Review: G.I. JOE – Target Snake Eyes / Author: Chuck Dixon / Artist: Will Rosado / Publisher: IDW Publishing / Release Date: March 19th
The G.I. JOE series is a child – and a victim – of the '80s. We're talking about a world where ninjas are still seen as the height of cool rather than as chucklesome chopsocky goons in pyjamas. That's why the toy range that all of this is based on had no less than two ninja dolls: the silent warrior in black called Snake Eyes and the mouthy badass in white known as Storm Shadow. Swivel arm! Battle grip! Which brings us nicely to the present and to G.I. JOE: Target Snake Eyes.
The plot is one of betrayed ninja clans, hidden agendas and hordes of people in onesies throwing pointy metal things at men with guns. The book also features one of Starburst's favourite ever villainous schemes: COBRA’s quest for sovereignty. You see, if you’re a super-secret terrorist organisation, apparently the thing you really want is country that you can call your own, mostly so you can print your own money and really annoy everyone else in the UN council. Chuck Dixon tales a good tale, mixing military fantasy with Hollywood-style action to create a narrative with grunt. He writes both the Baroness and Cobra Commander particularly well, and seems to be able to balance the silliness of COBRA with its potential for terror. There is plenty of Yoda-like mysticism for fans of ninja-nonsense as well, of course.
Will Rosado does a fine job in drawing hordes of ninjas. The art is strong and engaging, though nothing remarkable, just the usual high standard that we’ve come to expect from IDW. It looks like a G.I. JOE book, and that’s all you really need. Make no mistake, this isn’t a ‘reimagining’; this is a nostalgia factory and will be welcomed by some for that very reason. (Though of course, if you’re British, you may remember these dudes as Action Force rather than G.I. JOE.)
If you're looking for a blast of '80s nostalgia or if you're a fan of movies like Ninja Terminator, you should find this well worth a go. And if you're the sort of special individual who still owns the original Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow action figures in mint condition and often wonders what the duo are up to these days, chances are you've already got this book on order.