectful way to shift the Old Guard aside while making room for the dozens of new characters who'd join the unit every year. Of course, it only really applied to half of them, as Stalker, Scarlett, Rock n Roll and Breaker would remain mainstays of the team for years to come. In fact, with the exception of Breaker, who died, they're all some of the most recognizable characters in the franchise and they were all part of the team that Larry Hama first resurrected for IDW's A Real American Hero.

But so many more important things happened in issue #33, most notably the debut of Candy Appel/Bongo the Balloon Bear!

Okay, seriously, this issue tosses out probably the biggest dramatic reveal since the twin tattoos at the end of issue #21, and I'd argue this is bigger because the plot has been building for longer. Billy's dad is alive and well, and guess what? Cobra Commander's a daddy! Somehow Destro knows this and jumps in at the last minute. Storm Shadow was ready to kill (or at least maim) a tween to protect the Commander, but Destro stops Storm Shadow and Billy to drop the truth bomb on everyone!

Also, earlier in this issue, Destro unmasked for Baroness and she fainted. I thought she was made of tougher stuff, but I guess not. Even Snake Eyes' uncovered visage never rendered anyone unconscious!
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Postby Torpedo » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:39 pm

Now I think it's time we talked about Blowtorch.
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I've said before that I think a lot of my ideas about G.I. Joe, and certainly my tolerance for some of the more fantastic elements of the mythos stem from the fact that I fell in love with the toys and cartoons a few years before I got into the comics. Because of that, stuff like the Weather Dominator, creeper vines, Serpentor, even stuff like every character being a qualified jet pilot, even Junkyard doing anything, never really bothered me (although Shipwreck and Polly always annoyed me).

Because of that, I might be the only one on this forum who actually liked Barbeque before issue #172 where he rescues Lady Jaye and the others from the wrecked Tomahawk. And I always liked Airtight and never understood how he wasn't at least a member of the Eco-Warriors. And, yeah, I always liked Blowtorch--the original Ice-Cream Soldier!

I saw Alien and Aliens at a young age--possibly an irresponsibly young age--and I grew up clinging to the idea that few things in life are more awesome than flamethrowers. Even today when I read about how modern militaries consider flamethrowers controversial, even barbaric, my only argument is there's something sort-of primal-ly cool about their destructive capability.

Is Blowtorch's vibrant red-and-yellow suit ridiculous for a covert military unit? Of course! Has that ever deterred me from liking him? Not ever!

I don't mind the niche-specialty guys like Blowtorch and Barbeque. I understand they're not going to make sense in the vast majority of missions and stories, and I wouldn't want them in that many. But every once in a while, Larry finds a way for them to make sense. He did it with Barbeque in issue #172, and I hope he finds a way to do it for Blowtorch and Airtight in the not-to-distant future.
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Postby jackharkness » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:19 pm

i think shipwreck and polly were only added for comic relief in the cartoon, not so much the comic, and what the hell is an ice cream soldier? i remember reading something about it in an old sgt rock when i was about 12 :?
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Postby Torpedo » Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:02 am

Thanks to YoJoe:

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