Gary Collinson reviews G.I. Joe: Special Missions #3….
“Scarlett, Mainframe, and the Special Missions team are seeing their first operation fall apart as the weather and overwhelming odds thwart them at every turn. Things aren’t any easier for the Baroness as she faces a mutiny from the crew of scurvy dogs she hired to recover Cobra’s loot off the ocean floor. And now Serpentor has taken an interest and that spells mayhem for everyone!“
If you’ve read my review of the previous issue, you’ll know I was disappointed by G.I. Joe: Special Missions #2. After a getting the series off to a promising enough start, SM #2 offered little more than filler, with some ridiculous plotting and inconsistent artwork making for a wholly forgettable issue which pretty much killed any momentum built up in issue #1. Nevertheless, with Special Missions #3, writer Chuck Dixon just about manages to get things back on track, even though it’s starting to feel like we’ve been swimming in circles for the past couple of issues.
The last we saw of our heroes, Scarlett and Mainframe were getting cosy in a container at the bottom of the ocean, unaware that a hungry shark was circling at their feet. Of course, this isn’t a problem for the Joes, with Scarlett delivering a devastating Dragon Punch to Jaws before the two lovebirds head back out into the water, only to see the Baroness’ hired guns heading back to their ship with Cobra’s $40 billion loot in tow. As Scarlett and Mainframe rendezvous with the rest of their team to prepare an all-out assault, the Baroness faces a mutiny when the ship’s crew discover the fortune they’ve just salvaged. However, that’s the least of her worries, as Serpentor has also discovered her location and a highly trained squad of Cobra agents are preparing their own attack, setting up a three-way-dance on the high seas between the Joes, Cobra and the Baroness’ cut-throat mercenaries.
I’ve been a little critical of some of the artwork in Special Missions, and while things are showing signs of improvement in this issue, the colouring still remains sketchy in places, particularly with regards to the Serpentor pages… again. Don’t get me wrong, when Special Missions looks good it looks very good, but sadly there seems to be an issue with consistency, which is disappointing when so much of the issue looks wonderful – see any of the panels depicting the storm at sea, which are probably my favourite images so far from any of the three relaunched Joe titles. Actually, I’m telling a lie. My favourite images are the ‘Untold Tales’ retailer incentive variant covers from Jim Rugg, and this one here is probably the best yet.
Overall, G.I. Joe: Special Missions #3 is a big improvement over the previous issue, and it’s certainly worth picking up; plot-wise, it’s really just more build towards the final showdown, but itdoes give us our first sighting of Cobra Commander since this relaunch got underway (note to newer IDW readers: it’s not the Cobra Commander we know and love – he’s dead, and this is a guy called Krake), while fans of the Baroness will be left happy, especially with her method for calming a mutiny. Still, we’ve been waiting patiently for three issues to see for some Joe on Cobra action, and next month’s climatic battle really needs to deliver for this first Special Missions story arc to be considered a success.
Gary Collinson is a writer and lecturer from the North East of England. He is the editor-in-chief of FlickeringMyth.com and the author of Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen.