Sunday, December 19, 2010

G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds

Title: G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds

ISBN: 9781600107764
Price: $24.99
Publisher/Year: IDW, 2010
Artist: Howard Chaykin, Antonio Fuso
Writer: Max Brooks
Collects: G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds #1-5

Rating: 4/5

From the mind of the author of World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide, we now have G.I. Joe: Hearts and Minds. When I first hear of this title, two thoughts came to mind: “Wow! Max Brooks is writing for G.I. Joe! I must have this.” –and– “Whoa! What kind of title is ‘Hearts and Minds’? This doesn’t sound like something Brooks would write.” Well… I read it, and it was good!

The title alone doesn’t really inspire a real G.I. Joe vibe, but then again, Max Brooks is not your typical G.I. Joe writer. With his previous work, you may think he’d throw in a zombie or two. Not the case. This trade dives into the thoughts of 5 different G.I. Joes and Cobra’s and gives you a glimpse of the types of people who work for each organization.

When I saw the line-up of characters Brooks was writing for, I thought that there were some better choices that could have been made. Perhaps a few more “popular” characters like Snake Eyes, Destro, Zartan or Storm Shadow. As I read through this trade, I realized that he had made the correct choices to start this new sub-genre of comic book writing. Besides, this title was not meant to help promote a cartoon series or line of action figures like the original G.I. Joe comic was.

Our cast of character include: Major Bludd, Spirit, Firefly, Tripwire, Deep Six, Interrogator, Dr. Mindbender, Doc, Recruits, and Blowtorch. Interrogator and Recruits would have been my choices to originally omit at the opening, but when I read their stories I was convinced they needed to stay. Of all the different tales, my favorite has to be Firefly’s. Once you read it and step back a little, it’s really kind of funny. I hope you see what I mean. My only clue to you is that this tale is a good example of social engineering at work.

There are moments in each story where the character starts to daydream, in a sense. This gives an insight into what goes on through their minds. To my knowledge, this has never before been done in the action hero style genre that we have with G.I. Joe. Sure, we’ve learned character’s backstory in the process of reading an issue or few, but nothing like this. If I am wrong, I am happy to read whatever previous incarnations there may have existed prior to this trade. I would like to see how they stack-up against the bar that I have put after reading this trade.

Being a fan of the current vision of G.I. Joe, I am used to Chaykin and Fuso’s work. This is also why I collect the variant or retailer incentive covers of all the G.I. Joe titles. They have different styles, but they work to help the story along.

No matter if you’re a fan of the writings of Max Brooks or a G.I. Joe fan from year’s past/present; I feel you will enjoy this trade. Hopefully as much as I did.

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