Gary Collinson reviews G.I. Joe: Special Missions #4….
“Crush Depth concludes! The handpicked G.I. Joe team takes on a hazardous mid-ocean assault in the middle of a violent tropical storm system. Aboard the ship skippered by the Baroness, a mutiny threatens to wrest control of Cobra booty. And dropping right into the middle of this perfect storm is a unit of Serpentor’s fanatical Coil assassins. Will the Special Missions team play both sides against the middle or be caught in a deadly vice of intrigue?“
After getting off to a decent enough start a few months back with G.I. Joe: Special Missions #1, Chuck Dixon’s ocean-set opening story arc ‘Crush Depth’ seemed to tread water for much of the next two issues, but fortunately issue #4 provides a mostly satisfying conclusion as the various plot threads come together and we get an action-packed closing chapter featuring some of the best artwork we’ve seen from IDW’s soft reboot of its G.I. Joe titles.
Dixon has been teasing this climactic showdown between The Baroness, her mercenaries, Serpentor’s Coil agents and of course, our heroic G.I. Joe team since the first issue, so it’s a relief that when the guns finally start blazing, things don’t disappoint – especially after the weak conclusion to ‘Homefront’ in the main title in last month’s G.I. Joe #5. It’s all-action from the very first panel and – unlike G.I. Joe #5 – it manages to keep the action grounded in some form of reality, rather than just plying us with explosions and hoping the spectacle will be enough to pull it through.
I’ve been a little critical towards the artwork in past issues, which has felt rushed at times, particularly with regards to the colouring. Although I’ve had occasional issues with Paul Gulacy’s pencils, he has excelled at depicting the underwater sequences and the raging sea storm, although sadly much of his work so far had been let down by patchy colouring. I guess I’m not the only person who’s been dissatisfied, as Romulo Fajardo Jr. has been brought in to assist Aburtov, and that really has been a wise decision as the colouring here looks superb from start to finish. We’ll be getting a new artist next issue as G.I. Joe veteran Will Rosado returns for the next Dreadnoks-centric story arc, but there’s no doubt that Gulacy has went out with a bang here.
In my review of G.I. Joe: Special Missions #3, I said this issue would have to deliver in order for ‘Crush Depth’ to be considered a success, and deliver it does. If you’ve sat patiently through three issues of build, you won’t be disappointed by the pay-off, and new or casual readers who like their G.I. Joe books packed full of action will really want to pick this one up.
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.