Friday, November 17, 2017


Written by Tim Seeley | Pencils by Joe Ng, James Raiz, & Alex Milne
Inks by Rob Ross, M3th, & Alan Tam | Letters by Brian Crowley
Colors by Kevin Yan, Rob Ruffalo, & Tom Liu | Edits by Mike Sullivan

The Plot: At Area 52, a U.S. government research center in the New Mexico desert, scientists work on both deactivated Decepticons and a new robotic lifeform called Serpent O.R. Meanwhile, several levels above, at G.I. Joe headquarters, Perceptor, Bumblebee, Grimlock, and Arcee arrive to assist with deactivation of all Cybertronian technology still on Earth.

Cobra attacks the facility and Cobra Commander activates Serpent O.R., but but it quickly turns on him. Naming itself the son of Megatron, Serpent O.R. downloads the history of Cybertron from Megatron's deactivated head and then declares he will find the Autobot Matrix of Leadership.

Continuity Notes: The human scientists are working on the heads of Megatron and Soundwave, still offline since the first G.I. JOE VS. THE TRANSFORMERS miniseries. Among the scientists is one Doctor Chase, actually Zartan's sister, Zarana, in disguise.

The Autobots are disabling all Cybretronian technology on Earth under orders from Optimus Prime, to ensure the planet remains free of further Transformer influence. This includes the mechs provided to the Joes by the Autobots when they left Earth in volume 1 (and which were briefly seen at the start of volume 2).

G1 References: Among the memories he pulls from Megatron, Serpent O.R. sees Quintessons, Alpha Trion, Optimus Primal, Unicron, and the Matrix. The flashback confirms that this continuity follows the cartoon series' idea that the Quintessons created the Transformers.

G.I. References: Firewall, an original character from the ongoing Devil's Due JOE series, makes an appearance here working for Mainframe.

As in the original G.I. Joe continuity, Serpent O.R. (Serpentor) is programmed with the combined knowledge of history's greatest conquerors. Unlike the original continuity, he's a robot rather than a synthetic human, and he possesses a download of Megatron's memory banks as well. Oh, and he's created by the U.S. government rather than Cobra.

My Thoughts: Okay, first off, this issue looks drop dead gorgeous, which isn't surprising -- Joe Ng, James Raiz, and Alex Milne had all drawn for Dreamwave's various Transformers series a few years earlier, while the credited series colorists all worked for Dreamwave and/or UDON over the years (of particularly appreciable note is the fact that Perceptor has dropped the G1 Marvel Comics color scheme he sported in the prior volume in exchange for a spot-on set of Sunbow colors).

The result of all this is a series that looks like it could've been published by Dreamwave rather than Devil's Due, which is a massive plus in my book as far as the Transformers are concerned (and the issue's depictions of the Joes are pretty great too, presenting most of them -- for the first time in this continuity -- in looks very similar, if not identical, to their eighties-era character designs).

Seeley's scripting is fine so far too, though there are a few mild four-letter words tossed in throughout the action that just don't work for me. Cobra Commander saying "damn," for example, yanks me straight out of the story because A) I can't hear Chris Latta's voice saying it and B) Cobra Commander, whether in animation or comics, has always been far more creative with his epithets. He could think of something way more interesting to say than a mundane curse word.

Otherwise, we're off to a nice start with this one, but I've said that about both of the prior volumes as well, and they had some rough patches partway through. Hopefully I won't say the same about THE ART OF WAR in an issue or two.

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