Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Paulo Villanelli
Now I’ll just put this out front: I’m not very familiar with G.I. Joe. I missed out on the series’ heyday due to both age and lack of awareness. My most recent experiences with the franchise have been the Rise of Cobra film, the G.I. Jeff episode of Community, and the current Transformers Vs G.I. Joe book, (which I highly recommend) which aren’t the purest encounters with the franchise obviously. That being said, for a newbie like me, the Snake Eyes book is a great introduction to the world of G.I. Joe, and moreover a better comic book than I could have expected. While it’s hard to imagine how a book centering on a character who does not speak can operate, Mike Costa makes it work anyway. Instead of focusing on Snake Eyes himself, the story focuses instead on G.I. Joe operative Ronin, and her mission to protect the former Cobra Commander’s son from Storm Shadow and the Arishikage Clan, while Snake Eyes leads a similar hunt to intercept them.
To Costa’s credit, he does a great job of getting the reader attached to the trials and tribulations of characters I’m unfamiliar with. While narration does help quite a bit towards that end, it serves its purpose and doesn’t act as a crutch for character development. In addition, the story also doesn’t waste any time getting caught up on what’s happened, which helps when you’re jumping into the fourth issue of an ongoing story. And while Snake Eyes doesn’t speak at all as he is wont to do, there’s still a fair bit done to give him some skin in the game, even with the continual guessing at what he’s thinking, there’s no doubt left as to who the star of the comic is, and for that matter that his motivations matter for the fates of everyone involved.
The art is a big factor in this comic as well, while I’ve not seen his art before, Paulo Villanelli was a large part of why this comic worked. While teams don’t always pair off perfectly, Villanelli’s art was a perfect fit for the spy adventure tone. The story jumps characters, settings, and moves at a breakneck pace, and thankfully the art keeps pace with the script and then some. The price is 3.99, which understandably creates some hesitancy as a common price in the comic world nowadays. However, it’s more than worth the price for the package given, along with the gorgeous art, and if you’re a G.I. Joe fan you’ll definitely want to be along for the ride as well.
4 out of 5 Yo Joes