I admit it. Nostalgia got to me. I’ve been watching the new He-Man cartoon, but it’s just not the same. However, these are the same G.I. Joe comics I was reading almost 20 years ago, so that may not necessarily be a bad thing.
Title: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Vol. 1
Author: Primarily Larry Hama
Illustrator(s): Primarily Herb Trimpe
Original Publication Date: May 2002 reprint of material first
published from June 1982 to April 1983
Cover Price: $24.95 US, $39.95 Can
Buy from: Amazon.com
An elite counter-terrorist group known as G.I.Joe is assigned to
stopping the terrorist group known as Cobra.
This collects the first ten issues of Marvel Comics’ original G.I.Joe
series. (Marvel put out a volume every other month for a while. At
least four are available.) The breakdown is as follows:
Issue 1: The Joes are sent to retrieve a captured American
Issue 2: The Joes investigate a slaughter at a military outpost.
Issue 3: The Joes capture a Cobra robot that can reassemble itself,
interpret and control unfamiliar computer systems by touch alone, and
grow tentacles out of its head.
Issue 4: The Joes go undercover at a camp full of crackpots.
Issue 5: Cobra crashes a military parade.
Issues 6-7: The Joes are sent to recover a crashed Soviet jet, and
they run into the October Guard.
Issue 8: The Joes must protect a satellite that can locate and destroy
Cobra’s ocean platforms.
Issue 9: The Joes suspect an American ambassador as the target of an
Issue 10: The Joes learn of Cobra’s headquarters.
Issue 7 was something of a turning point, with some great character
interactions, and some military realism.
The robot hand picking itself up off the table and working the
military computers blind.
The most original aspect of this was that people actually
died in Marvel comics under the Comics Code Authority. The rest was
bound to the toy line quite tightly. I give it 3 out of 6.
The artwork on these issues wasn’t spectacular by any stretch
of the imagination. There are numerous colouring errors, as well as
some faces that were simply terrible the way they were drawn. The
artwork improves toward the end of the book, though. I suspect that
the powers that be had to respect for the title when it was originally
launched, but that strong fan response convinced them to expect more
from their talent. I give it 4 out of 6.
The story faces the same problems as the artwork. Early
stories are essentially toy commercials, while the later stories start
to turn into something better. (That doesn’t prevent them from
introducing a mind-reading device in the tenth issue.) I give it 4 out
The characterization of Hawk, Stalker, Snake-Eyes, Scarlett,
and Clutch is fairly well done. We start to understand these
characters well. Others, such as Cobra Commander himself, seem like
one-trick ponies. I give it 4 out of 6.
The emotional response was mixed. I had issues 7-10 in an
old digest when I first started collecting these, but I don’t remember
them well. Still, issue 6 has a moment that shocked me. Issue 3 had
many moments that shocked me too, but most of those were in the “I
can’t believe they’re writing this” sense. I give it 3 out of 6.
The flow was well done in most cases. There is some talky
combat, and there are a couple of moments that are badly transitioned,
but much of it was very well done. I give it 4 out of 6.
Overall, this was a disappointing collection. The best part
of it was the upswing in quality towards the end, showing the promise
of something better. I plan to pick up volume 2 at least, and see if
things really get as good as I remember them. (I originally started
collecting with issue 52.) I give it 3 out of 6.
In total, G. I. Joe: A Real American Hero Vol. 1 receives 25
out of 42.