30th Anniversary ARAH Reading Marathon - Week 13

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Postby ER » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:33 pm

#64 (July 1987)
Love all the Fred 7/Cobra Island pages. Love how we learn more about the mystery of Pit III through the pov of Chuckles and Psyche-Out - very fun. But the sour point of this issue is that we get 5 pages on a blah action sequence with SE and friends that really has no consequence to anything later in the arc. These 5 pages would have been so much better spent showing us more of Stalker and the others in the gulag. I still love this issue, but because of these 5 wasted pages it's easy to put #64 below most of the other issues for this week.

#65 (August 1987)
A step down from the other issues this week, but I still like it. Joes in space isn't my favorite plot, but I do like the action here good enough. It's fun to see Scrap-Iron manning the missiles on the Cobra craft, making use of his specialties and it's also fun to see Sci-Fi on a mission that makes sense for him to be on. It's a shame though that Flash wasn't brought back for this one. Also being a laser trooper it would have made more sense for him to be along for the ride instead of Roadblock. It's also good to see FRed 7 get to shine a little, using his mechanical genius abilities right when Cobra needed them.

My ranking for this week:

Excellent
1) #61
2) SM#6
3) #63
4) #62
5) SM#7
6) #64

Good
7) #65
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Postby ER » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:44 pm

My Top 25 as of #65:

#1, 2, 4, 12, 13, 15, 16, 21, 23, 26, 27, 31, 34, 38, 39, 45, 47, 53, 55, 61, SM1, SM2, SM4, SM5 and SM6

(added #61 and SM#6 and eliminated #10 and #49)
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Postby Torpedo » Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:53 pm

G.I. Joe #61: "Beginnings and Endings"

Just last week I finished reading the Batman hardcover collection Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers, featuring Rogers' art on issues of Detective Comics and other stories of the Caped Crusader. I adored his work on Batman in the late '70s, but ten years later when he was drawing G.I. Joe, he might have lost a half-step or so. The interior art suffers a few inconsistencies and problems, but there are also a lot of great panels and really strong moments.

One of my favorite covers of all G.I. Joe showing some of my favorite Joes in real danger. Snow Job and Stalker are in my Top 5 favorite Joes, and while I concede that Snow Job might not seem like the ideal candidate for this mission, it's great to see him utilized in scenarios that aren't sub-zero temperatures.

I read this issue and the bulk of the Borovian Saga years after they came out--probably closer to the 100th issue; I know it was before the Trucial Abysmia story line started. I knew that Stalker would survive the mission, but I remember feeling real concern that Snow Job and Quick Kick would be killed off in this adventure.

As for the assassination of Cobra Commander by Fred VII? I loved it then and still love it today! The Commander changing his heart, considering turning a new leaf, only to be betrayed by one of his devoted acolytes who still believes in the message of Cobra. All of this is awesome!

Of course, having said that, shane and I are on the same page that the one true Cobra Commander should have been the one to oppose Serpentor in the Cobra Island Civil War. But I'll get to that later.


G.I. Joe: Special Missions #6: "Evasion"

For the first time, Larry has created a genuine crossover between the regular series and Special Missions. Every other issue before this could take place at any time in the series, but SM issue #6 is a legitimate bridge between the regular issues #61 and #62.

Outback's mission home is a lot of fun to watch play out. Colonel Ratnikov was such a despicable and joyous villain! I agree with ER that Hasbro can create a Ratnikov figure anytime, once they've released the Torpedo/Wet-Suit two-pack from Yearbook #4.

On a slightly related note, I always thought of my Outback figure as Snow Job out of his arctic element, and from time to time would use him as such.


G.I. Joe #62: "Transit"

If I didn't already like Stalker, this issue would have made him one of my favorites for life. I disagree that this issue didn't have the same emotional weight as #61. No, we didn't have the epic shooting of Cobra Commander, but I think every scene set in Borovia and Utah came off even better than before. The fate of the Joes first being locked on the train, then fighting for food, to their arrival at the gulag was thrilling. Yeah, they all lived from their initial injuries, but the threat kept mounting and mounting.

The scene with Outback coming back seeming so defeated and cold was really disturbing. Yeah, it seems like he would have led his own rescue operation if he could have, so the fact that he didn't and just shut down emotionally and verbally in front of the others was upsetting. But a good kind of upsetting.

As for the rest of the issue... Well, I didn't care much for Billy and Jinx and the Blind Master. This element of the Arashikage history and bloodline just didn't appeal to me the way the Hard- and Soft Masters' deaths did.
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Postby Torpedo » Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:45 pm

G.I. Joe #63: "Going Under"

Another really solid entry in the ongoing Borovian Saga. Every moment with Stalker, Snow Job and Quick Kick puts them closer and closer the grave. The worsening health, plus the draconian rules of the gulag guards, and best of all, Boris the snitch! Ron Wagner's pencils on these sections are terrific!

Billy's story finally gets interesting to me when he's debriefed by G.I. Joe. I love that he finally allows Storm Shadow and Ripcord some bit of closure regarding the fates of their loved ones, but I, too, think Ripcord would have made a better fatality in the Battle of Springfield for the same reasons some of us outlined way back when we reviewed issues #49 and #50.

And then there's Fred VII and Captain Minh. I read the Cobra Island Civil War issues before I ever read this one, and I remember thinking when I finally got around to issue #63, "Hey, this guy reminds me of the weird old guy helping Falcon's team in the war!" :)


G.I. Joe: Special Missions #7: "The Old Switcheroo"

Larry comes up with a mission complex and nuanced enough to showcase Chuckles and Psyche-Out. Unfortunately, lost in all of the complexity and nuance is any coherence or joy in the characters and their situation. It's not a horrible story, but it's not great either. It doesn't read like a G.I. Joe story. And the Baroness/Zarana conflict feels forced and dumb.


G.I. Joe #64: "Maneuvering for Position"

ER wrote:Love all the Fred 7/Cobra Island pages. Love how we learn more about the mystery of Pit III through the pov of Chuckles and Psyche-Out - very fun. But the sour point of this issue is that we get 5 pages on a blah action sequence with SE and friends that really has no consequence to anything later in the arc. These 5 pages would have been so much better spent showing us more of Stalker and the others in the gulag. I still love this issue, but because of these 5 wasted pages it's easy to put #64 below most of the other issues for this week.


I liked the action sequence with Snake Eyes, Scarlett and the Blind Master against their mysterious French assailants, but I do agree this scene didn't really help the issue that much. As for everything else you said, I agree completely.

G.I. Joe #65: "Shuttle Complex"

When I was a kid, my best friend got the Defiant Space Shuttle Launch Complex for Christmas while I got the Mobile Command Center. The scope of these two playsets was unfathomable to me (I never had the USS Flagg--never even seen it in real life, actually). After a while, we ended up bringing the Shuttle Complex over to my house and did our best to set up the two bases together for massive action campaigns. For the nostalgia factor of this crazy vehicle/set alone, I really enjoyed the first half of this issue and seeing the vehicle come out of the desert like some monster of myth.

The rest of the issue... not so much. I used to love Sci-Fi when I was a kid, but he's one of those characters that only works in specific settings. The bridge of a space ship, for example, works, but the action of this story never held much interest for me. Last issue, Billy told Ripcord and Storm Shadow what happened to their dead friends, and this issue Larry Hama brings Scrap-Iron back into the book. Seems like they might be leading up to a confrontation between the two parties, but no, that never happens.

I'm still waiting for that, Larry... :(


This week's ranking:

#61 - Excellent
#63 - Excellent
#62 - Excellent
#64 - Really Good
Special Missions #6 - Really Good
Special Missions #7 - Meh
#65 - Meh
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Postby shanecdavis » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:07 am

Using Outback as Snow Job was a cool idea! I never had the Muskrat figure, but looking at it I always thought it could have passed for Wet-Suit, or Torpedo if you could color the hair.
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Postby cmajor » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:20 am

Glad to see that there are a good number of people who enjoyed the Borovia storyline as much as I did.

I came to this marathon after the fact and after finishing on my own I've been reading posts here when I have the chance. After getting to the 49/50 issue point I could tell that the consensus was that the series went downhill after that. I agree for the most part, but there were stories that I loved.

I started really collecting in the midst of the Snake Eyes Trilogy, and the first back issues I bought were from this week's reading. These are the storylines that will always mean the most to me. I was so interested in who the one-eyed ninja and blind black man were, and why i never had heard of figures for them.

When I read how you all didn't care for issues after the number fifty mark, I wondered if my love of the gulag issues had more to do with nostalgia than with great storytelling and great artwork. I'm glad ya'll enjoyed them as much as I did. Now I wonder what your comments about the Snake Eyes Trilogy will be.
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:29 am

After 50 is a generalization. I love the POW story in the 60's, and there were stories in the 90's and early 100's that I liked. Of course 155, But the bulk of the good story telling was done until Hama picked it up again with IDW
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