Comics: G.I. Joe #0 (IDW)

Joe #0, Cvr A

Joe #0, Cvr A

Oh, boy.  Oh, boy.  Was I ever excited to walk into my local comic book store yesterday and pick up the teaser issue for the new G.I. Joe imprint from IDW Publishing.  There are two covers for issue #0: cover A and cover B.  Of course, for just $1 each, I picked them both up.

Issue #0 can be best described as a preview or introductory issue of things to come in a newly re-vamped G.I.Joe universe.  One thing you’ll note from the start is that classis Joe scribe from the original 1980’s Marvel version, Larry Hama is back.  He is re-envisioning the Joe universe into contemporary times and while it’s a fresh take on most of the character we all grew up with, he promises to add a few new ones in due time as well.  The biggest teaser Larry Hama indicated in a brief interview at the back of the issue was that he is creating a new bad guy that will even give Destro and Cobra Commander a run for their money.

It’s also promising to see a return, although again an updated look to their classic costumes.  While Devil’s Due did a makeover on some of the characters that were positive (Cobra Commander for one), other Joe’s looks took off in a completely other direction.  And clearly, there doesn’t seem much influence from the upcoming movie (2009) incorporated in their duds either.

But I was also happy to learn, there just won’t be one Joe title, but three.  One of them, G.I.Joe: Cobra will only be a 4 issue series however, but we’ll get to see things from the viewpoint of our favorite terrorist organization. 

Oh and Hama reports there will be no Cobra-La either.

Anyway, there are three seperate sneak previews contained within the issue…just enought to get you excited and the characters are pretty reconizable, although they’re all Joe’s…no Cobra’s.

I got the impression that the Devil’s Due run, especially the last 12 part arc ‘World War III’ will be ignored (thank God, as the series ended horribly) as this is a re-imagining of the franchise.  There were hints dropped that the Joe’s are just forming and just learning of Cobra.  To be honest, I am not exactly sure how I feel about that as there is some classic history and lore that I just won’t be able to dismiss that came out of the 80’s, and ever some decent arcs from Devil’s Due as well.

But all in all, the Joe franchise is back and I couldn’t be more excited.

G.I. Joe movie update (part I)

Cobra Commander

Cobra Commander

The following excerpt was taken from a recent interview with Joseph Gordon Levitt (who plays Cobra Commander) with MTV news:

At this point, we have seen a shot of just about every character from the upcoming “GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra,” except for Cobra Commander himself, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

In a recent interview, Joseph revealed that he does wear a mask and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura later added that it wouldn’t be the classic hood.

The cool thing about my character was that it’s not that digital,” Gordon-Levitt told MTV News. “I get to put hours of prosthetic makeup on and see a different creature altogether. I’ve seen how he looks and it’s really cool.

Di Bonaventura earlier stated that the film will tell the origin of a “very twisted” Cobra Commander and that Gordon-Levitt will provide his own take on the character’s famous high-pitched voice from the 80’s animated series.

I love that voice [from the cartoon],” enthused Gordon-Levitt. “Chris Latta is a fantastic voiceover artist, but if you did that exact voice it would sound ridiculous in a live-action movie. I guess it’s half Chris Latta and half me.

He added that it’s not only the voice that will sound unfamiliar to the fans. “Everything is different. I think it maintains the spirit of it and all the fun, but it brings the character into three dimensions,” said Gordon-Levitt. “It wouldn’t look good if you did an exact replica of the cartoon. You wouldn’t want me wearing a skin-tight bright-blue dictator’s uniform. It would look silly.

Kablams thoughts: While I’ve always like Joseph in ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’, I’m still having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact he’s playing Cobra Commander.  I expected a somewhat older and more established actor who embodies both sinister and meglomaniac tendencies.  I may well indeed be proved wrong.  I never thought anyone could top Jack Nicholson as the Joker, and then when I saw Heath Ledger’s portrayal in The Dark Knight, I accepted it.  Too bad Gary Oldman isn’t a few years younger…

 

I am a bit worried that they are discussing a lot of prosthetics for Cobra Commander…are they thinking Cobra-La origin here where he really does have reptillian features?  God, I hope not.  I’m glad they are keeping the voice somewhat similar to the cartoon version.  But I am disapointed with the departure of the traditional costume.  The uniform of Cobra Commander is iconic to any kid who grew up in the 80’s and lived for G.I. Joe.  From the costumes I have seen so far, perhaps only those of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow pay somewhat of an homage to their 3.75″ counterparts.  The rest of the Joes costumes look very generic as of now and the rumored idea that G.I. Joe stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity is bad enough for this purist.  I just want ‘A Real American Hero.’

Tell me your thoughts on the rumored costume and who’d you pick to play the Commander in the film.

Transformers: Concept C7 Corvette

More than meets the eye

More than meets the eye

Rumor has it that the new GM concept Corvette, the C7 will debut on the silver screen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen due out sometime next summer, with the car itself possibly hitting show room floor that September (2009).

Personally, I do think it looks like a pretty cool car, and my early money is that this will most likely be a Decepticon but which one, I have no idea.  Bad ass cars, usually of black and silver design with sleek lines usually go to the bad guys.  The bad news is I hear there will be no Megatron in the sequel which is a bummer to me as there are only two other viable Decepticons, but still can’t hold a candle to Megatron: Starscream and Soundwave, and neither of those were a car.

It appears Shia LeBeouf also re cently hurt his hand so some of his scenes will be postponed upwards of four weeks while they adjust the schedule to film around his injuries until he is better.

Sadly, no new news on my other favorite Hasbro franchise turned movie: G.I. Joe.  I’ve been scouring the net for any news or leaked images for Cobra Commander, but have come up with squat (so if you guys come up with any, please send them my way).  I’ve seen the pics for Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes and The Baroness and I approve.  However, and this is a big HOWEVER, I am not so keen on the Joe’s black leather clad uniforms. 

What made G.I. Joe so ‘fantastical’ was their unique fatigues, outfits, and costumes that the Joe’s would wear.  In the movie adaptation, they look more like the X-Men movie leather uniforms.  While it worked for Charles Xavier’s mutants in the movies, it really diminishes from the characterizations that made these 3.75″ plastic action figures so fun when I was growing up.  Now they just look like any other black-clad action team.  I dunno, I’m just getting really scared about this.  The Cobra Commander outfit better make up for it and stay close to its comic book roots.

Comics: G.I.Joe #36 (Devil’s Due run)

Cobra Commander pissed at series finale

Cobra Commander pissed at series finale

The promo tagline for the final issue of this incarnation of the G.I. Joe core book from Devil’s Due reads as such:

This is it! It’s all been leading to this issue! The war finally brings the G.I. Joe team and Cobra face-to-face! Every feud, every drop of bad blood, all the history between these two groups finally meet on the battlefield for THE knock-down, drag-out fight of G. I. Joe comics! Twenty-five years of payoff happens here!”

Bullshit!

This has to be one of the biggest disappointments of a series finale I have ever read.  Period.  Maybe not as bad on how Marvel once wrapped up Doom 2099 by letting the artwork go to hell as if to say to the reader “We gave up on this series, so enjoy the contractually obligated crap we have to churn out in the meantime”.  Well G.I. Joe, especially with the resurgence of many of the hot 80’s properties and current film adaptation underway deserved a much better send off.

I was actually surprised when I learned issue 36 would be the last.  It seems just a few years ago, the G.I. Joe universe was gaining momentum once again after that lackluster Image mini-series somewhat earlier.  Granted it would never approach the Joe heyday’s it had under Marvel with scribe Larry Hama, but it was exciting again.  Devils Due scaled somewhat back on the character roster, I can’t blame them…there were so many Joe’s and Cobra’s….it was impossible to keep track of who’s who and where are they with only book.

I thought they were doing well when they announced a Storm Shadow ongoing series (though the artwork is a bit off for my tastes), a few various one-shots, and Special Missions and Declassified books kept me going.

It was great to see the gloves come off with Cobra, and I enjoyed the ‘Coil’ arc, the introduction of Wraith, the hunt for The Baroness all happening in the core title of ‘America’s Elite’.  I was very excited to hear about the 12 issue arc World War III. 

The first few issues seemed ‘okay’, as if were about to ramp up the excitement factor, but sadly it just never got there for me.  It was only around issue 34 (part 10 of 12) did I learn that the series was coming to and end, and I had no explanation as to why it was ending.  With two issues left, I really began to worry as it just seemed like the story was stalling, or at least the elements concerning Cobra Commander.  By the end of issue 35 the Commander was headed to the Appalachian mountains were we were left to believe he was going to make his final, epic stand.

Issue 36 is a double sized issue.  Double sized of rushed plotlines, forgotten characters, tangential flashbacks, and very little pay off.  Of course the Joe’s win the battle, but my word, it was the cheapest and simpleton way to wrap up the series and hardcore fans should be as upset as I am.  Poor Larry Hama, I don’t care what he has to say in public…putting on a good game face for scribe Mark Powers, but Mr. Powers was able to drain any sort of epic adventure and character excitement out of the series in the last few issues that Larry spent so many years crafting and enter twining over at Marvel and Joe continuity.

So Recondo and some ex-Cobra schlep named Rourke have more face time than Snake Eyes?  Than the Baroness?  Destro goes to jail in one panel?  Alexander is shot and killed in two panels?

The biggest travesty in my opinion was the treatment, or lack of treatment of Cobra Commander.  The whole reason G.I. Joe was brought back into existence was the result of the formation of Cobra and its mysterious leader Cobra Commander.  After what seemed to be a promise at the end of issue 35, we barely see the Commander at all in the finale.  And to be taken out by a tackle by a crippled Joe wearing a jetpack at the end was horrific to the fans.

No last show down? Not a tense stand-off?  No last defiant speech or last ditch action on the Commanders behalf?  No face reveal after all these years?  WHAT THE F____??  I cannot and refuse to believe that Cobra Commander was simply tackled, knocked out, and hauled away.

The last two pages shows an unmasked Commander (we don’t see his face however) in an orange prison jumpsuit sitting in a chair making some last declaration that Cobra will survive…and it’s revealed that this isolation room is at the bottom of the ocean.  Oh, fuck me.  This is so bad. 

I can only hope…and pray…that Devil’s Due had to give up on the comic license with the film be launched next year…and maybe will be re-launched again at that time with a new number one that gives the fans some sort of payoff.  Maybe it will go back to Marvel?  I don’t know….but to tell me that 25 years…YEARS..of G.I. Joe and Cobra comic adventures is reduced to Cobra Commander sitting in an underwater prison because he was simply tackled and all the world is all apple pie after this is complete bullshit.

BOOOOO!

A Long Time ago, In a Target Aisle, Far, Far away…

Battle damaged Vader

Battle damaged Vader

What stupendous luck I had on Wednesday of this week.  Just by chance with a little extra time on my hands I decided to venture into my local Target store.  I rarely go through the front door any longer, I find that all the areas I’m interested in (toys, electronics, video games, bbq equipment) are closer to the garden entrance located to the far side and hence brings me better time efficiency when looking to blow my money on.

It just so happened that on this particular Wednesday, I happened down the action figure aisle where they display the Star Wars toys next to G.I.Joe, WWE, DC & Marvel heroes, and Indiana Jones and I had to pinch myself for what I saw.  Not only where the Star Wars figures reduced to $4.64 each, but there was a single Battled Damaged Darth Vader from the upcoming ‘The Force Unleashed’ video game tie-in.

And even better?  It was in mint condition!  No wear or tear on the card, no bend in the cardboard stock, no puncture in the protective plastic clam shell.  No, it was perfect and it was the only one.  I grabbed it just in time too, as I sensed another gentleman just seconds after I snatched it was also on a quest for rare Star Wars figures.

I’ve been very impressed with the imagination of the The Force Unleashed line of figures, from the various dark Jedi to the specialized Stormtroopers.  I nearly have all of them now.

I used to collect ‘all’ the Star Wars figures, but somewhere in my early thirties I decided that Kenner/Hasbro would keep churning out the same figures over and over again with slight variations in the name of the almighty dollar and profit and preyed on collectors like me who had to have ‘every’ one.  I mean how many R2-D2’s, Luke Skywalker’s, and Darth Vader’s are there now?  It was getting a bit ridiculous.  Even the clone troopers were using the same sculpt, just a different paint job being applied on them and, voila, you had another five or six figures that collectors had to had.

But despite the ten different Vader’s I already own, this one is exquisite the exposed face, torn cape, to the pop-off chest piece, I’d have to say my favorite aspect is the exposed mechanical leg and detail to the scared face and damaged respirator.  Truly a work of art and a stunning variation of the character as a whole.