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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero, Vol. 23 - Artificial Intelligence (War) (Graphic Novel)

by Larry Hama & Netho Diaz   

Published: IDW Publishing (October 22, 2019)

Softcover, 120 pages

Amazon Listing 

Another great collection of GI Joe: A Real American Hero. This volume brings together issues 261 - 265. The plots are all over the place here. We begin with Destro and the Baroness's continued assault on Revanche and the cybernetic Blue Ninjas which is a story that should've been shelved twenty issues ago. They are confronted with Alpha 001, the prime unit and are mentally taken over by other creature, which then goes on to infect many more iron grenadiers. The plot is worn thin with the unstoppable cybernetic monster that constantly rebuilds and grows bigger. X-Men did it better with the Sentinel Master Mold.
As this is going on, the Joe's are still rescuing UN aid workers from a war torn Middle Eastern country. This story expresses everything the Joe's are about. A small tactical force of highly trained personally fighting the good fight over seemingly overwhelming odd, but still managing to pull through.

The story is being set up for an attempt by Cobra Commander to kidnap and subvert Snake Eyes via the brainwave scanner (who we know is dead, but has been replaced by Sean Collins aka Throwdown, though the Cobras don't know this).
The set up to this brings back a lot of old characters: The October Guard- the old Soviet equivalent of the Joe's. Crystal Ball, the Cobra mesmerist, who I believe only ever appeared in one issue of A Real American hero. He has been working as a sleazy fortune teller since being booted from Cobra. Last but not least, Zartan, Zarana, Zandar and the entire Dreadnok crew (even Zanzibar) reappear to take on Cobra.
The book ends on a bittersweet note with a special Memorial Day tribute to all of the fallen characters in the series. To those unfamiliar with the whole series, a lot of characters will be mentioned that you might not have heard of. A third of the dead come from the vastly unpopular G.I Battleforce 2000 which sold so poorly Larry Hama was given permission to wipe out the whole squad. This is excellent fan service however and a lot of old characters are brought up. Except for the dead Cobras as they apparently don't mourn the dead.
My only fan-boy gripe is that when the Arisinkage clan is honoring their dead members: the Hard Master and the Soft Master, they forgot to include the Blind Master who was killed by Zartan. A small oversight, but it bugged me.
 For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

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