The classic GI Joe series of the 1980’s is a pinnacle of licensed comics. It’s probably the best example to this day of a creative team taking a toy and elevating it beyond the concept and into something great. I know I started my lifelong comics obsession with GI Joe, and GI Joe: Sierra Muerte #1 does a lot to recapture those days.
This miniseries is a project entirely created by Michael Fiffe, the creator of indie hit Copra. While Copra has long been hailed as a Suicide Squad pastiche, it’s easy to see the GI Joe influence in the series, especially after reading the classic heroes under Fiffe’s pen.
The GI Joe team is in Sierra Muerte to try to capture the lost experiments of the long dead Doctor Venom, one of the first Cobra operatives they ever faced. Unfortunately, Cobra is searching for the same lab, leading to an intense confrontation. Unlike the classic cartoon though, things don’t go the Joes’ way, setting up the rest of the series.
Fiffe’s script is just fun. He tries to play with as many of the toys in the box as possible (pardon the pun), leading to appearances from virtually every fan-favorite Joe or Cobra. It’s also a capably written spy-fi/action story, with lots of moving pieces and exciting thrills. One downside though is that there’s SO MANY characters here that some don’t get more than a single moment, which is unfortunate given the richness to the characters here.
Fiffe’s art meanwhile is tailor-made for GI Joe. Though he has a strong indie influence, he’s able to tell an excellent action story, with emotive characters, and very fun layouts and colors and–very important for a GI Joe story– impressive tech and vehicles. Every character is on model, in character, and it all evokes the classic GI Joe that it’s meant to.
This might have been the miniseries of 2019 that I’ve most been looking forward to, and Fiffe didn’t disappoint.
GI Joe: Sierra Muerte#1 is available now from IDW Publishing.