Home > Devil's Due Publishing > G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (2001 Series) #31

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (2001 Series) #31

July 24, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Players and Pawns Part Four & Fantom

Duke’s insubordination catches up with him… and Destro wants to make a deal.

Writer: Brandon Jerwa
Pencils: Tim Seeley & Talent Caldwell
Backgrounds: Jason Millet
Inks: Cory Hamscher & Jason Gorder
Colors: Brett R. Smith & Christina Strain
Letters: Dreamer Design
Editor: Mark Powers
Cover Art: Mike Norton, Cory Hamscher & Val Staples (Cover A); Talent Caldwell, Jason Gorder, Peter Steigerwald & Christina Strain (Cover B)
Publisher: Devil’s Due Publishing

As “Players and Pawns” continues, things seem to be falling apart for everyone… Cobra Commander is left to deal with yet another departure from his ranks, Duke is on the hot seat for his recent reckless behavior, the Baroness’s loyalty remains questionable… arguably the character in the most comfortable position this issue is Destro, and he’s been captured!

Although there hasn’t been a shortage of action in this story arc (or in this issue, either), Jerwa has surprised me with the story. Instead of a big, shoot-em-up war story like most G.I. Joe epics, this has been a quieter story about political games, strategies and working for the greater good even if one’s orders dictate otherwise. It’s made for a different sort of story, and it’s one I’m mostly enjoying. I do worry that going down this route may alienate some readers who come in mostly for the gunfights and explosions, and I hope Jerwa has included enough of them to keep them satisfied.

This issue also includes a back-up story, “Fantom,” by Jerwa with art by recent Superman wunderkind Talent Caldwell. Two mysterious agents are trying to recruit a third, a man called Wraith, into a new faction in the endless war between G.I. Joe and Cobra. The idea is not entirely original – there have been other sides to their struggle for years, from the Oktober Guard to The Coil. This storyline promises to go more in-depth with that plot device, though, and the fact that we don’t know exactly who these new agents are working for makes it even better.

The art, with inks by Jason Gorder and color by Christina Strain, is gorgeous. We’re in a nightclub, with a purple and blue color scheme that sets the stage perfectly and looks authentic, but isn’t dark enough to ruin things. It’s a very different art style from the rest of the book, though, and a rather jarring transition. Since I initially skipped reading the blurb on the first page of the back-up, I was two pages into it before I realized it was a G.I. Joe story and not a preview for a new Devil’s Due property. It’s an interesting idea, though, and I’ll be anxious to see where it goes.

While this isn’t the best Jerwa has done since taking over the title, he puts forth some very interesting ideas and some pretty surprising plot developments in this issue. With just one chapter left in the storyline, I’m waiting to see how it turns out.

Rating: 7/10

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