Written by Mike Costa
Art by Antonio Fuso and Arianna Florean
Lettering by Neil Uyetake
Published by IDW Publishing
Review by David Pepose
'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
Do you like The Walking Dead? Then you're going to looooove Cobra.
That's probably a weird thing to say, considering, you know, one series deals with the complete collapse of society due to an infestation of zombies, while the other one is a military comic with characters named "Steeler" and "Lady Jaye." Ignore all that for a second, I'm talking about sheer production values and execution. Even if you have no idea who the G.I. Joes are — guilty as charged — Cobra #7 is a comic that packs in plenty of character and lets it explode with action.
So maybe I should rephrase. It's like The Walking Dead… but a heck of a lot faster.
Writer Mike Costa really has a deliberateness to his pacing that I don't think I've seen elsewhere — it moves with slow ease, but at the same time, this book is still just 22 pages. Don't know that there's a war going on within Cobra? Uh, now you do. There's very little exposition required for this book, and if you don't know what a mole is, and what that means to a group like G.I. Joe, you've got bigger problems than not being able to follow this comic. Starting off with a character piece from a most unexpected place, Costa injects theme into what could otherwise be action figures fighting and shooting one another — although I'll be honest, he's pretty good at having those characters shoot one another, as well. The choreography he writes for the action sequence is vicious, at the razor's edge of desperation, and you wince with every punch, stab and shot.
That last part has a lot to do with artist Antonio Fuso, who (perhaps not surprisingly) reminds me a lot of The Walking Dead's Charlie Adlard. It's not nearly as clean as Adlard, but Fuso's got that kind of rockiness to his artwork, that same sort of love of shadows and choreography. Everything flows great, from shot to impact to reaction. And there's one moment where a character pulls out a collapsible baton — talk about badass. The advantage that Fuso has over Adlard is that he's got another dimension to work with: color. Arianna Florean does some great work here, particularly the panels that just explode with white. Those are the ones that make you know that you were in a fight.
I'll be honest, I started reading this comic on a whim, and I'm very glad I took the chance. To say that this is some rock-solid production values is underselling it — this is a comic that welcomes new readers, rewards them with a ground-floor entryway and caps it all off with one heck of a bloody cliffhanger. You don't have to know about the Joes, the Cobras, any of that backstory nonsense to appreciate this story. Which I think makes me appreciate it all the more.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!