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May 27, 2011 / MojosWork

G.I. Joe: Snake-Eyes #1

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis: Snake-Eyes, Helix, Alpine and Iceberg go hiking in Xixibangma, a Himalayan range, home of the 13th highest point on Earth, looking for the hideout of the man responsible for killing six Joes (all trained by Snake-Eyes) in G.I. Joe: Civil War #0. Old school fans will probably geek out when they see the Cobra Snow Serpents. (I know I did.)

Writer: Chuck Dixon

Artist: Robert Atkins and Augustin Padilla

Cover Price: $3.99

When I saw G.I. Joe: Snake-Eyes #1 in the “Hey idiot, this came out last week!” section of Midtown Comics, I gasped. How’d I miss that one? I guess all that means is that I get twice the Joe action this holiday weekend (welcome back summer!), since G.I. Joe Cobra: Cobra Civil War #1 hit the stands on Wednesday.

Before I even flipped open the comic, I knew I needed to find something other than this Khalikhan shmuckily (not a word!) flipping a casino chip cover. Hmm, Oda Satori with Storm Shadow is kinda cool, but like the other one, these guys mean nothing to me yet (Stormy is too obstructed to be the focal point), being a toy and TV G.I. Joe buff.  So, Major Bludd cover it is! I love that these variant covers ALL make sense in relation to the storyline, what with the Commander’s helmet a running thematic element through all three Joe titles. (Unlike stupidity like the X-Men on a Fantastic Four cover.) I’ve said it before, but Zach Howard and Nelson Daniel have done a bang-up job with the character sketches, watercolor washes and color halftone treatments on all the covers.

Okay, so moving onward and inward, the very first page of Robert Atkins’ work blew me away. The second, too. By his fourth or fifth page, I finally accepted that this man just doesn’t mail anything in. As a paying customer, God how I appreciate that.

This could be a cover, too. I'm sold on Atkins at Page 1.

His Snake-Eyes looks every bit as compelling as he is. I’m a total loser for saying this, but seeing Snake scaling the mountain on page 1 was like running into an old flame. Those old feelings of excitement start bubbling up in the pit of my stomach, despite all the time gone by since we last saw each other. What’s been, Snake? 10, 15 years? What? 20 years, you say? Geez. Where does the time go? God, I love you, man. Why did we leave each other in the first place?

The fact that he’s mute makes Snake-Eyes that much better. Probably why I get excited to see him more than any ex. They never shut up.

If geeking out over Snake-Eyes wasn’t enough, I get the treat of a pair of Snow Serpents. Man, what a cool name. Snow serpent. Say it again. Snow serpent. Imagine a snow serpent? A real snake that lived in the snow? That would scare the shit out of me. How would you know it’s coming? Snow serpents would probably be white, to blend in with their surroundings. But I guess, slither tracks and holes are probably a dead giveaway. That may have contributed to their extinction in the first place. And the impossibility of a cold-blooded reptile living in snow.

The other odd train-of-thought I had while reading this was in relation to Iceberg. He’s got the balls to call Alpine the whitest black guy he’s ever met. Um, hello? You’re both in the effing Himalayas sleeping on the side of a snowy mountain! You can share the Whitest Black Dude trophy. Three days a week. Alternate Sundays.

The pot calling the kettle black; or, the black guy who loves winter calling the black guy who loves The Carpenters white. Same idea.

Augustin Padilla supplies the art to flashback scenes. This is one of the few occasions mixing artists and styles works. Padilla’s work has an ethereal quality to it, though I really can’t back that up with anything, especially since slicing thugs and flipping tables is anything but ethereal. I guess its the difference in coloring between the flashbacks and the present day segments. Warm vs cool color palettes.

Throughout all this eye candy, Chuck Dixon wrote a pretty good story, better than most first issues, but the familiarity of the characters means this isn’t exactly on a level playing field with more other first issues. Underlying tension with Scarlett and Helix, a bold and daring mission into the belly of the beast, a nice set-up for the future with some flashbacks, interesting cliffhanger (almost literally!). Oh, and there’s this sweet poster smack dab in the middle of the issue.



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