Another great issue of Cobra. It really is the most consistently solid GI Joe title of all time… and I would even argue one of the most consistently solid titles of all time even OUTSIDE of the Joe franchise. With the Chuckles issue last month, I was beginning to wonder if perhaps the idea well had run dry in Costa’s head… but this issue has proven that this is not the case at all. Quite the contrary, actually. I am absolutely loving this new twist where the Joes have a double-secret black ops team that is funded and reliant upon a former high ranking Cobra agent. Just genius. And I loved the twist at the end, too. Will be very interesting to see what Costa does with this familiar character from the old ARAH days. Oh, and I am really digging the premise of their new base, as well.
As for the art… count me on the side that really enjoys Fuso’s work, and thinks that his style is an essential fit for GI Joe: Cobra. I can understand that other fans who are used to seeing a more “mainstream” style are wishing that someone like Atkins or Gallant would support the title instead, but I think this would be a big mistake. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the artwork of both Atkins and Gallant over on the other titles. But Cobra is a very different animal than the other titles. It’s generally more dialogue driven, and has the feel of a mature readers style graphic novel format than the other standard, action driven titles. I feel as though a title like Cobra demands a more gritty, impressionistic, and “artsy” style than the other Joe books. In fact, I don’t think it would work half as well without it. And I’m not necessarily saying that it needs Fuso specifically, but at least someone with a similar type of style. And I say this because although I absolutely LOVE Fuso’s work when he is drawing the dialogue or other-wise “slow” scenes (his covers have been great lately, BTW), I totally agree that his work is borderline un-followable whenever he’s trying to draw complex action scenes. Not always, but a lot of the time.
Anyways, my vote is to keep Fuso, with the hope that he can improve on his ability to portray action scenes.
Only gripes were that – as others have already said – the action scenes in the beginning go on for WAY too many pages for a writer and artist who aren’t super-talented when it comes to action scenes, and then also that it appears as though Costa is simply dealing with Hawk’s departure from the series by writing Duke almost exactly like Hawk. It doesn’t come off well, considering that Duke has never really behaved like Hawk at any other point in the other reboot titles to date. As much as l loved the way that Costa wrote Hawk, I don’t really want to see him write every Joe leader the exact same way.
But these are small gripes when compared to the overall awesomeness of the issue as a whole.
So, final grade:
First 5 pages = C
Rest of the story = A+
But from that point on... Phil Coletti was forever known as... Machete Phil.