30th Anniversary ARAH Reading Marathon - Week 9

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30th Anniversary ARAH Reading Marathon - Week 9

Postby shanecdavis » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:44 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 9 - Marvel G.I. Joe #41-45

Optional reading - Marvel Yearbook #2

COVERS
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Marvel #41 - Strategic Diplomacy

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Marvel #42 - Ties That Bind

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Marvel #43 - Crossroads

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Marvel #44 - Improvisation on a Theme


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Marvel #45 - In Search of Candy


OPTIONAL COVERS
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Marvel Yearbook #2


HIGHLIGHTS:
* First appearance of Scrap-Iron, Airtight, BATs, Bazooka, Crank-Case, Dr. Mindbender, Heavy Metal, Alpine, and Quick Kick
* COBRA Island declared a sovereign nation
* General Austin suffers a heart attack
* Fred II revealed to be Wade Collins
* Storm Shadow continues Billy's training
* Soft Master discovers identity of Hard Master's killer
* Death of Soft Master, Candy, and Billy
* Backstory of Snake Eyes, Stalker, and Storm Shadow's LRRP unit
* Hard Master's killer revealed to be Zartan
* Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow fight together for the first time, on COBRA Island in search of Zartan
* Hawk promoted to Brigadier General
* General Austin retires


PREVIOUS WEEKS
WEEK 8 - Marvel #36-40, Hasbro #36 1/2
WEEK 7 - Marvel #31-35, Marvel Yearbook #1, Hasbro #32 1/2
WEEK 6 - Marvel #26-30, DDP Snake Eyes: Declassified 1-6
WEEK 5 - Marvel #21-25, DDP Snake Eyes: Declassified Trade, Hasbro #21B
WEEK 4 - Marvel #16-20
WEEK 3 - Marvel #11-15
WEEK 2 - Marvel #6-10
WEEK 1 - Marvel #1-5, DDP G.I. Joe: Declassified 1-3

Pictures courtesy of Antarctica's website - http://www.yojoe.com/comics/index.shtml#Marvel
Last edited by shanecdavis on Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:55 am

41 is a great issue. despite the fact that no one knew the consequences of their actions from the last issue.... the action was great. the interaction was appropriate. I think they toned down Shipwreck a bit too. I don't just like these issues because Cobra appears to be winning. I like them because it makes the Joe victory at the end that much more satisfying.

I love the part about not worrying about the guys on the WHALE cause all they have to do is wait this thing out and float back up. And how Cutter unconsciously steers the WHALE back to the platform. How Barbecue's job just became a moot point with the tidal wave. Good good stuff.
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Postby ER » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:49 pm

#41 (released August 1985)

Read it today - great issue! Love the tidal wave in the beginning that gives grief to the WHALE, Battle Platform and USS Flagg. Ace's stunt flying (taking off on the 30-degree tilted deck) is very cool and all the action with the Rattlers is strong. Once the land battle begins, I feel like the action could have been better. The twins getting knocked off the ATV with a log and BBQ attacking a HISS Tank with an ax wasn't as exciting as the battle could have been. But this sequence is only about two pages so it doesn't hurt the issue that much. The end reveal that Cobra Island is now recognized as a sovereign state is AWESOME! Brilliant writing by Larry!

In Postbox the editors reveal: "The Joes get about eight hundred letters a week and we read every letter."

This issue came out one month before the daily TV show would begin and in Postbox we are told that Larry scripted an episode. (!?!?) I didn't remember that - anyone know which episode he wrote?

Also at the end of Postbox, we see a sneak-peek of three panels from #42 (one of the Springfield cops shooting at the Soft Master). Underneath that it reads: "DOES THE SOFT MASTER LIVE OR DIE? THE ANSWER IN 30 DAYS, IN G.I. JOE #42! DON'T MISS IT!!" I thought that was pretty cool - I think this was the first time Joe readers got a look at actual panels from the next issue a month in advance. Great teaser!
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Postby Torpedo » Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:36 am

I kind of wish G.I. Joe #41, "Strategic Diplomacy" had been released this year instead of 1985 for one reason: in today's decompressed storytelling status quo, the First Battle of Cobra Island would have been an epic that spanned at least four issues!

There is some great action in this issue. Duke, Snake Eyes, Recondo and others storming the beach was great. The banter between Snow Job and Ripcord was awesome. Gung Ho and Roadblock using a log to take out the Crimson Twins would have been better if they used, like, bullets or grenades. Barbeque and Shipwreck using an axe and some kind of anchor/paperweight to take out a H.I.S.S. Tank would have been better if they used, like, any other form of attack. Those were kind of dumb, silly moments that could have been better, but Ace taking off from a lilting U.S.S. Flagg was awesome enough to make up for them. Still, if Larry Hama could have spaced this battle out over more issues, the world could have been better.

Issue #41 featured the first appearance of the Cobra Stinger vehicle and Cobra Island. Also, for some reason, Cobra Commander refers to Professor Appel as Crimson Guardsman "Jones" the entire issue.
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:35 am

42 continues the greatness. I think Hama writes best when he has several interesting stories in each issue. We get the Joes failure to get Cobra off their island, Storm Shadow training Billy, Candy and Buzzer duking it out, and Fred II (Wade Collins) interaction with his family and being sick from the last time we saw him (in the river) also him following his former team mates Stalker and Snake Eyes to the Vietnam war memorial.

This issue developed characters and moved plot forward with a lot of G.I. Joe action.

Also I loved the covers for 41 and 42.
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Postby ER » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:11 am

Torpedo, I completely agree! In a perfect world the events of #41 would have been covered in more than one issue, allowing for an epic battle. Too bad that the action here got cut short and then we got a stinker like #44 not long after...
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Postby shanecdavis » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:31 am

Marvel #41 - Strategic Diplomacy

The cover of #41 really speaks volumes for me. You have my favorite Joe and two of my other favorites (although Snake Eyes still wouldn't creep onto my favorite list for a few more issues), all bruised and battered, giving COBRA hell. Then you have Trip-Wire, doing what he does best - nothing. That should have been Torpedo or Recondo or Stalker or Ripcord or Snow Job or pretty much ANY OTHER Joe (not called Shipwreck or Barbecue) crouched down and reloading while his buddies laid down some suppressive fire. Even Doc working on a wounded Joe would have been more preferable. In spite of that, the cover was awesome.

The title page though was beyond awesome! Mr. Whigham sure depicted quite a bleak scene for the Joes on the WHALE. Actually those first few pages are still as tense reading them now as they were back then. I know lately I've bagged on Mr. Hama for using too much comic relief, but in these first few pages he was brilliant. The Joes added a little levity to the situation a few times, and it was enjoyable as it was pretty much what you would expect elite soldiers to do when faced with such a dire situation. The reveal of COBRAs plan was just incredible. Having the Joes blow a fault line to create a brand new land mass in the Gulf of Mexico, well outside of the three-mile limit of any other country??? WOW!! My young mind was sufficiently blown! It was weird that CC did refer to Appel as "Jones", but I think it's the same as when he referred to Fred as "Smith". In my mind, since Appel wasn't part of the Fred series, he had a different alias, which I believe many of the Siegies had. Especially those that were to infiltrate American society. Having a bunch of Freds running for office would kinda stick out like a sore thumb, but if the Fred series were the foot soldiers and the Jones (and any other aliases) were more of the society types, it would make more sense.

There are three specific battles that I always wished spanned over more issues. The COBRA Civil War, the Battle for Springfield, and this one. One issue???? We could have squeezed out at least a second issue, right? I mean I understand the urgency of kicking COBRA off the island, but just think of the incredible actions scenes we could have gotten with a second issue. To be honest, the action scenes we did get included some pretty bad groaners. Gung-Ho and Roadblock used a log to take down the Wonder Twins, who were driving a Ferret that has a front-facing .50 cal on it???? Shipwreck took out a HISS tank track with a can opener on a rope???? Barbecue attacked a HISS tank with an axe???? While I do appreciate the display of Joe ingenuity, it could have been (should have been) handled MUCH better. I do get though that the new Joes needed their moment in the sun, but I wish it could have been done without compromising the story as much as it did.

Thankfully there were many more great moments that offset those which made this issue still a joy to read. Having a big handful of my favorite Joes on hand to storm the castle was a pretty cool moment, even if we never got to really see them in action. The banter between Snow Job and Ripcord, with Ripcord lamenting on how he was missing out on an opportunity to REALLY get hurt was equally cool. As was the scene of the WHALE fending off the Rattlers, Ace barely making it off the deck of the Flagg, the COBRAs sacrificing one of the Rattlers to take down the Skystriker, and CC asking and answering his own question - "Do I have to handle everything myself? What a silly question...of course I do!". Then you had the moment where a dejected CC showed up at the crater, only to have his lawyers pull through at the last minute and COBRA actually winning! This was a monumental point of the mythos, I believe. The Joes to this point had always foiled CCs plans, but starting with this issue that would change.
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Postby Torpedo » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:14 pm

shanecdavis wrote:While I do appreciate the display of Joe ingenuity, it could have been (should have been) handled MUCH better. I do get though that the new Joes needed their moment in the sun, but I wish it could have been done without compromising the story as much as it did.


If the battle had been extended another issue or two, these moments could have taken place after the Joes ran out of ammunition, which wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility considering how few of them stormed the island, the resources they had to load up, and how many Cobras they were up against.

Also, I just remembered how strange Cobra Commander looks when he returns to the bunker! What the hell happened to his legs and feet? How is he able to walk with the flesh beneath his knees about to peal off?
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:19 pm

Torpedo wrote:Also, I just remembered how strange Cobra Commander looks when he returns to the bunker! What the hell happened to his legs and feet? How is he able to walk with the flesh beneath his knees about to peal off?


It looked like mud on his boots to me...but yeah it looks weird.
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Postby ER » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:41 pm

Yeah, to me it looked like CC had gotten into some mud during the battle.

G.I. Joe #42 (released September 1985)

Read it last night! This issue has the distinction of coming out the same month that Joe first launched as a daily TV show, beginning with the "Pyramid of Darkness" mini. At this point the brand is running on all cylinders and at the height of its glory :)

So much going on this issue - love it! Yes, it's unrealistic that Billy would acquire so much skill in such a small amount of time, and yes, it doesn't really make sense that Buzzer would have been allowed to exit the Pit in such a way that he would know the secret location, but I love this issue despite these things.

It's thrilling to see the Soft Master come closer to solving the family mystery. The Fred II/Wade Collins reveal is huge. And the emotion of the story really hits home during the visit to the Viet-Nam Memorial and when Storm Shadow reads Billy's goodbye. Strong, strong writing by the great Larry Hama, brought expertly to life by the amazing Rod Whigham.

In Postbox we get the following reveal on the upcoming Yearbook #2: "...an all new story involving the October Guard in Afghanistan! Scripted by Larry Hama and drawn by Michael Golden!"

Can't wait to read #43! :)
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Postby ER » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:49 pm

Shane, your comments about Tripwire on the cover of #41 got a laugh out of me :lol:
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Postby Torpedo » Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:35 pm

For some reason I always thought that was Torpedo on the cover of #41 instead of Tripwire until it was pointed out to me. I can see it now, and even though it shouldn't, it makes me like the cover a little less. I posted my top ten covers list in a different thread and #41 was my number ten; but if I made that list today, I think #31 with Destro standing over Snake Eyes in the cabin would replace it.
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Postby shanecdavis » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:39 pm

Marvel #42 - Ties That Bind

What a great issue! Not only did the cover blow me away, but the many storylines within the pages did too. Funny that the only COBRAs in this issue were Buzzer, who technically isn't one, and Fred II, who will no longer be one by the end of next issue. This issue was full of terrific characterization on Mr. Hama's part. We saw the aftermath of the COBRA Island debacle, which Gen. Austin literally had a coronary over. Ripcord not only had to relive the thought of losing Candy, but now she may have been a COBRA operative. Poor guy. Gung-Ho and Roadblock paired up again, but this time to attempt to cheer him up. Couldn't help but laugh as they talked about him getting a Purple Heart, but not actually getting it.

Mr. Hama got bold and attempted to juggle FOUR different concurrent stories, and boy did he ever succeed!! Each one was not only interesting, but the pacing was such that you could make the transition between scenes with ease. While it didn't make sense to me for the Joes to transport Buzzer right out of the front gate of Ft. Wadsworth, what's done is done, and while Buzzer was more campy than nasty in this issue, it was still preferable to any of the other scenes involving Dreadnoks. Great moment of him begging for his life until he opened his eyes and realized she was gone. "Stupid broad". I remember hoping that this would cause Candy to get back together with Ripcord. How my hopes were dashed in the next issue. Sigh.

I remember it was this issue and seeing the flashbacks to Snake Eyes and Stalker's LRRP team that caused me to search and find #26. Little did I know that #43 would provide a lot more info about that fateful day than #26 did. I've always wanted to visit the memorial since i was a little kid, so to see it represented here was very welcome. Stalker get choked up and the statue of the soldier with the rain looking like tears. Powerful. Definitely wasn't prepared for the reveal of Fred II actually being Wade Collins. Total HOLY CRAP! moment. Sadly, Mr. Hama would return to the Linked to Snake Eyes well too often.

How badass is Soft Master?? "How d-d-did you do that? You ain't human! I didn't even see half the things you did to those guys!" Despite groaning over the choice of names Mr. Hame gave the Springfield "cops", we got some more typical Soft Master awesomeness. Mr. Hama made Soft Master my favorite non-figure character in the mythos, barely beating out Dr. Venom. Such a shame that he always had to kill his characters off. Sure they all served their purpose, but when you consider all the worthless characters we got stuck with throughout the run, it's these characters that weren't failed creations by Hasbro that you wish weren't taken away. Venom, Gen. Flagg, Kwinn, Scar-Face, Soft Master, Candy, Cool Breeze, and others.

Best part though was the continued training of Billy. More wisdom from Mr. Hama through Tommy and wise words to live by. Just the fact that Tommy gave up everything to help this punkass kid that was the son of the man that knew the identity of his uncle's killer alone made him my favorite character.

So many things great about this issue and so little wrong. I didn't mind that the action was sparse in this issue, but when it comes to ranking though, I'm pretty sure that will be what might possibly keep it out of my Top 10.
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Postby ER » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:14 pm

#43 (released October 1985)
Quite an intense issue! I consider this to be the "season finale" of 1985 even though the year hadn't finished yet - a lot of threads came to an end in this one and it all delivered big. All of the Wade Collins stuff, the Soft Master finally discovering his brother's killer right before his own death, and the death of Candy and the "death" of Billy - a huge, huge issue!
(Poor readers thought that the Soft Master's knowledge of who killed the HM died with him and it wouldn't be revealed for another two months that he had actually managed to get a message out from the cop car.) #43 also sports one of the most unique Joe covers - very cool. "Death" will make the cover again years later on Special Missions #26.


#44 (November 1985)
The first two pages are kind of fun, seeing the new characters and vehicles in training. The rest of the issue is extremely boring. Ugh. Forced myself to read it for the first time in I don't know how long, just for the sake of completing the marathon. This one is worse than #37 and I'm not sure which has been my least favorite so far, this one or #20.

(Nothing too exciting to report from #43's postbox, and #44 doesn't have a postbox)
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:30 am

Issue 44 what can I say except.... Forgettable.

Yearbook 2 interesting article on the Sunbow Cartoon. It just shows that there was more thought put into this show than anyother of the time. They dealt with many adult concepts. Parental Abuse that leads to a love long fear, war orphans of American soldiers in foregin countries, many others. The Oktober Guard story was interesting. I guess it was trying to build some sympathy for them. I have enjoined Hawks letters in the back.
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