Review: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Vol. 12: Death of Snake Eyes TPB

GI_Joe-RAH-v12-TPBcov_v2Growing up, watching G.I. Joe, as a kid, it was my first impression, after my grandfather, and my uncles, of who the military was. This elite group of men and women, fighting an evil entity, just as powerful and skilled as they were, was Saturday morning cartoons at their best. It was not until, I joined the military that I found how much of that was fantasy, and mostly the uniforms, was the most accurate. Looking back at it now, the show was still enjoyable, but other than the original show, the revivals that followed never lived up to the quality.

The only extension of the show that ever really continued the excellent storytelling and actually brought it to the next level was its life in comics. GI Joe has been in comics more than most of us have been alive, and long before it made its most known reincarnation on TV and movies, in 1937 as a comic strip. The comic then went through14 different publishers, before finally landing at IDW, where it found one of its greatest care takers in Larry Hama. He continues his excellent tenure in the GI Joe: A Real American Hero ongoing series, with his most daring arc, where the original ninja commando dies.

Within this arc, the Joes have to fight a giant robot, who is hell bent on destroying every Joe that has ever existed, so to counteract this machine, they release a giant mechanical robot, the Joes have created, but here is where the twist is, the machine is made from an alien intelligence, controlled by the mind of Serpentor, who the Joes believe they can actually manage, until he runs amok and ends up telepathically controlling all the machinery at which point Serpentor, sends the giant robot back to Utah, with Snake Eyes apprentice attached, Throwdown, and as a last ditch effort, Snake Eyes , comes at the machine and Serpentor, with two live grenades, killing them both instantly. Their deaths, brings an heir to Snake Eyes mantle, as G.I. Joe’s premier ninja commando, as Throwdown now becomes the new Snake Eyes. The opening scene of the third issue, is heartbreaking, as it is a scene that I have seen in real life too many times to count, and I applaud both creators on their effort to authenticity in the portrayal of the fallen soldier ritual and serves as the highlight of this collection, as it is without any dialogue, showing every Joes’ reaction to his death, in tribute to Snake Eyes. The collection closes, with Cobra Commander putting together exactly who Throwdown is, and the Joes planning revenge.

Altogether, a tightly weaved story, that has multiple threads going at the same time, which makes not only for great storytelling, but also creates new interest in these characters. The story arc by Larry Hama proves why Marvel chose him originally and why IDW Publishing brought him back, as no one can write G.I. Joe quite like him. The art by SL Gallant is more than a compliment, as I cannot envision a better artist for this series than him. Overall, a great series, which I am happy to pick up again, and what looks like to be the strongest and most underrated series IDW has.

Story: Larry Hama Art: SL Gallant
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review