Lovin’ the Sloppy Snowjobs!

Hello, I’m George, and I’m a fan of the GI Joe film. In fact, I saw it for my birthday last year, and It remains one of the best cinema trips I’ve ever had. Good lord I was so pumped up and over-excited after seeing that film, I could have played a banjo with my nutsack. And luckily for me, IDW publishing had just bought the licencing for the GI Joe characters and had started a whole new series of comics! The GI Joe comics have been going since I believe the 80’s when the cartoon and toy series was at its peak, and its licence has been passed from many different publishers over the years, after starting with Marvel. But IDW are behind the recent relaunch (I say recent, but its been going for about 18 months). The GI Joe Origins series has recently been releasing a number of done-in-one issues, introducing various heros and villains by different writer and artist teams. Its been a top way for me, as a new reader to the world of GI Joe to work out what the hell is going on, and who the devil is who. So then, Issue 15: SnowJob!

I was looking at this cover on the train on the way home from work, and something was niggling at the back of my mind for a long time. This swaggering ginger haired wally looked very familiar. And it wasnt untill I got home that I realised I already had a comic about his chilly willy. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce the 8th March 1986 edition of Battle Action Force!



Yes indeed, apparently GI Joe has been masquerading as Action Force in Britain since it was originally released. My brother had bought a box of Battle Action Force comics many years ago at our Granny’s village fete, and this box had been kept at Granny’s bungalow for us to read when we came to stay with her. Low and behold, I have had a comic published before I was born sitting on my shelf for years, and featuring on the cover the very same skiing sniper whose jolly red beard and tennis-racket shoes (I’m absolutely positive those snow shoe things don’t actually exist in real life, because I’ve never seen anyone actually wear them outside of a cartoon) are now staring at me out of a lovely new issue. But is the damned comic any good?

Luckily, there’s snow news like good news! Hah! I had to sneak that in there. It’s a fucking awesome issue. Since there is very little cause for adventure while being stuck in the antarctic, the issue kicks off with Snowjob (the codename for this particular GI Joe operative, who apparently is jolly good at dressing warmly and most likely wrestling with polar bears) being recalled to America from the south pole, to under-go a target shooting proficiency test at headquarters. On his way back to base, he is instructed to stop off in South America to protect the President of Venezuela, who has become the target for assassination. Bloody typical. So anyway, Snowjob is suddenly thrown out of his depth into operations in one of the hottest regions on the planet, with only his snow gear for company. Que plenty of A-Team style modifications of polar gear and ski wax in a jolly showdown between the terrorists and the Arctic warrior! Its 22 pages of romping action as Mr Job has to muddle his way through international politics, hot weather and gun fights, all in the capable hands of Merrill Hagan (writer, never heard of him) and Klaus Scherwinski (artists, who is an utter whizz with a pencil and paper, but I think this is his first bit of published comicbookery).

The art has a fantastic detailed, but blocky style, lots of angular edges and sharp corners, so Snowy has a nice square-shouldered, hard as nails profile, and the city looks all hot and sweaty and grimy, all helped along by the rich muggy colour palette. I also realised that as the action hots up, the comic panels change from straight forward squares and rectangles, to being these sort of twisted, jaggy holes punched in the page, slanting around and pushing over the top of each other in a mad rush to tell the story, and it is fantastic. Never once confusing whats going on, and always capturing the dynamic movement of the scene. We even get a nice little bonus page featuring some original pencil sketches by Scherwinski, showcasing his production of a page from pencils to inks to colours.

The GI Joe series has been a really nice fun little addition to my comic box each month, and it has only really been in the last few weeks that it has turned from being a series I will look at when I have the time, to being the comic that goes to the top of my pile to read on my way home from work. I’m sure they can all rest easy at IDW publishers knowing that their snowjob issue is a hell of a lot more entertaining than the Battle Action Force anyway.

Published in: on June 22, 2010 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

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