I don’t always credit alternate cover artists, but when said cover is my favorite part of the book, I have to draw attention to it.
Don’t misunderstand me, this book’s not bad, but damnit… Feister’s cover (left) is gorgeous, and far more eye popping than what we’re getting from Mutti’s interiors. This isn’t to say those are bad, per se. Just much more low-key.
As for the story… Hama really hasn’t been wowing me with Origins, which is unfortunate. I love his original run on the Joes, and the first few issues of Origins – introducing Snake Eyes and Chimera – were EXTREMELY engaging. But from that point on, the book’s been losing steam for me. The current arc has shown us the Joes questioning their CO Hawk, and basically getting into a groove with each other. Of course, this issue climaxes with two pages of Hawk kicking ass and mopping floors (no really) and now the Joes love him. It’s like the story of Rudolph, if Rudolph had originally been mistaken for good-for-nothing brass but proved himself by shooting a terrorist in the head and cleaning up the blood splattered about after the fact. How apropos of the season.
The very premise of this issue is ridiculous: the Joes are forced to confront the enemy quietly – no guns, no explosives – all so as not to alarm anyone within earshot of the embassy. That makes sense at face value, until you remember the bad guys all have guns and explosives and don’t care who hears them. Mostly, this is just an excuse for Snake Eyes to cut loose with his katana and Scarlett to throw some bladed weapons around like it’s the days of Ninja Force.
On top of all of this, there’s Heavy Duty. Hama’s done nothing yet to distinguish him from Roadblock except by not making him act expressly like Roadblock. Let me explain. Imagine you’re watching Driving Miss Daisy, and instead of Morgan Freeman, you’ve got Mr. T. Now, I’m not busting on Mr. T’s acting chops. Maybe he can play the role exceptionally well. But the point is, simply not saying “I pity the fool” isn’t enough to make you forget the fact that he’s Mr. Effing T. You’re going to need something to make you see him as anything but. Similarly, when you have a large African American heavy weapons expert on the Joe team, you need to ACTIVELY establish his character to make people not think of him as Roadblock. It’s not enough for him simply to not cook and rhyme. Have him talk about a daughter. Give him a snake fetish. Have him always be juggling. I don’t care what, just do SOMETHING.
Road Duty aside, the action in this issue’s pretty good, the dialog’s not terrible, and there’s the unmistakable Hama-ian presence of true militaristic tones as the unit deals with the restriction being placed on their op. Not every writer would include Stalker’s balking at the use of unknown sidearms, and the inclusion of it here shows that whatever flaws Hama’s writing may have, he’s in the heads of these soldiers, and that counts for a lot.
GI Joe Origins #10 gets 3.5 out of 5 presidential decoys