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They Came From The '80's: August
reviews by Mish'al Samman

Sure, he doesn't know who Neil Gaiman is, but believe you me, Mish'al Samman can identify a Decepticon from a mile away while the rest of us mere mortals will point stupidly and say "boom box" in a really nasal voice.

Then Mish'al will just laugh to himself as The Baroness poses seductively.

Actually, he'll laugh to himself anyway. He does that a lot.

G.I.JOE vs. Transformers #2:
Part two of the excitement has arrived, and though there is little action here, it doesn't really let you down. We are now building characters for the upcoming issues that will have a lot of explaining to do and some epic battling to be done.

This issue focuses on the creation of the G.I.Joe team post Cobra introduction in #1. Bad-ass Snake Eyes gets a bunch of pages telling his story, and showing off his kick butt talents. Just as well because, let's face it, he is the coolest Joe on the block, but it also ties in with what we know of him in the "real" Joe universe.

Throwing a wrench in the story line though is the out of the blue appearance of Bumble Bee and Wheeljack. This short intro was the only bump in this issue, as though it provides a bit of humor, it reiterates a lot of what everyone else is saying. The only point to it is that it is nice to see some Autobots in regular old-fashion appearance, but now why are they not controlled by Cobra?

What really packs the punch here is the overall dialog between characters, the personality and conflicts between Megatron and Cobra Commander, and that the majority of your favorite characters have a cameo or spot in the story. What is the deal with Prime, though? As Mindbender otherwise puts it, the robots with red symbols are a pain in his keister.

G.I.Joe #19:
As Baroness and Flint managed to escape their imprisonment, the rescue team has managed to get themselves caught, and now the two have to go back and rescue the rescue team.

If that wasn't a mouthful then the cover should be, but don't let it fool you one bit...it pays off with one of the best chuckles I have had in ages. Getting to this point was a fun ride, and it is finally paying off with some impressive wrap up story telling.

While G.I.Joe, Cobra, and M.A.R.S. team up to find their missing comrades and loved ones, the classic "I hate having to work with you scum" scheme is having the nice touch of grey the Joes have to explore to get the mission accomplished.

Although admittedly, I disliked the fact that Snake Eyes will take time out in the middle of a firefight to kiss Scarlet, there are a lot of those sincere moments, and this issue has the love aura.

A sad scene was to say goodbye to Gorky, the Oktober Guardsman who made the wrong decisions as his environment went from bad to worse, and Diana who will be making her next career move.

As this story endsm it is far from over. Writer Josh Blaylock is revving things up as the final page sets up the eagerly awaited Issue #21 (THE SILENT ISSUE) where Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow are supposed to meet again. Alas, we have to see where things are going in issue #20 first.


G.I.Joe Frontline #8:
"Icebound" concludes the adventure. Within the iced over facility, super freaky military boys run around like intelligent abominable snowmen. The biological facility's front door has been blocked off and it seems quite bleak for the team to find its way out alive with these monsters running loose. Oh, and the beasts have a Joe comlink to boot.

Finding a survivor amidst all these monsters in the sub zero climate is a pretty far stretch, but one can call the mission a success if they find a survivor and they are kept alive.

Duke has a recollection of his last time here and the trauma of having being the last man out alive sparks a bright idea so that everyone can survive this spooky mission. This brings a welcome little bit of personality to Duke, since he sometimes seems to be too much of a cold character.

What drags and doesn't work well is the Scooby Doo chase they play in order to get out. Not only did it spoil the tempo and the flow of this story, but it brought too much coincidence and goofiness into the book.

As much as I was relieved with the way they dealt with the Lifeline's scratch, the final dialog wrapped so many things up so quickly and out of the blue, that it reminded me of the G.I.Joe movie ending (where Duke was supposed to die).

Someone must have changed their mind right before publication.


Star Wars Republic #56:
We last left off with the explosion of an ATAT and Obi-Wan presumably dead for the battle of Jabiim. (No, really, we believe that...)

A handful of Jedi Knights and a whole lot of paduwans are now taking charge of the battles, and many souls are dying on the field. The story is running at a much faster pace than the previous issue, and sometimes is really hard to catch up.

Although the art is fantastic, the character distinction here is lacking. You'll have to pay close attention to the details to figure out who is who on the page, the major downfall to having almost all your characters in brown robes. There are so many good ideas in this book, but it lacks somewhat in the delivery.

As much as one may feel confused by who is doing what, the down and gritty portrait of war is probably what brings on this trait. The first two pages alone would send the shivers down your spine when a Jedi loses his head while trying to stay alive among the dead in the battlefield. We learn a little about the characters here, and how Anakin may be starting to freak out the other paduwans.


Mish'al Samman

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