The GeeksverseG.I. Joe Renaming: A Joe By Any Other Name…

G.I. Joe Renaming: A Joe By Any Other Name…
Published on Saturday, January 19, 2013 by

The IDW version of G.I. Joe has taken the military team in new directions in the past several years. The book was more covert until after the Cobra Civil War when the new commander changed the way the war was waged. Now, the books are being renamed and starting again at issue #1.  Like the previous renumberings of these books, the story seems to be running consistently. Fans are divided.

Sure, the story is good. The books intertwine neatly following sets of characters. The creators of these comics are all top shelf. IDW has done a nice job.

The criticism surrounds the renumbering. The #1s start again with new story arcs and shifting creative teams. Following the series on the comic book shelves is great, but trying to track down issues in back issue bins is cumbersome with repeating numbers and various multiple covers. At least this renumbering—not rebooting—changes names to make it easier to find missed issues.

Only time will tell how fans respond to the new Joe numbering and naming sells to fans. Will the rumbling and grumbling of fans become lower sells or will the fan gripe fall away when the story heats up?

While we wait to see what happens in the Joe verse, Mike Costa was interviewed by USA Today. Costa has been writing Joe books at IDW since the beginning of the franchise licensing. Costa will be handling the newly named GI Joe Cobra Files.. This book is more than the spiritual successor to the popular Cobra  comic. Cobra Files will feature the same cast line up and again focus on the covert missions.

Costa will be penning the Cobra Files cover book with Antonio Fuso on art. the familiar line up will be debuting the new title April 24th.

And Costa carries over the aspect that has made Cobra one of the more popular G.I. Joe comics in recent memory:

“The stakes being much more emotional than physical, though there are physical stakes, and always dealing with the moral question of what it is they’re doing,” the writer says. “If you can be a good guy doing bad things and still stay a good guy, that’s really the whole theme of the book.”

“They’re not a rock ‘n’ roll team like the main book or even the Special Missions book. The only real warriors on the team are Flint, Lady Jaye and Ronin. Chameleon really isn’t a field agent and she’s the star,” says Costa, who adds that not only is the first issue of The Cobra Files a great jumping-on point for new readers but it’s arguably the best G.I. Joe issue he’s written.

“It’s basically what I had always wanted the book to be: smart, fun, dark action.”

Costa also spoke about Cobra’s newest Joe character, Chameleon, that will be continuing on in the newly renamed series:

“She [Chameleon] sort of switched sides to survive, and came to find out that working for G.I. Joe was only slightly better,” Costa explains. “She’s trying to navigate that moral landscape and really create a moral identity for herself and figure out if it’s too late for her to maybe do some good and whether or not that’s who she’s going to be.”

Also not helping matters is that she’s not a trained soldier, yet she’s continuously put in life-or-death situations and not handling it well.

“That’s something I don’t know if we’ve really seen explored very often in books like this, the real trauma of violence on someone who is just not prepared for it,” the writer says. “Chameleon’s a really interesting character because she’s so broken, basically.”

Chameleon is an interesting take on a “Mercer” character. Mercer was a fan favorite Cobra that became a Joe under the tutelage of Sgt. Slaughter. Mercer may have been one of the best characters and strongest story points from the G.I. Joe Animated movie. In the closing incarnation of this title and expected in the next name for the is book Chameleon should continue to be explored. She is rounding out slowly but surely as a character.

Costa hinted that another classic Cobra character will be joining the book and providing trouble for the covert Joe team. Besides saying it won’t be Raptor…who will it be?

The Cobra Files No. 1 will introduce somebody new from the classic Cobra roster, and the first arc, which starts with issue 2, brings in a whole group of characters readers haven’t seen yet.

Dixon’s Joe book will continue to explore the Dreadnoks that are working with a dismissed Zartan.  The GI Joe book by Fred Van Lente takes on a more public persona, GI Joe Special Missions. Fred van Lente and Steve Kurt  usher in a new, more public era for G.I. Joein a new volume of the series. “Outed,” WikiLeaks style, by Cobra to the press rather than deny it until they’re blue in the face, the Pentagon takes the exact opposite tack: They make the Joes 100% public, relocate to New York City — to the formerly abandoned army base on Governors Island in the middle of the harbor, in fact — begin to carry along embedded journalists (well, bloggers), the whole nine yards.

So, all in all, classic characters are joining the new numbering and title names. This could be a successful renumbering for IDW even if it does make the books harder to collect in the short term.

Fans will find out in April.

April 2013 Solicitations

This April we’ll see…

  • GI JOE #3
    (W) Fred Van Lente (A) Steve Kurth (CA) Steve Kurth, Juan DoeCHOOSE YOUR PATH! You become DUKE, leader of the G.I. JOE team, as he begins his journey to become a Real American Hero! You make the life or death decisions! Or-is Duke just being tortured horrifically at the hands of the Baroness, and this is way of dealing with it-a never-ending branching series of “Might Have Beens?” Or… is it both?
    (W) Chuck Dixon (A) Paul Gulacy (CA) Sean Chen, Paul GulacyCRUSH DEPTH continues! Scarlett and her Special Missions team rush to the heart of a perfect storm to retrieve a prize of forty billion (with a B!) of COBRA funds lying in the ocean deep. The only trouble is that the Baroness is already on the scene with a cutthroat crew of her own to reclaim the booty for COBRA!
    (W) Mike Costa (A) Antonio Fuso (CA) Antonio Fuso, Michael Lark
    G.I. Joe: Cobra Files #1
    A SNAKE IN THEIR MIDST! Her name is CHAMELEON-and she used to be a COBRA agent. Now she’s made her way into the G.I. JOE team-the honest way. But even with the best of intentions, does she have what it takes to fight on the side of the angels? FLINT thinks she does, and he’s willing to gamble the lives of this teammates on her… Unfortunately, with the Crimson Twin called TOMAX pulling the strings, no bet is a sure thing.
    (W) Larry Hama (A/CA) SL GalantG.I. JOE takes to the high seas to stop the BLACK MAJOR from eliminating the hostages aboard an oil survey ship. Can SCARLETT, STALKER, TORPEDO, GUNG-HO and BEACH HEAD storm the ship and get the hostages to safety? G.I. JOE is in for choppy waters in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #189!


Besides the beginning of the new titles, fans will also have the opportunity to pick up some great stories in trades. From Transformers to Oktober Guard it is a good time to be a Joe fan.


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