This week’s lead review for Wednesday Comics is G.I. JOE A REAL AMERICAN HERO #300, a landmark issue if ever there was one. In addition, the Wednesday Comics Team has a rundown of the new #1s and finales from non-Big 2 publishers, all of which you can find below … enjoy!
G.I. JOE A REAL AMERICAN HERO #300
G.I. Joe A Real American Hero #300
Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: SL Gallant
Inker: Maria Keane
Colorist: J. Brown
Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Well, here it is, the final issue of G.I Joe from IDW. We’ve known this issue was coming for close to a year now, and I’ve been eagerly reading every twist and turn longtime (since 1982!!) series writer Larry Hama has taken us on. But while this series is ending at IDW, by the time the reader gets to the final page of this final issue, one really gets the feeling that this story is far from over. And as a longtime (since 1982!!!) fan of G.I. Joe, I am 100% okay with that. This issue is written like we should expect a continuation in an issue #301 at some point in the future. Larry Hama has posted publicly that he’s unemployed once this series ends, but the ending of this issue really has me hoping that another publisher is going to pick up the ball and hand it off to Mr. Hama to keep running with it.
The art team of SL Gallant, Maria Keane and J. Brown provide pages with tense, explosive action. No punches are pulled for the reader here. Even back in the Marvel days, the art on the G.I. Joe comic book series was very distinct from the television show. The comic was never the cartoon show red and blue lasers that seem to magically miss everyone. That is very much the case here. Copra Vipers are beaten bloody, think blood pouring out of shattered face plates, in what could be a final showdown between the Joe team and the forces of Cobra. The art is your face, as in the action.
Speaking of the classic G.I. Joe cartoon, there is a PSA at the end of the comic on treating a cutting injury with instructions on how to Stop The Bleed. It’s told partially tongue in cheek, but also provides accurate and easy to follow instructions on how to treat a bad knife wound in the kitchen (or the battlefield). It has the feeling of an issue of G.I. Joe: Saturday Morning Adventures, which makes sense, since it’s written by the writer of that series, Erik Burnham, and colored by the colorist of the series, Luis Antonio Delgado, who captures those Saturday morning cartoon colors perfectly. Pencil and inked art on this backup is by longtime Joe fan and recent Joe artist Billy Penn.
If you’re coming into G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #300 looking for a neatly tied up resolution to decades of storytelling, you may be disappointed. But that disappointment will quickly turn to excitement at the possibility of the Joe team’s neverending fight for freedom carrying on at a new publisher. Bring on #301, someone!
Wednesday Comics Quick Hits
- Ancient Enemies #1 (Frank Miller Presents): While Ronin Book II #1 (see below) will certainly be the headliner for Frank Miller Presents comics this week, Ancient Enemies is a worthy complimentary act, creating a new and intricate sci-fi/quasi-superhero mythos. Ancient Enemies is written by former DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio, with art by Danilo Beyruth, colors by Alex Sinclair, and letters by Carlos M. Mangual, and it’s an ambitious book that spans nearly 60 pages. This comic does a fantastic job of combining a full and interesting narrative with a giant heaping of exposition that grounds readers. It’s a satisfying read in itself, one with a giant scope and high production value. (Zack Quaintance)
- Dark Spaces – Wildfire #5 (IDW Publishing): This week we get the finale of a near-perfect miniseries, with Dark Spaces – Wildfire #5, from writer Scott Snyder, artist Hayden Sherman, colorist Ronda Pattison, and letterer AndWorld Design. This series throughout has featured Sherman doing what might be career-best work so far, which is really saying something, given the high and versatile and prolific levels that Sherman has been operating at throughout 2022. Pair that with a Snyder script that speaks to deep questions around morality (my favorite type of Snyder script), and you get an understated yet powerful story, one that starts with some simmering embers and ignites to a full-on blaze by its end. (Zack Quaintance)
- Fear of a Red Planet #1 (AfterShock Comics): How do you address the first murder in a space colony? Fear of a Red Planet #1 seeks to answer that question. In doing so, it delivers an atmospheric sci-fi western from writer Mark Sable (Miskatonic), artist Andrea Olimpieri (Dishonored, Dark Souls), and letterer Dave Sharpe, set 50 years in the future in a corporate mining colony on Mars, one that follows Carolina Law, a marshal appointed by the UN to oversee the colony and keep the peace. There’s little ground here that has yet to be covered elsewhere, be it in classics Alien or in newer works like The Outer Worlds; despite that fact, Sable still manages to draw the reader into the story by leaning into the western part of space-western and writing a murder mystery. (Reagan Anick)
- Justice Warriors #6 (AHOY Comics): The first monthly comic book from Matt Bors and Ben Clarkson comes to an appropriately violent conclusion as the remaining members of the Bubble City PD take on the Libra Gang. So much of this series has been about the artificial divides people create between each other, whether it’s physically, economically, or socially, and Bors does an interesting job taking that idea to a conclusion and “resolving” some of it while still maintaining the status quo of the series. Clarkson and colorist Felipe Sobreiro’s artwork throughout the book has been a revelation, and there’s a spread in this issue that practically demands the reader to take time and pore over every inch of it. This is a smart, hilarious, extremely entertaining series, and I can’t wait for it to return. (Joe Grunenwald)
- Kamen Rider Zero-One #1 (Titan Comics): Writer Brandon Easton and artist Hendry Prasetya create an intriguing albeit exposition heavy introduction to the comic continuation of the Tokusatsu TV show. The creative team has the job of making the story of this Kamen Rider accessible to new readers and fans of the show alike, so exposition is expected as they attempt to move from the setup to the action. This issue showcases a range of Kamen Rider abilities, with letters by Deron Bennett that feel right at home with the series and the expressive poses of the riders. After the initial set up, the story moves to a dynamic and incredibly well rendered confrontation with colors by Bryan Valenza that heighten the intensity of the action; promising bigger, more explosive confrontations down the line. (Khalid Johnson)
- Once Upon a Time at the End of the World #1 (BOOM! Studios): Jason Aaron and team offer a not-so-distant vision of the apocalypse, as floating garbage and toxic waste form a giant swamp across the face of the globe. Mezzy is an acid swamper who travels in a rickety boat across the vast expanse of poison detritus. When her boat springs a leak, she meets Mace, who has been alone in an abandoned tower for years. Artist Alexandre Tefenkgi finds order in the chaos, sketching out the polluted clutter with dynamic, legible compositions, while colorist Lee Loughridge’s sickly neons create an eternal sunset at the end of days. A flash-forward shows that Mezzy and Mace’s chance meeting will change the entire world…though, based on the nightmarish final pages (illustrated by Nick Dragotta and colored by Rico Renzi), it doesn’t appear to be for the better. Par for the course, Aaron’s script is tight and compelling, setting up a story about two loners at the end of the world that will have readers eager to see how Mezzy and Mace go from random strangers to the two most important people on the doomed planet. (Jessica Scott)
- Ronin Book II #1 (Frank Miller Presents): What can I possibly say about Ronin Book II #1, the start of a six-part miniseries that marks Frank Miller’s return to one of his classic works? From the moment this book was announced, readers have likely known whether they were going to pick it up. This new story follows the original, picking up with Casey taking her new-born son across a torn and scarred America. It’s got Miller doing layouts with art by Philip Tan and Daniel Henriques, and the comics craft on display here is unsurprisingly impressive. If any or all of that sounds appealing to you, you definitely won’t be disappointed with this comic. (Zack Quaintance)
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