IDW Publishing 2015
Written by Mike Costa
Illustrated by Paolo Villanelli
Coloured by Joana Lafuente
Billy, the former Cobra Commander’s son, has been in hiding for years, protected by G.I. Joe agent Ronin. But as he makes his presence known in the area, the Arashikage clan, led by Storm Shadow, prepare to strike and capture him... unless Snake Eyes, now working for Cobra, can get to him first!
It’s no secret that I’ve become a huge fan of the Joe franchise and while I really enjoyed getting to know them first at Devil’s Due it’s really what IDW has done with them that has the best ramifications for the team. They’ve progressed this from a cartoon world where laser guns and everyone gets out alive to a realistic armed response force with espionage, intrigue and life and death situations that don’t always go in their favour. Under IDW’s guidance they’ve become even more accessible as real people dedicating their lives to helping make the world a better place.
Ronin protecting Billy who all the while they are together has found himself falling in love with her in a modern day high stakes witness protection program style has been the focus of this story while Snake Eyes tries to play catch up to Storm Shadow who is bent on eliminating Billy has been done with such style and panache that you have to respect Mike’s writing and the creativity his mind is capable of. Seeing the back story this issue of the two on the run and when she first notices Billy giving her the look you can in hindsight see why over the last few issues her behavior towards him has been somewhat cold and distant. It’s incredibly personal writing wrapped up in this fantastic scenario and it all just works so very well.
While we don’t see much of Snake Eyes today in lieu of Ronin and Billy but we do see Storm Shadow catching up to the pair. We learn what Storm Shadow thinks of Ronin and the fact that he’s watched her from the beginning with the hard master and why she wasn’t chosen and his admittance that he was wrong about her. Though Storm Shadow manages to win the fight with Ronin I have to wonder why he bothers to talk to Billy instead of just executing him outright? It seems that villains like to talk too much and I wonder if that’s really true I understand monologuing is an effective tool where the hero and turn things around but this is Storm Shadow and unless there’s a specific reason he didn’t want Billy dead he very well should be.
Of course while pointing his sword at Billy’s chest Snake Eyes shows up and that’s where we leave things for now. Next issue will conclude this mini-series. Here’s hoping that Mike, Paolo and Joana will be returning to explore more of his time as an Agent of Cobra and revealing a few things like how he was really recruited and if he’s undercover or not, perhaps explain his current frame of mind ya never know but there’s still so much left to explore here.
Oh goodness and the interiors here are fantastic! I love the realistic comic book style of art here. People looking like people and not overly muscled or disproportionate but the kind you see everyday, who workout seven days a week and are more than constantly active. Plus Billy is handsome and Ronin is cute and the use of page layouts, panels and backgrounds are extremely well done and enhance our enjoyment of the story.
Mike writes Snake Eyes like no other can and this story is compelling and keeps us on the edge of our seats.