Is this the face of the new Cobra Commander?

New Cobra Commander?

New Cobra Commander?

Uh, oh.  I am not one happy Joe.

In this preliminary image of the forth coming ‘Combat Heroes’ toy line from Hasbro that will tie into the new “G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra” movie due later this year, we get one of our first glimpses of the costume change up for Cobra Commander.

If you look closey at the picture above, note the 4th picture from the left, directly between Joe, ‘Heavy Duty’ and Cobra ninja ‘Storm Shadow’.  Yup, that a glimpse of the new mask and hint of color scheme and body armor for Cobra Commander.

I may reserve my judgement until I see the whole image, but I’m seriously having my doubts and my heart sank a little bit.  Now I heard the original stories that the film makers wanted to steer away from the Commanders original hood design, as it was ballied about as being too Ku Klux Klan like.  Personally, I never got that for the sheer fact that his hood was never pointed, was blue in color (not white) and had a red cobra emblem stitched on the front.

Cobra Commander in chrome

Cobra Commander in chrome

And what could be possibly wrong with his combat blue helmet and chrome, featureless faceplate.  That costume was iconic to anyone who grew up with Cobra in the 80’s and really lent to the air of mystery of the man behind the mask.

This new movie stylized incarnation looks like a cross between a hockey mask and *sigh*, dare I say, something that reminds me to Cobra-La?  The nostril slits, questionable holes, along with the segmented look and pastel purple body features has me squirming.

It’s bad enough Scarlett and some of the other Joe’s costumes look nothing like their 80’s versions, but I’ll admit that both Snake Eyes and positive changes with Storm Shadow look great. 

But in the end, Cobra Commander is an iconic character and very important to the Joe’s 80’s mythos and revival from the old 12″ figures of old.  To mess with him now can possibly really retract many’s opinions on him.  I’m curious to what long time scribe, Larry Hama thinks of these changes?

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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.

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!