Friday, December 29, 2017


Written by Tim Seeley | Art by Andrew Wildman | Letters by Brian Crowley
Colors by Wes Ozioba & Art Lyon | Edits by Mike Sullivan

The Plot: In Tibet, Firewall is captured by a yeti while she and Cosmos explore. Meanwile, G.I. Joe prepares to head for Tibet to help their friends. Meanwhile again, Colton leads Hawk, Flint, and Optimus Prime through the tunnels beneath Cobra-La, but they're ambushed once more by Bludgeon and his Royal Guards. Prime defeats Bludgeon, who chooses death over dishonor, while Colton takes out the guards. Elsewhere, under orders from Golobulus, Pythona awakens Nemesis Enforcer to deal with the group.

Unicron makes his final approach to Earth, while Doctor Mindbender informs Firewall she will be sacrificed upon his arrival. Colton leads Flint and Hawk to a cavern containing Cobra-La's metal-eating spores and the yetis that guard them. Cosmos arrives to help the humans fight off the yetis, and reveals Firewall is missing. Colton interrogates one of the creatures as to her whereabouts. Outside, G.I. Joe arrives in Tibet to be greeted by the Monster Pretenders in their combined form of Monstructor. Back in Cobra-La, Flint boards Cosmos with the spores to go after Unicron, who transforms into robot mode as they approach.

Golobulus holds a ceremony for the citizens of Cobra-La, but Optimus Prime, Hawk, and Colton crash it and attack. Flint and Cosmos enter Unicron, while on Earth, Unicron's appearance disrupts natural weather patterns. In Cobra-La, Colton duels Nemesis Enforcer, Optimus Prime fights the Royal Guards, and Hawk battles Golobulus. On the surface, the Joes defeat Monstructor, while underground, Pythona reveals an unforeseen fondness for Colton by killing Nemesis Enforcer. Inside Unicron, Cosmos is shot down by his "antibodies" and Flint moves out with the spores. In Cobra-La, Hawk frees Firewall, Optimus Prime defeats Golobulus, and G.I. Joe arrives as Colton takes out Mindbender.

Flint uses the spores to destroy Unicron's brain, then he and Cosmos retreat to Earth. With the day saved, everyone returns to the Pit to rest and recover.

Continuity Notes: General Flagg has a brief meeting with Duke and Lady Jaye, then pops up later at the Pit -- his first appearance since the original mini-series.

It's revealed that Colton has left his cell many times during his captivity to chart Cobra-La and gather intelligence on its denizens. As he leads his allies through the tunnels, he informs them that Bludgeon arrived on Earth with the Monster Pretenders at some point in the past, but they were shot down by the Chinese and made a deal with Cobra-La to save their lives. Later, Golobulus implies that Bludgeon was "reprogrammed" to serve him following this incident.

In a really cool idea, Nemesis Enforcer sleeps in a translucent red cocoon and is awakened when someone drops their own blood into it, binding him to them as an obedient follower for the duration of his time awake.

Prowl, Sideswipe and Skids, whose fate was left ambiguous in issue 1 (and who were described here by the Monster Pretenders as having been "aced") are all seen in the end alive and undergoing repairs, with Prime noting they should all make full recoveries.

G1 References: Unicron's "antibodies" are personified as the Battle Beasts, a toyline which has crossed over with the Tranformers a handful of times over the years.

G.I. References: The yeti was an enemy of G.I. Joe Colton and his Adventure Team in the seventies. Colton later demonstrates his famous "Kung Fu Grip" (for some reason depicted as an uppercut punch) on one of the yetis.

Body Count: A G.I. Joe pilot is killed when his helicopter is burned by Monstructor. I'm not up on all the more obscure Joe vehicles, but considering Andrew Wildman appears to have used reference for all the other vehicles on the same page, it's possible the chopper's pilot is meant to be whichever Joe character came packaged with the vehicle in question -- if it is indeed an actual vehicle. Confusing, huh?

Also, Nemesis Enforcer and Bludgeon are killed as noted above, and Monstructor's head explodes, so it seems likely he's dead too.

My Thoughts: Well, they did it: Tim Seeley and Andrew Wildman stuck the landing. This has the distinction of being the only one of Devil's Due's G.I. JOE VS. THE TRANSFORMERS miniseries that I didn't feel lost some momentum during a middle chapter. Of course it's only two issues long, so it has that going for it, but both issues are double-sized and it seems kind of obvious it was meant to be four installments but was condensed into two. Right in the middle of each issue is a cliffhanger followed by a big splash page for what would've been the start of the next chapter.

First thing's first -- I don't know what happened, but Wildman upped his game for this half of the story. Most of the complaints I had last time are gone. The figures look more natural and the robots are a bit better proportioned to their character models. Even the backgrounds don't seem as bad as in the first part, though I wonder if the colors had something to do with helping Wildman's art there. But in any case, whatever he did to correct his previous shortcoming is appreciated. This issue looks way more professional than the first.

Seeley's story holds up too, though I feel like Flint and Cosmos have a bit too easy of a time defeating Unicron, especially when you consider that in most iterations of the Transformers' saga, it's the Matrix which is his ultimate weakness and which does him in, and that Hawk, who was touched by the Matrix -- which was a major setup in issue one -- is right there in Tibet, too. I feel like a stronger ending would have seen Hawk, rather than Flint, volunteer to go with Cosmos, followed by the spores getting destroyed or proving ineffective, ultimately leading to Hawk using the power of the Matrix within him to destroy Unicron (and possibly perishing in a moment of heroic sacrifice, since this continuity isn't shy about killing off an occasional beloved character). There was really no reason for Hawk to stay on Earth and Flint to go with Cosmos; their roles could have easily been reversed.

I also take issue with Seeley presenting Duke as star-struck by Colton to the point that he actually tells the renowned adventurer that he feels like he should ask for an autograph. Duke isn't some rookie; he's a seasoned military veteran. Behavior like that would've been better suited to one of the younger Joes instead. That said, however, as noted last time, I do appreciate that this miniseries gives Duke a larger spotlight than any of the prior ones.

In the end, Devil's Due's Joe/Transformers continuity is a lot of fun, with every miniseries getting progressively more outrageous. From killer satellites to time travel to the "son of Megatron" to Cobra-La and Unicron, this was a world that threw everything, plus the kitchen sink, at the wall to see what would stick. It's really a shame these stories ended when Devil's Due's JOE license lapsed; I would've loved to have seen IDW get Seeley, who it seems had become the de facto regular writer, continue the saga.

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