Written by Brandon Jerwa
Art by Stefano Caselli & Sunder Raj
Published by Devil’s Due
My Verdict: New fans of the series will probably want it; long time fans, run far, far away.
The premise: The G.I. Joe team has been disbanded in the wake of Cobra’s defeat; their task is done; they can go home and get some well-deserved rest. Snake-Eyes and Scarlet are engaged to be married, and the wedding day countdown clock is ticking away. During all this, Snake-Eyes, the new Silent Master of the Arashikage ninja clan, in conjunction with all the idiotic pseudo-ninja characters introduced in the death throes of the original Marvel G.I. Joe series, is teaching their final student the ways of the ninja just before disbanding the clan and calling a halt to all operations. Just before the wedding, the new student goes on her ‘final test,’ which turns out to be much more final than anyone was expecting. Snake-Eyes, who (apparently) miraculously has never lost a friend, student, teacher, or acquaintance to death in all his long years in the military, is torn apart by his student’s death, and retreats back into his shell, jilting Scarlet at the altar and going back to his log cabin in the Sierra Madres to be alone with his misery. But along comes a new student to the clan, son of a former Crimson Guardsman, a treat for long-time fans of the series, and Snake-Eyes is dragged back into the fray, kicking and scream, er, just kicking. He was never much on talking.
[ad#rightpost]The Writing: This book needs help. Lord, this book needs help. The last student of the Arashikage ninja clan is a red-headed, gum-smacking valley girl? Give me a break! This is ridiculous. First of all, get rid of all those freak wannabe ninja guys (T’Bjang?!) in the yellow and purple spandex (that’s good for sneaking around!)–the Arashikage ninja clan is Snake-Eyes and Stormshadow; they’re all that’s left. Since when are these colorful circus freaks members of the clan? Bad mistake number 1. Then there’s the choice of students–I reiterate–a gum-smacking valley girl? ‘Like, I totally, like, want to learn how to do way cool ninja stuff, ya know?’ God, that was irritating. Personally, I was glad to see her take a dirt nap. All in all, I would have preferred just to see how they brought Kamakura into the story without all the idiocy and nonsense.
The Art: The art on this book is… different. It’s stylistically dissimilar to the other books, using a less polished, more sketchy look (a la the current incarnation of Street Fighter). All in all, the artwork is pretty good. There are times when he forgets to draw faces on people if they are supposed to be off in the distance, which is a bit disconcerting, especially if they’re the ones with the dialogue, but, other than that, layout and composition are generally good, and the figures themselves tend to be well-shaped. I wonder how it might have turned out if he’d had a decent story to work with.
To Sum Up: Avoid this book unless you’re new to the series and have no childhood, nostalgic, sentimental attachment to these books and the characters in them. If you are a long time fan, don’t say I didn’t warn you!