PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

Review: G.I. JOE – Cobra – Oktober Guard / Writer: Mike Costa / Artist: Antonio Fuso / Publisher: IDW Publishing / Release Date: Out Now

Everyone knows that the villains are more interesting than the good guys, and with G.I. JOE: Cobra – Oktober Guard we get two sets of bad guys, good old COBRA and a team of angry Russians, called the Oktober Guard. We also get a lot of insight into some of the major players in the current series. For example, the charmingly named Major Bludd has been part of the story for a while, and all that those unfamiliar with franchise will know about him up to this point is that he’s a captured COBRA agent being used by the Joes . This book explains exactly how he came to be there, and why. It also reveals one or two questions long time fans may have, and turns this rather minor villain into a much more interesting character.

This is the GI JOE franchise at its most satisfying; well told military fantasy stories, with more than a touch of high-tech spy drama and plenty of ninjas. Of course, we get a ninja origin story as well (in this case, the woman codenamed Ronin), and it’s this story that lets the book down slightly. Not only does it totally break the pace, the background story isn’t anything new, we’ve seen why people train to be kick-ass martial arts experts and nothing is added here.

Again, we see the heroes work against tough odds (this version of the franchise has the G.I. JOE team on limited resources) and this does make them more interesting. It is the titular Oktober Guard who steal the show however; they make great and ambiguous villains with interesting motivations and a solid backstory. The artwork is a slight letdown, but it does suit the more gritty feel of this book quite well. With more to come, it seems that this series will continue to grow from strength to strength.

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