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Tuesday, October 15, 2019 

IGN's fluff-coated review of Paul Allor's GI Joe relaunch premiere

Here's a recent IGN review of the premiere issue for Paul Allor's reboot of the GI Joe series, replacing the continuity Chuck Dixon's run may have gone by, and it sure sounds like a predictable leftist metaphor for the Trump era:
Following its reboot of the Transformers franchise earlier this year, IDW is now hitting the reset button on G.I. Joe. The old continuity that began in the 2008 Chuck Dixon series is gone, as is the shared Hasbro universe that once connected the Joes to other properties like Transformers, Rom and MASK. For a franchise that's been trapped in a perpetual identity crisis for years, this fresh start is just what the Dr. Mindbender ordered.
But what if the politics Allor employs aren't? It's regrettable they threw out Dixon's visions, if you ask me, for the sake of this new one where Cobra's in charge of the government.
The first time around, IDW made the mistake of trying to find a happy medium between the classic G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comics and a more grounded tale of military espionage. That combination never fully clicked. And particularly once IDW revived Real American Hero and let writer Larry Hama continue where he left off in 1994, the core G.I. Joe books never felt all that essential. IDW's one real accomplishment in its rebooted Joe-verse was the graphic novel Cobra: The Last Laugh, which is quite possibly the finest G.I. Joe story in any medium.
As expected, no mention of the PR disaster Aubrey Sitterson caused with his insult to people devastated by 9-11, nor any questions whether his heavy-handed politics had a negative impact on anything outside the Hama material. If it hadn't been for all Sitterson's idiocies, they might've at least offered something serviceable, but he just had to open his big mouth, and it finally cost him the gig. So in the end, what "core" books are there now, apart from Hama's? IDW made a whole mess out of everything.
Cobra offers a clear case study of how to revive the Joe franchise and reinvent it for a new audience. The most important lesson being this - don't be afraid to break the toys or subvert expectations. With G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero still trucking along, fans have their outlet for classic. The rebooted G.I. Joe needs to take more risks and veer farther from the beaten path. And that's exactly what writer Paul Allor and artist Chris Evenhuis seem willing and able to do. Rather than lead off with a traditional tale of rival paramilitary organizations, the new series introduces a drastically different landscape where Cobra is in the process of conquering the US and the Joes are a ragtag band of resistance fighters.
But breaking toys is exactly what Sitterson did, and look how it turned out. Doing it as described in the following is little or no improvement:
The new direction feels fresh and engaging in a way not all Joe projects have in recent years. There are just enough of the classic trappings at play to justify the G.I. Joe name, but the tone is almost completely different. We've rarely seen the Joes this badly outmatched. And in its own way, the series manages to feel extremely timely. Allor and Evenhuis seem intent on using the new status quo as a critique of a complacent American public who keep going about their daily lives no matter how many existential threats come knocking. There's a surreal quality to the way the protagonists fight a desperate battle for survival while bystanders barely acknowledge the chaos in their midst.
The reviewer clearly doesn't have the guts to acknowledge this appears to be a metaphor for the Trump administration era. And funny how the same leftists who may insist on "realism" abandon it when they want to make a statement against right-wingers, if rank-and-file citizens act oblivious to what goes on around them here.

I'm sure it's possible to write up a story where the Joes find the odds stacked against them, and it takes time to overcome all the obstacles to achieve victory against Cobra. But the metaphor Allor and company chose to employ here is something that would be better avoided at this point, after all the anti-conservative propaganda of the past few years ultimately backfired and didn't garner the best of sales for the industry. If Hama's doing better so far with his title based on the original continuity, I'd say it's best to stick with that and pass on Allor's offering.

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