G.I. Joe #4 Review

by Jay Hill on January 01, 2020

Written by: Paul Allor
Art by: Niko Walter
Colors by: Brittany Peer
Lettered by: Neil Uyetake
Published by: IDW Publishing

After a self-contained feeling issue #3, G.I. Joe is back with a surprising look at the other side of the battle. In G.I. Joe #4, we follow Major Bludd as he investigates some things that have been on his mind. That eventually leads him somewhere unforeseen.

Changing the focus to the inner workings of the Cobra machine, especially through the eyes of Bludd, created a needed change of feeling. The quasi-character study done in this issue shows a new height in the content of the writing. We see Bludd contemplate many things and they all give him and the environment more dimensions. His hatred for “idealists”, and the examination of Cobra Commander through it, was a surprising addition to the depth of the story. Bludd also speaks a lot about having control, which we are then shown he lacks more than he thought he held. When the reveal that Cobra is working with Destro, a personal enemy of Bludd, and that he’s doing it to create an ideal world Bludd loses his motivations that made him such a great tool for Cobra. He learned he lacks control, being kept in the dark on this project with Destro, his shared enemy with Cobra isn’t an enemy to Cobra at all, and the safety he felt in working for a person whose only prospect is to gain power was lost when he found out he was working for an idealist. This leaves Major Bludd in an interesting place by the end of the issue. But, this issue also does well to add other pieces of information to the story. We get quite a comprehensive look at the role of Cobra’s members. Baroness, Dr. Mindbender, and Daemon are shown with their personalities on display in this issue. Cobra Commander himself is shown for the first time at length, although he seems to be a man of few words. But perhaps the biggest long-reaching reveal is that Destro is working with Cobra. This is particularly interesting given the earlier deal we saw struck between Destro and the Joes. That also gives the idea of Bludd teaming up with the Joes another obstacle. We’ll just have to wait to see what transpires, but writer Paul Allor has shown with this issue that he intends to do a lot more with this series.

Niko Walter took over drawing duties for this issue. The quality of the art is good but didn’t reach a new level as the writing did. It opened with a nice full-page shot. A lot of the shots, particularly this opener, gave the feeling of static snapshots of action. The shot of Cobra Commander’s visor reflecting Baroness and Bludd arguing was nice. And, the shot of Alice yelling, “For Cobra!” with tears in her eyes stirred my emotions. The action scene in the secret Cobra lab had the most fluidity of all the segments. But some shots in this issue felt a little stiff and the emotions on faces sometimes seemed they could use work. I felt the same for some of the backgrounds, too. Although in Cobra HQ the backgrounds felt sparse for the right reasons, like the soullessness of the corporate atmosphere for this evil organization drove home their nature. Those scenes were helped with a great palette by colorist Brittany Peer; she gave it the feeling of an airplane instructional cartoon, which was perfect for the corporate hell vibe I expected. She also was able to find nice places to add shading, something she’s been doing great throughout this series, but it seemed harder with Walter’s thinner lines.

This was the issue needed for this series. It freshens it up with a new point of view and an added depth to the themes. A lot was introduced that could cause major ripples for the story. Now that we’ve seen into the lives of the Joes, Cobra, and the civilians caught in between the two, it’s time to see how all these elements can come together spectacularly.

Our Score:


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