Is IDW downplaying the American side of GI Joe?
After revolution comes reconstruction. In the wake of IDW’s explosive Revolution comic series, which brought all its famous Hasbro franchises (G.I. Joe, Transformers, Micronauts, ROM, Action Man, and M.A.S.K.) into one interconnected fictional universe, those characters now have to find their way in this new world. This week sees the launch of G.I. Joe #1, a new series featuring “The Crown Jewel of the Hasbro Universe,” written by Aubrey Sitterson and illustrated by Giannis Milonogiannis. Ahead of its release, Sitterson and Milonogiannis spoke with EW about their vision for the series, the Joes’ status quo in this new universe, and how this version delves a little more into science-fiction. [...]Honestly, since when didn't GI Joe dabble in sci-fi style writing ever since 1982? I remember there was a miniseries in the mid-80s where they co-starred with the Transformers. But here we see them making the silly mistake of restarting a series from number one for the gazallionth time, and it's not helping any more. Now, here's the part calling into question just what they intend to do about the team's Americanism:
What’s the status quo like in the wake of Revolution?I think this is silly. It's not un-American to protect the interests of civilized foreigners, and there were plenty of past stories where the Joes did stuff like that. I thought the whole idea was to present a special military unit whose jobs was to offer decent foreigners a source to admire, and they're running the gauntlet of making it sound like it doesn't work.
SITTERSON: One of the big changes to the book that we’re using to differentiate this series from others is that G.I. Joe has always been the “Real American Heroes,” and that doesn’t apply anymore. It’s not that they’re un-American, they’ve just expanded their mission. They’re no longer just protecting American interests, they’re protecting the entirety of the planet. In a world where you’ve got all these creatures and aliens, somebody needs to stand up for humanity, the earth, and everybody on it. Coming out of Revolution, that’s the mandate.
But hey, it gets worse:
Given that G.I. Joe can and has been seen as glorifying the military-industrial complex, how often do the potential political implications weigh on you while writing?It's sad, but Sitterson's just dropped a thinly veiled clue where this could be heading, if all that worries him is a beef with Donald Trump. In fact, what if some of the human members from other countries include Islamists? As though it weren't bad enough the movie from 2009 featured a character wearing a keffiyeh. If Sitterson intends to draw up a glorified picture of bad ideologies, then there's no point in complaining about GI Joe glorifying the military, a complaint which I suspect comes from SJWs who take the whole art form seriously. And unless Skywarp's depicted as reforming, I've got a sad feeling this'll turn out to be even more idiotic than expected. For now, I've taken a look at the samples of illustrations they've provided from inside the issues, and my, it's not often I see something so mediocre. The artwork may not be as awful as Rob Liefeld's monstrosities, but it's still pretty disappointing. With art that rough and slapdash, I don't see why this should appeal to anybody, even if the scripts weren't already suspect in political nature.
SITTERSON: Exceptionally frequently and exceptionally heavily. Especially given the current geopolitical climate, with the rise of multiple ethnonationalist movements, the troubling militarization of the police and our own president-elect threatening to start a new nuclear arms race. This was something that was very much on my mind, and there were a couple decisions made as a direct result of it. The first is moving G.I. Joe away from being strictly an American team. The Decepticon Skywarp is our first non-American team member, but there are already more in the works – human ones from real world countries. The other change is our choice to have the Joes use lasers. Not only is it a nice nod to the Sunbow cartoon series (which is where Giannis and I first fell in love with Joe), but it avoids the more ugly aspects of the concept. To me, there’s something grim about putting heavy-duty, real-world weaponry in the hands of these heroic characters. Our Joes prefer to solve problems without brutality, and they’re talented and well-trained enough to manage it. I actually think that G.I. Joe can do a lot more good in another way, by embracing what has always made the series great, going all the way back to the cartoon series, where people of all genders, races, and ethnicities willingly came together to accomplish a goal.