(Book received for free from IDW Publishing for review.)
I had very little information about this book going into it, but I loved the GI Joe cartoon and comic books when I was a teen, so I jumped at the chance to review this. I should have guessed, but didn't: This was a graphic novel. I've not read a graphic novel since high school, and truth be told, nowadays I look down on them.
Turns out I was 100% wrong to do so. The story was as mature as I could have wanted, and wonderfully dark. Oh so dark. I loved it so much. (The art was great, too. I'd like to post a sample here, but every page was watermarked with a big DO NOT REPRODUCE, so I better not. It was traditional-style art, not anime, and nicely realistic.)
The book was made up of three stories. Though this was volume 2, it worked fine as a stand-alone book.
No knowledge of GI Joe was needed to enjoy it, but I did have fun trying to fit the tales into the canon world I knew.
Story 1: Mainframe (computer geek) was the main character. Wounded in battle, he had months to pour through computer information and look for connections. He found shadows and rumors, hints towards some criminal organization out there.
Story 2: The main character was someone I didn't recall from GI Joe of the 80s. Either I had forgotten him or he was a new character. Chuckles. He was "fired" from GI Joe so he could go undercover and worm his way into this new criminal organization. Through him, we see the early founding of Cobra.
Story 3: Story two told from Tomax and Xamot's point of view.
Stories two and three were my favorite by far. Story one wasn't bad at all, but two and three were so dark -- they were a perfect match to my tastes.
This book was good enough that I'm considering buying volume 1 and any that come after. The retail price is $49.99, and Amazon has this volume for $32.69. I have no idea how graphic novel prices run, but while the cost seems high to me, I would have happily paid it for this book.
One note: I'm not sure if it's just my copy or if it's the nature of graphic novels, but the end of mine seems cut off; story three stops in what seems not really an ending point.