Writer- Larry Hama
Artist- Paolo Villanelli
Colors- J. Brown
Letters- Neil Uyetake
Editor- Carlos Guzman
I’m not even going to tease you for a few paragraphs and waste your time in regards to how I feel about G.I. Joe ARAH #218…It. Is. Great!
If you want to stop reading this right now and run to your local comic shop or click BUY on your comic app, I understand and will not hold it against you.
For all of you that aren’t so easily swayed or uber-spontaneous I will continue…
Okay, for starters, new readers need not be concerned about this being the third part of the Cobra Rising arc. Funny enough, it’s the conclusion to the 3-part story and you can come in fresh and not worry about having to be caught up. Like most great Joe stories, this is a one-off contained story, but is for some reason disguised as the finale to the arc. It has mild overarching relevance, but really it’s a one shot.
We start off with Dr. Mindbender hiring Strato-Viper for a mission. Strato-Viper heads off in his Night Raven jet and is picked up by the Joe radars in “The Pit”. His trajectory shows he is headed towards Washington D.C., and Duke sends a nameless Joe to intercept the Night Raven in a X-19 jet with a Joe copter in tow with what will be a 5 hour lag time. The Joe, in all intents and purposes, is on his own. As he intercepts the Night Viper over the Arctic Circle a dogfight begins.
One of the great things Hama does here is not bog the issue down with a sub-plot. From start to finish this is an aerial dogfight issue with two main characters. The military jargon is in full tilt as these two go head to head. It gives the issue an immersive feeling that captured the reader.
What gives this the feel of a tried and true G.I. Joe story is the levity brought in by both pilots: cocky and bombastic attitudes carry this from intense to fun. And thank you Hama for the Hendrix lyrics, cherry on top, as far as I’m concerned at least.
Villanelli really brings the story and dialogue to a perfect Joe center visually with his art that brings a heightened feel to the characters and Brown’s color defiantly gives you the poppy eye candy you want. Villanelli also makes the difficult task of aerial action scenes feel crisp with only a slight hint of confusion when it comes to the plane maneuvers.
Overall this issue is something that anyone can jump into G.I. Joe with, and gives longtime readers a break from (Spoiler) the devastating blow fans took with the death of Snake Eyes in issue #215. It is a solid Joe story with a fun vibe and great art.
If the Hama/Villanelli team keeps throwing us bones like this fun contained story going forward, it will be a very good thing for Joe fans.
Jonathan Winchester is a writer from Dallas, TX where he lives with his wife Maddie and their annoying cat. He believes Han was the lone shooter, that nothing looks better than a silver age comic in Mylar, and that there is no better feeling than walking into a dimly lit movie theater.