REVIEW: Cobra #16

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Two G.I. Joe teams move on their leads for information on Cobra’s secrets, but things don’t quite go as planned for either team. Does this issue succeed in its mission to entertain or does it go belly up? Major Spoilers finds out.

COBRA #16
Writer: Mike Costa
Artists: Antonio Fuso, Werther Dell’Edera
Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Colorist: Arianna Florean
Editor: John Barber, Carlos Guzman
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Cobra: Two teams of covert G.I. Joes follow up on leads for possible Cobra intel. Flint and Chameleon head to Alexandria to investigate a building, and find Firefly preparing to blow it up. In Zurich, Lady Jaye and Ronin capture the former Cobra Commander’s son for interrogation, only to have Blacklight show up to crash the party.

Interrogation And Altercation

Chameleon and Flint interrogate a wounded Firefly in a hospital, trying to find the reason for his attempt to blow up the building they were there to investigate. Firefly informs them that Cobra sent him to destroy the building, with no questions asked, and that Blacklight is on the loose. This scene mainly consists of exposition to move the plot forward. We slowly start to learn the intentions of the villains and the mystery as to what is or isn’t important about the location in Alexandria. The dialogue exchanged between the characters is great and the line, “Now you’re caught monologuing like a Saturday morning cartoon villain” got a chuckle out of me.

The action picks up as Ronin and Lady Jaye prepare to question Billy, the previous Cobra Commander’s son, but end up fighting the dangerous villain Blacklight. In the struggle, Billy is shot and badly wounded. Action in this scene is tense and exciting as most of it plays out in the dark. The strategy of firing their guns to see Blacklight was well thought out, as was the use of the night vision goggles and flashbang grenades. You get a sense that these characters know what they’re doing, and are really the best of the best. It’s also nice to see old characters such as Billy being brought in and used differently in this new G.I. Joe universe. Things stay fresh this way and make me want to keep reading to see what they pull from next.

I’m loving what Mike Costa is doing on this book and have been from the beginning. His portrayal of G.I. Joe is more realistic and gritty, which is a contrast to the classic incarnation present in the main Joe title. Both sides are violent, dirty and will do whatever it takes to get the job done. This is the kind of G.I. Joe that I like and prefer, and it’s nice that IDW provides readers with all kinds of flavors of Joe to choose from. Cobra feels like a book that is geared toward a more mature audience, which some may not find to their liking. Gone are the costumes of the cartoon, instead replaced with more realistic uniforms. I can understand some readers not enjoying this version of G.I. Joe as the costumes and uniqueness of the characters are what makes G.I. Joe appealing to people.

If I have one complaint it’s that ever since the Cobra Command story, the book is now focusing more on the Joes as opposed to the internal workings of Cobra, something that used to be prevalent in the title. It’s a minor nitpick, but still something I would like to see this book get back to eventually.

Two Scenes, Two Artists

The art in this issue is handled by Antonio Fuso and Werther Dell’Edera, with Fuso illustrating the action and Dell’Edera the hospital interrogation. Both artists do fine work, and their styles compliment and fit well with each other. I prefer Fuso’s work more as he does fun things with the panel layouts such as having items from one panel fall into another. His story telling style is very unique with panels within panels and images overlapping each other.

That’s not to say that Dell’Edera’s art is bad, because it looks great as well. The style is similar to Fuso’s but the storytelling is simpler which may have to do with illustrating dialogue as opposed to an action scene. The artists are so similar in style that the book reads well without the art change being distracting. Coloring adds to the grimy and gritty feel that the book has going for it and while simple it is also effective. Fine work by all involved.

BOTTOM LINE: PICK IT UP

IDW’s doing a great job with the G.I. Joe property and gives readers a nice variety to choose from style wise. I’ve yet to be let down by an issue of Cobra. Costa’s writing mixed with Fuso’s art just gel well together and this issue continues the trend earning 4 out of 5 stars. I just hope to see more of a focus on Cobra in the future.

Rating: ★★★★☆