Operation Anabasis, heading to Romeo Papa
Issue #156, follows IDW's GI JOE # 155 1/2 Free Comic Book Day issue and continues the original Marvel G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero story line with the original characters and writing Larry Hama.
In case you've forgotten what happened in the December 1994 issue #155, COBRA has taken control of the US government and has declared martial law. FCBD issue 155 1/2 does a good job of bringing readers up to date on the events since the series ended in 1994.
The national guard has been augmented with government contractors by various COBRA entities. The Coordinated Order By Righteous Americans (COBRA) organization sends out hit-squads to finish the rogue military team known as G. I. Joe. G.I. Joe is declared a terrorist organization and is being hunted down and killed by government forces and COBRA hit teams working under control of COBRA.
I try to avoid spoilers in reviews, so don't expect to read any. I will provide an overview of the story without trying to give away any details.
Unlike issue 155 1/2 which dealt primarily with COBRA members, this issue puts the focus on the G. I. Joe team. Duke is on the run from COBRA and after a brief call to General Hawk, they authorize operation Anabasis. Duke begins to send out transmissions to the G.I. JOE team alerting them that COBRA hit squads are coming after them.
"A few minor freedoms have been sacrificed, but we have secured our domestic tranquility... and preserved most of our basic democratic ideals... "
Unfortunately, a few of the G.I. JOE team members don't receive the warning, so Duke calls Roadblock who is working as a military cook just in time to warn him. A few moments later, Duke calls Mainframe and asks him to pass the message to everyone else and Stalker, who is in the field (region between Pakistan and Afghanistan) working as a spotter for a sniper.
Meanwhile, Duke goes to warn Scarlet and Snake-eyes where the team continues to encounter COBRA soldiers and red ninjas.
The issue is a great jumping-on issue (although, if you can find the 155 1/2 FCBD issue that would be a much better starting point). There's lots of action and the series doesn't miss a step after a 15 1/2 year break.
The writing and art work works well. There's no big problems with the issue and I really enjoyed this one over the other G.I. Joe comics. It feels much more inline with G.I. Joe and feasible without too much sci-fi or magic crowding out good old G.I. Joe vs COBRA fighting.
I didn't know if I was going to add this series to my pull list, but I knew I wanted to read this issue. Over time, I've read a handful of G.I. Joe comics, but I've never collected any of the series (or any other GI JOE series) - even though I was a fan of the concept and cartoon (not so much fan of movie). After reading this solid issue, there's no doubt that I'll add it to my pull list for now.
It's great to see IDW listening to the readers who've been buying up the G.I. Joe Classic TPB and HBs. After seeing good sales, they reached out to Larry Hama (original writer at Marvel) and agreed to pick up where he left off at.
If this title was at Marvel, we'd be calling it "G.I. JOE: Forever" since it picks up about 15 1/2 years after the last issue and continues the same storyline, characters, and writer.