Comic Review – “G. I. Joe Frontline: The Mission That Never Was”

Here’s a collective review of the first four issues of the G.I. Joe Frontline title.

General Information

Title: G.I. Joe Frontline – “The Mission
That Never Was”
Author: Larry Hama
Illustrator: Dan
Original Publication Date: The fourth and final issue in
the arc (but not in the series) shipped Feb. 26, 2003.
Price: $2.95US, $4.50 Can


The entire series is a set of stories that take place at various
points in G.I. Joe history. Each story arc has a different creative
team. This arc takes place in January 1995, just after the final
issue of Marvel’s first series. This series is by Image Comics.

High Point

The complexity of the mission plan in issue 3. It’s more interesting
than the normal shoot-em-up without cutting down on the typical

Low Point

Hawk’s nearly inhuman recovery from his wound.

The Scores

This didn’t feel original. Rather, it felt like another
chapter in the G.I. Joe comics I read ten years ago. That’s
all I’d really expect from a nostalgia title with the writer who wrote
the original series, but that doesn’t make it original. I give it 2
out of 6.

The artwork was of the same quality I saw in Dan Jurgens’ DC
work. It’s clean, it’s clear, and it’s detailed when it needs to be.
I give it 5 out of 6.

The story was a series of battles with enough plot to string
them together. I’d have preferred to see less gunfire and more of the
relationships between Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and Scarlet. I give
it 3 out of 6.

The characterization was sparse. We know that Destro is the
one of the most regal villains I’ve ever seen, and we know that the
Joes are dedicated soldiers. Snake Eyes was the only Joe with a
really distinct personality in this set, though. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response was mostly nostalgia. Issue 3 is the
only one that still brought a response from me on a reread, and that’s
mostly a positive impression of the capabilities of the Joe team given
the amount of detail in their attack strategy. (Note: I haven’t
reread issue 4. I reread the others before reading #4 for the first
time so I could sensibly review the entire storyline.) The rest was a
bit of a let down. (The cheap jokes seemed so much funnier when I was
ten. Now they seem so obvious from the setups that the punchlines are
predictable and less effective.) I give it 3 out of 6.

The flow was harmed by wordy battles. There were a lot of
wordy battles, too. (I think the mission briefings at the start of the
first issue, as well as the brief epilogue, were the only non-combat
scenes in the collection.) I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, it’s okay for nostalgia, but it’s not a particularly
interesting set. You’re probably better off getting one of Marvel’s
collected trades of the old stuff, or Image’s new stuff in the main
title if you want nostalgia. The concept is interesting at first, but
I don’t plan to stick around for it. When you’re fitting stories into
an existing history, you’re somewhat bound to avoid any lasting
ramifications, which limits character development to practically
nothing. If a story has no lasting implications, it’s hard to hold my
interest. I give the first arc 3 out of 6, and I suspect the rest of
the series won’t fair much better.

In total, the first story arc of G.I. Joe Frontline, titled
The Mission That Never Was, receives 22 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

I’ll be reviewing the story arc through issues 5-8 as well, since I’m
already committed to buying those issues, but then I’ll be dropping
the title in favour of Niel Gaiman’s 1602 and J. Michael
Straczynski’s Squadron Supreme (the latter for Marvel’s MAX
line,) both of which are promised to ship this summer. A more
complete list of all the reviews I’m planning can be found here.