Gary Collinson reviews G.I. Joe: The Cobra Files #4…
“SNAKES AND TIGERS concludes! The mission has gone out of control. COBRA has the upper hand. FLINT is in danger. LADY JAYE and RONIN scramble to salvage the operation… and CHAMELEON finds a way to put a stop to the enemy. But can she stop herself before she goes too far?“
IDW’s Cobra series is like The Wire of comic books. Okay, let me rephrase that… IDW’s Cobra series is like The Wire of G.I. Joe comic books. Like the critically acclaimed HBO show, its gradual, deliberate pacing and lack of action may prove off-putting to the casual reader, but entirely engrossing for those who spend the time investing in its complex characters and multi-layered narrative. It’s meant as a grittier, mature and unpredictable alternative to the other traditional G.I. Joe books on the market and so far The Cobra Files has succeeded in doing just that. But of course, this being a G.I. Joe book we do need some action on occasion – step forward The Cobra Files #4, which delivers just that with a solid, fast-moving finale to this first story arc.
Hoping to lure a specialist Cobra-affiliated ‘Tiger Team’ known as the Night Creepers out of the shadows, Flint has concocted an audacious plan, leaking security details for a prime target – a G.I. Joe installation in the Pentagon. However, last we saw the plan had backfired, with Flint taken captive and the Night Creepers preparing to launch a dirty bomb on the Joes’ HQ from the Potomac river. Now it’s down to Chameleon, Lady Jaye and Ronin to save the day and prevent the Pentagon from falling victim to a nuclear attack. Cue a motorcycle chase and several blazing gun battles, along with a sword fight between two combatants wearing HazMat suits.
While the art style of The Cobra Files may be an acquired taste, there’s some great work here, with Antonio Fuso (pencils), Emilio Lecce (inker) and Arianna Florean (colorist) combining to deliver the best-looking book of this series so far. The action scenes are particularly impressive, with Shawn Lee’s lettering really adding to the drama. Writing-wise, Mike Costa strays a little from the formula at times (see the aforementioned HazMat sword fight, which comes off as a little out of place here and would be better suited to either of IDW’s other G.I. Joe titles), but that’s only a minor quibble in what is otherwise another excellent instalment of The Cobra Files.
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.