30th Anniversary ARAH Reading Marathon - Week 14

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30th Anniversary ARAH Reading Marathon - Week 14

Postby shanecdavis » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:42 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, even if you aren't able to actually read the issues. 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 14 - Marvel G.I. Joe: ARAH #66-70

Optional reading - Marvel Special Missions #8-10, Marvel Yearbook #4

COVERS
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Marvel #66 - The Tenth Letter

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Marvel #67 - Cold Snap

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Marvel #68 - Cut and Freeze Dried

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Marvel #69 - Into the Breach

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Marvel #70 - Fair Trade



OPTIONAL COVERS
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Marvel Special Missions #8 - Ambush

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Marvel Special Missions #9 - Plausible Denial

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Marvel Special Missions #10 - Turnabout

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Marvel Yearbook #4


HIGHLIGHTS:
* First appearance of Tyronne, Battleforce 2000 (Avalance, Blaster, Blocker, Dodger, Knockdown, Maverick), Destro's Iron Grenadiers with Sergeant Major second in command, Sierra Gordian Gen. Villavaca, Counter Revolutionary leader El Jefe, and American Ambassador Winthrop
* Death of Corp. Olga and Sgt. Moseiv
* Magda the bareback rider is mentioned for the first time
* Stalker, Quick Kick, and Snow Job are freed and return home
* Introduction of the country Frusenland and Prime Minister Volff
* Introduction of NABM and Pres. Chip Goodfellow
* True purpose of Terror Dromes is revealed
* Lady Jaye and Flint are official serious couple


PREVIOUS WEEKS
WEEK 13 - Marvel #61-65, Marvel Special Missions #6-7
WEEK 12 - Marvel #56-60, Marvel Special Missions #3-5, Marvel Yearbook #3
WEEK 11 - Marvel #51-55, Marvel Special Missions #1-2
WEEK 10 - Marvel #46-50
WEEK 9 - Marvel #41-45, Marvel Yearbook #2
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 Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby shanecdavis » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:05 pm

Marvel #66 - The Tenth Letter
Finally we get to the conclusion of the Borovia story! This was one of those issues that you really wish could have been spread out over more than one. The team was just so fast and efficient it was over before you could really enjoy it.

The opening scene with Tommy and Billy and learning about the Kuji-No-In and the symbols associated with each one was awesome. Apparently the ongoing gag of Jinx and Billy continued as Jinx now has a mullet and is a full head taller than Billy.

Not much after enjoying the opening scene, we got the full team together and went through it again, this time getting the tenth letter. Great stuff. I will admit that I thought White Clown was going to turn them in. Thankfully that wasn't the case.

The action inside the gulag, as I said before, went too fast. Mr. Hama had to cram so much into this issue that we didn't even get to see the zeks take out Olga or how Moseiv took down the escapee. Even though the pacing was fast, it was still an easy and VERY enjoyable read. It was a fitting gesture for Tommy to leave Olga's fate up to the zekes.

Mr. Hama's characterizations were also terrific. White Clown went from a goofball to very interesting person and I remember hoping we would see him and Orlovsky again. Thankfully we did, although much later and after Mr. Hama went through a little funk with the storytelling.

This was just a great issue from top to bottom and made me feel a little better about the mythos in general. I was still leery about how COBRA would manage without CC. Still wasn't happy about his death, but not much anything I could do at that point. Personally I don't recall any of the rest of the issues this week, so it will be interesting to read them again.
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:27 pm

SM 8 this shows how much Larry dislikes the CIA spooks. I do t think he ever puts them in a good light. Lying to the Joes so they will fail... And yet they succeed despite it. I like how low-light saves the kid and spares the spook and takes the chips. The CIA chose the wrong team to fail at a mission.

Issue 66. One of my favorites. I really like this story. I agree it went fast, but I kimd of liked the pacing. I also liked that cobra had very little to do with it. Also we get the ninja gang together.
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:04 pm

Issue 67 finally ends the POW story. What a great conclusion with Stalker Snow Job and Quick Kick talking with Outback. Lady Jaye slugging Flint and then the great panel with Scarlet pulling Snake Eyes away from the moment we finally see that Flint and Lady Jaye are together.

Next we get to see Fred VII fowling up all the Baroness' and Mindbender's hard work. But we get to see the purpose of the Terror Dromes from tech first seen way back in issue 2. Kwinn gets a nod here too.

Then on to the Arashikage clan walking down the streets of San Fran. I love Hama's social commentary he made with the soft master concerning guns and I love how he uses the blind master to get to the heart of the problem concerning inner city youth. But one of my favorite scenes in all of G.I. Joe comes next with Kimmy, Tommy, and Billy in front of the karate killers movie poster and the weapons shop. "The only logical and rational purpose for mastering a martial art is to become mon-violent. If we deny that violence is inherent to the universe, we surrender to it...we must instead strive to master it, and put it aside. We take no joy in it. We must love the goal not the means." "Does the doctor love disease? Does the pious man love sin? Nobody hates war as much as the warrior, for he has seen the ugly face of it, but in the end...he fights." I like to think of it as, the more efficient you are at violence the less damage and destruction is done to you and your enemy. Another quote I love from a great martial artist is, "A true Pacifist can maim or kill in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence." -Takamura Yukiyoshi

This finally wraps my favorite Joe story arc. 61-67 and SM 6. Larry Hama got to say a lot in these issues.
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Postby shanecdavis » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:03 am

Marvel #67 - Cold Snap

The beginning and ending of this issue was very enjoyable, but the middle left a lot to be desired. Mr. Hama wrapped up the Borovian story with the return of Stalker, Quick Kick, and Snow Job. Outback got some retribution for obeying orders and the rest of the Joes felt pretty crappy for how they treated him. Then Snake Eyes and Scarlett had to face Flint and Lady Jaye. Flint's reaction was spot on, although Jaye decking him for it was surprising. I always liked those two as a couple much more than Snake Eyes and Scarlett.

It was cool to see something from back in #2 revealed here, but the whole paranoia thing just seemed dumb to me. On top of that, Fred VII was still behaving as an idiot. I thought he broke out of his shell in #65, but I guess not. Funny how specifics of a story get hazy over time. Don't worry I won't say what I would have rather seen here instead.

The last part of the issue really grabbed me. Well, aside from Billy continuing to shrink before our very eyes. As Mamu_Nestor said, I always enjoyed and subscribed fully to Mr. Hama's social commentary. The final scene of the issue is also one of my favorites. That stuck with me and has to this very day. It is also something I have passed down to my sons and hopefully they will pass it on to their children too. It was that thinking that helped my decision to join the Marine Corps over the other branches of service. If I was going to fight for my country I wanted to become a master of it and nothing compared to Marine Corps boot camp. Well, in the US anyway.

This was a solid issue and better than I had anticipated it being. Hopefully that trend can continue, but I remember there is a Dreadnok-centric story coming up soon. Open mind, Shane. Open mind.
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Postby shanecdavis » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:27 am

Marvel #68 - Cut and Freeze Dried

Reading through this issue I discovered why I couldn't remember much about it. It was the introduction of Battleforce 2000. As I had stopped collecting the toys, I didn't know anything about it until I read this issue for the first time. It was difficult to determine what I liked least about the concept - the codenames, the uniforms, the vehicles, or Hasbro's failed attempt at trying to bring in Voltron fans and have the vehicles combine into a super fortress. UGH.

Actually, before their appearance I thought the issue was pretty enjoyable. The action was hot with the Joes trying to outrun their pursuers. Midway through though things started to get sloppy and the pacing suddenly turned bad, something that we really hadn't experienced before. It starts off with the Mambas spotting and tracking the Joes and then somehow not noticing Duke sneak away on the LCV, then Hawk calls Iceberg by his own codename, then Iceberg fires a LAW rocket while on the back of the Snow Cat, and then to top it off Battleforce 2000 shows up just in time to shoot down a full salvo of ski missiles. Oh, and that was after they had combat assaulted and destroyed every single Drome in the country.

That wasn't the worst part though. In #41, the Joes were trying to kick COBRA off the brand new island in the Gulf of Mexico and received an order to stand down, as the COBRA lawyers were successful in having the island officially recognized as a sovereign state. In this issue, PM Volff makes a deal with Duke and gives COBRA 24 hours to clear out of the country, to which Baroness breaks off her assault. While the Joes had to follow orders of their government, COBRA isn't under such limitations. With the backup forces they could have totally destroyed the Joes and still had plenty of time to make it back to Frusenhagen and been on their way.

I don't remember nit-picking this much in the previous issues. Like I have been saying I was hoping to gain a better appreciation for these issues, but it just isn't happening. 1987 was not a good Joe year for me. The toys were ridiculous and after the comic's slow start which turned out great with the Borovian story, it fell completely flat, much like the end of last year.
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Postby shanecdavis » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:53 am

Marvel #69 - Into the Breach

That open mind I was trying to have before was slammed shut at the beginning of this issue. Tony Salmons. While I don't like Fuso's style of art at all on IDW's COBRA title, I cannot think of a style I dislike more than Salmons. It just ruined this issue for me, which is a shame because unlike last issue I thought Mr. Hama told a pretty entertaining story. I didn't even mind the Dreads much in this issue, although how stupid is Serpentor to put a biker gang in charge of the operation in Sierra Gordo, unless he already figured he was going to lose there and hoped the Dreads wouldn't make it either. Okay, not so stupid after all.

The subpar art notwithstanding, the high point for me was the standoff in the embassy with Roadblock and the local attempting to burn the US flag.

Local: "You're crazy! There are looters walking out of this embassy with IBM typewriters! Why don't you shoot one of them?"
Roadblock: "Nobody ever died for a typewriter."

Ooooh-rah! Interesting that last issue we had a subpar story with strong art and this issue we have a strong story with subpar art. Unfortunately I believe next issue is the Dread-centric one. At least the art should be better.
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:12 am

"February" was a busy month... SM 9, 68, and Yearbook 4.

SM 9 "Plausible Denial" Interesting Idea with trying to switch places with ta Russian team knowing that they know about that switcheroo... The CIA spooks get put in a bad light again always messing things up. Things workout in the end for everyone. The Russians get away and the Joes get what they wanted. so do the Refugees.

68 "Cut and Freeze Dried" I thought this was a very lack luster issue... Battle Force 2000 sucks and gets killed off latter with not much fan fare... this was a poor idea. the Joes also counter act and learn about the Terror Dromes... Fred VII is still incompetent.

Yearbook 4, "Trade-Offs" more Russians and Joe's kind of working together. Joes spying on the Russians attacking Cobra Island. The Russians find the raft that the Joe's buried way back in issue 42 when they had their first assault there. the Joes find out that they are trying to capture "Cobra Commander" who is Fred VII but they get a BAT in disguise... Serpentor learns of the false Cobra Commander and plots to replace him. After this he plots to discredit him before eliminating him. The Baroness is all in at this point... She's stuck with her decisions. Also I thought fighting the Alligators was fun. And we get the introduction of the Croc Master...who has Alligators around him not Crocs... I like the IDW version better.

"Bystander" A short one about Snake eyes going to get a NAM Comic book when some robbers come in. He ends up trashing the place to deal with the robbers and then leaving with Scarlet. It was action packed but kind of clumsy.

Out of these 4 stories I liked "Trade Offs" the best. And here we have the last of the yearbooks... until the current annual...I wish it was more like the yearbooks of old. having info about Renegades the Movie and a re-cap of the year in comics along with an original story. But at least we have Hama back writing Joe.

EDIT: Oh yeah I didn't care for the Archie Art in Bystandards it just didn't fit with the Joe verse from any of the previous artists but I'm sure their artists were busy with the other 3 stories that month. Tony Salmons...not real familiar with him.
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:51 pm

Issue 69 "Into the breach" here's that Tony guy again that did the 2nd story in yearbook 4... He still sucks IMO... The story was good. Serra has been in business with the banana monopoly, the US government, Cobra, and now Destro... Sometimes all at once... Destro's new suit and the iron grenadiers outfit are pretty cool IMO. Best line in this one I agree is "Nobody ever died for a typwritter." second only to the lines "That was a bluff, right? "You got to call, if you want to see the cards." I don't care for the Dreadnoks generally...they were not too bad, just not who I would have sent to oversee this project.

Issue 70 "Fair Trade" good issue. It is interesting that the Jos' have to make a deal with Destro to get out. Destro shows that he is honorable to a point. He is doing exactly what cobra was doing...

Larry gets very political with these issues. Not that he doesn't a lot in this series, but it is more prevalent here when he brings up past American actions that mirror what this republic is doing now. Oh and we will see El Jeffe again...
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Postby shanecdavis » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:02 pm

I don't know about anyone else, but I know I am missing reading the comments from ER and Torpedo lately. Life has a way of occupying our time though, and something as trivial and unimportant as sharing thoughts about 30 year old comics would be the first thing to go. Hope all is well with the both of them.

Marvel #70 - Fair Trade
Thankfully, this wasn't the Dread-centric issue I thought it was. The opening scene was suspenseful as Wild Bill kept his cool under pressure. Despite his heroics, I still think Crazylegs is a useless character, as were 98% of the characters that came after 1986, including Maverick. Airborne and Ripcord, both who were shelved to make way for these characters, who in turn were subsequently shelved to make way for even more ridiculous and unnecessary characters, would have filled these two roles admirably.

The action in the jungle though is what mainly made this issue enjoyable. The bad luck for the Joe team continued as they tried to locate a guide that would help them avoid Villavaca's troops. Yeah that didn't work out so well. Of course the Ambassador is the one that compromises their position and of course it is a Marine that risks his life to protect him.

I liked seeing Destro pit both sides against each other, in typical arms dealer fashion. I remember we see El Jefe again, but can't remember when, so another thing to look forward to.

In two weeks we will have reached the half-way point of our marathon. Aside from a few specific issues it has been great re-reading the early part of the run and re-living memories of the past. I look forward to next week.
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:28 pm

shanecdavis wrote:I don't know about anyone else, but I know I am missing reading the comments from ER and Torpedo lately. Life has a way of occupying our time though, and something as trivial and unimportant as sharing thoughts about 30 year old comics would be the first thing to go. Hope all is well with the both of them.

In two weeks we will have reached the half-way point of our marathon. Aside from a few specific issues it has been great re-reading the early part of the run and re-living memories of the past. I look forward to next week.


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Postby CrazyK » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:17 am

I remember reading SM #8 at least once a week for five weeks straight once I got it into my hands. I loved that issue like a bar owner loves alcoholics. It featured so much of what I loved about Joe and featured it to the Nth degree: real world military tactics, "political" intrigue (in the back stabbing/lying/conniving sense), impossible odds and just break neck action. Didn't hurt that it also featured some of the cooler figures I had as toys at the time: Flint, Beachhead, Leatherneck, Tunnel Rat and, of course, Lowlight. Any book with the Tomahawk in it- even in a "cameo"- was getting major points back then. Seeing Wet-Suit in full camo instead of a useless, well, wetsuit, was a plus, too. Man did I want that figure.

This issue had a profound effect on the way I was "playing" with my Joes: I would stare at the layout of my living room and then back to the description of the ambush set-up and back to the living room and work out in my head what would be the best places for a Joe fire team to hit a COBRA convoy headed from the dining room to their secret base under the couch. The COBRA team never had a chance.

Always felt bad for the poor buffalo, though...
"I... I don't believe it..."
"That. Is why you fail..."
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Postby Mamu_Nestor » Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:57 pm

SM 10 Turnabout

More politics... Support a leader and protect him back to his country just to get kicked out. It would be nice if countries would take their development into their own hands...but it hasn't happened yet. they all need support from other countries... Just like the US needed help from other nations when we separated from Britain.
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Postby shanecdavis » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:05 am

Marvel Special Missions #8 - Ambush

CrazyK pretty much summed up this issue for me. One of my favorites. While I would have rather had Gung-Ho, Stalker, and Torpedo instead of Leatherneck, Beach-Suit, and Wet-Suit, Mr. Hama did a terrific job of picking this team. This issue also turned Low-Light into an interesting character to me. I thought the premise was strong and the idea of the CIA sending the Joes on what was essentially a suicide mission was pretty dark. This is probably one of the few political views I differ from Mr. Hama. I didn't mind him painting them in a bad light to help the story, but it was clear he had no love for the organization. Joe comics were a big part of my childhood, but I also grew up on Tom Clancy novels and have a cousin that worked for the CIA so my views on them aren't so negative. I always wanted to see the Joes and the CIA Special Activities Division work together on a joint op.

I was spoiled so much by Mr. Whigham's art and then Wagner's that Trimpe's just looked, well, sloppy. There were mustaches that would disappear for a panel, only to reappear again. There were uniforms where the cammo pattern would change or also disappear only to change back/reappear the next panel. I started to wonder if the mustache Leatherneck had was actually real or not.


Marvel Special Missions #9 - Plausible Denial

Wasn't nearly as enjoyable as the previous issue, but still liked it.


Marvel Special Missions #10 - Turnabout

Another decent story, but nothing memorable for me.


Marvel Yearbook #4

Personally, I thought Trade-Offs was a pretty good story overall, but I hated the intro of Croc Master (who had alligators as pets), the ongoing Fred VII posing as CC plot, and the whole Fred VII/Baroness thing. It was nice to see the Oktober Guard again, but the best thing was seeing an op featuring Torpedo and Wet-Suit with them NOT in their wet gear! Awesome! Although I think the two were mixed up, as I'm pretty sure Wet-Suit is blonde and not Torpedo, who is a Kanaka boy. I also thought it was odd that the Rooskies found a raft with the editor note saying it was the ones the Joes buried in #46, while at the end of #46 they are back in said raft.

Other than that story though the rest of the issue was quite uninteresting. Bystander was a decent read, but Salmon's style of art just makes me cringe and I didn't enjoy it much at all.
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Postby shanecdavis » Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:04 pm

Here are my rankings for this week:

Marvel #66
Marvel Special Missions #8
Marvel #67
Marvel Special Missions #9
Marvel Special Missions #10
Marvel #70
Marvel Yearbook #4
Marvel #69
Marvel #68

The question was never whether #66 would make my Top 10, but where exactly it would fit. After a lot of consideration, I think it fits fine in the 7th spot, just barely ahead of #27. It was tough to see #31 drop from the Top 10, as was seeing #40 fall off the list altogether.

1. Marvel #21
2. Marvel #26
3. Marvel #46
4. Marvel #2
5. Marvel #34
6. Marvel #39
7. Marvel #66
8. Marvel #27
9. Marvel #45
10. Marvel #1
11. Marvel #31
12. Marvel #61
13. Marvel #43
14. Marvel #11
15. Marvel #32
16. Marvel #38
17. Marvel #42
18. Marvel #49
19. Marvel #53
20. Marvel #63
21. Marvel #19
22. Marvel #24
23. Marvel #22
24. Marvel #14
25. Marvel #29


I could say the same about #68 and my Bottom 10. It took the 6th spot, kicking out #20 from the list, and bring the number of issues I specifically don't like to 7.

10. Marvel #8
9. Marvel #9
8. Marvel #3
7. Marvel #35
6. Marvel #68
5. Marvel #51
4. Marvel #59
3. Marvel #37
2. Marvel #60
1. Marvel #44

As I said before, can't wait for next week!

BTW - Stats for #61-70 and #1-70 should be up by Wednesday.
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