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