Written by Chuck Dixon and Mike Costa
Illustrated by Javier Saltares, Antonio Fuso, and Augustin Padilla
Covers by Tom Feister, Gabriel Dell’Otto, Antonio Fuso, and Javier Saltares
Less than two weeks after I declared my anticipation for IDW’s Cobra Civil War, the first salvo – a zero issue spanning all three GI Joe ongoings – has set the stage for the event in a serious way. The first chapter, by Dixon, takes us on an encounter in Springfield between a team of Joes and a single mysterious Cobra with a flair for the dramatic. The second chapter, with Costa at the wheel, is a look inside the now fractured Cobra. It lays out the details of the “Civil War” and identifies the players involved. Following from that, we hand the reins back over to Dixon for the final chapter, excerpts from Cobra Civil War: Snake Eyes #1 which came out two weeks ago.
Each segment of the book is beautifully illustrated, and each plays its part well enough. Costa’s character study of the major players within Cobra is definitely the strongest piece here, though a bit lacking in any real action. That it is then bookended by Dixon’s far more adrenaline-filled if somewhat-short-on-story installments makes the overall reading experience a thoroughly well-rounded one. Of course, I do have two concerns. First and foremost, the Snake Eyes segment is pulled straight from Cobra Civil War: Snake Eyes. Does this mean that when I read the GI Joe and Cobra issues of Cobra Civil War, I’m going to be re-reading the same material that I just got done with here? I hope not. Second… the name. I get that this is a throwback to the old Marvel Cobra civil war, but… this isn’t really much of a civil war. After reading Costa’s look inside the Cobra hierarchy, this is going to play out a bit more like the game of the Upstarts in the ’90s X-books than any kind of civil war. Or at least, that’s how things are starting out…
3.5 out of 5 bullet-shattered faceplates; it would’ve scored higher if not for the two week-old reprint material
Written by Mike Costa, Christos Gage, Chuck Dixon, and Larry Hama
Illustrated by Antonio Fuso and Rod Whigham
In case you’re sitting at home scratching your head and wondering WHY there’s a Cobra Civil War going on, however dubiously named, have no fear! The good folks at IDW Publishing have got you covered with the Cobra Commander tribute. This 100-page spectacular chronicles the fall of the head snake AND gives you a look into the LAST time the commander was killed, back in Marvel’s run. There’s almost no fresh content here, except for the insights of a few characters as they react to the death. If you missed any of this the first time, go ahead and pick it up here and get on board for the Cobra Civil War. If you’ve seen it all before? Trust me… this isn’t anything to worry about missing.
4 out of 5 accountants in falcon suits that don’t even allow them to fly; all good material, but almost entirely reprinted
Written by Mike Costa
Illustrated by Alex Milne
Covers by Marcelo Matere and Nick Roche
I’ve talked at length about Costa’s underlying theme of transformation throughout his year and a half run on this title; well, suffice it to say, he’s not switching gears just yet. This issue certainly isn’t the strongest thus far, but it does offer a particularly intriguing development that could alter the very course of the Autobot faction on Earth. Will Megatron’s gambit pay off? And even if it doesn’t, CAN he be stopped? Milne’s art brings life to the action and weight to the drama, helping to tell the story cleanly and without any sort of visual disruption.
One beef, though. Since the start of this book, we’ve been told that Bumblebee is the new Autobot leader. Why, then, have we seen him do so precious little leading. This has been Prime’s show the entire time, and even with Bumblebee in charge, it has still seemed like Optimus is the one calling the shots. Now, with the bug sidelined, Prime’s as in-command as ever. It just seems a bit disingenuous, though not too terribly detrimental to the story.
4.5 out of 5 Clerks the Animated Series throwbacks; I can’t WAIT to see how this unfolds
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Illustrated by Ulises Farinas
Covers by Ulises Farinas and Casey Coller
I didn’t cover the first issue of Heart of Darkness, because honestly, almost nothing happened. To recap, Galvatron’s back alongside Scourge and Cyclonus – seemingly independent of the Infestation crossover and its events – and the trio return to Gorlam Prime at the behest of the Heart of Darkness; the Dark Matrix living within Galvatron. Sure. Why not? At issue’s end, they’d found Jhiaxus and Arcee and Hardhead had engaged them. TO BE CONTINUED!
So, here we are with issue number two. Certainly, more has happened. The pool that served as a gateway to the Dead Universe is now a teleportational sphere and a hub to all realities. After some fighting back and forth, Galvatron enters the sphere. Here he sees Galvatrons and Megatrons from every universe imaginable, including his own mint-in-box action figure and the face of Leonard Nimoy. Wouldn’t they have been from the same reality? Anyways, like Prime entering the Matrix, Galvatron’s vision quest shows him the “face” of his true enemy – D-Void. This is potentially one of the worst plays on language EVER, considering it’s not only suppose to represent the word “devoid,” but is also used to sound as though the Swedish Chef is commanding you to “Feed de void!” Utterly awful. The issue ends with Galvatron vowing to unite both Autobots and Decepticons against D-Void and Arcee vowing that he must be stopped. Whatevs.
The art here is okay – far from the worst I’ve seen in a Transformers comic – but woefully inconsistent. There are also numerous panels where Farinas makes certain bots or cons look fat. It’s offputting.
2.5 out of 5 human-faces-I-couldn’t-identify; I kind of wish this HAD been a reprint