Skip to main content

Another Duke #1 review

Yo Joe?

Uh… not yet. This is Duke # 1, a brand-new comic series published by Skybound Entertainment and starring the non-ninja frontman of G.I. Joe, Conrad Hauser AKA Duke! With Robert Kirkman’s Void Rivals having launched Skybound’s new Energon Universe, G.I. Joe is the second Hasbro property to take its place in this new world after Transformers. Rather than a typical G.I. Joe team book, they’ve opted to do solo Duke and Cobra Commander books to lead it off.

After making his debut in Transformers # 2, Duke’s all set to go on his own adventure. He witnessed Starscream transform and kill his comrade Tyler Frost in that issue, but now finds himself the victim of a cover-up as the US government flat-out denies the existence of transforming alien jets! What’s a Duke to do but go rogue and try and uncover a conspiracy that has coiled its way deep under the surface of America?

Yo… Larry Hama?

Nope, Larry Hama’s doing his own thing, so if you’re looking for more traditional Joe fare, go check out his ongoing G.I. Joe comic that continues the long-running original Marvel continuity. Your creative team for Duke # 1 is Joshua Williamson on script and Tom Reilly on pencils, with Jordie Bellaire and Rus Wooton handling colors and letters respectively.

I think the art by Tom Reilly is a particular standout here- I really dig it and he handles expressive action and heightened emotion really well. Jordie Bellaire’s colors work well with Reilly’s pencils and the whole package is just expertly-presented.

So Yo Duke.

Pretty much. Duke # 1 certainly lives up to its name, maintaining its tight focus on the title character. If Duke is your favorite G.I. Joe character, you can rest assured that he is the center of attention, but that doesn’t mean other Joe characters don’t show up. As Duke investigates the government cover-up of the Transformers’ existence, he runs afoul of a secret organization run by a classic Joe antagonist, and fights the organization’s chief enforcer, who will also be known to Joe fans. The cliffhanger centers around Colonel Hawk sending even more well-known characters after Duke.

I guess this can be considered a topic of minor criticism in the vein of those leveled against Thor: Ragnarok. How many trappings of a character can you strip away before that character is no longer recognizable? I mean, Duke’s whole identity is being one of the field leaders of G.I. Joe, and while this issue takes the time to establish that right off, it then spins him in a new direction that will likely inform the rest of this series. I’m not sure that I got right behind “conspiracy nut” Duke, and there’s another thing- we as the audience already KNOW he’s NOT crazy, there IS a cover-up, and Transformers exist. You can have a suspenseful thriller in that vein… but is Duke really the best character to star in it? I think the premise of this series itself is already on shaky ground.

All these squares make a circle.

I hate to sound down on this first issue- I think the art is really good, but the story wasn’t really for me. Maybe it highlights the inherent problem with placing Transformers and G.I. Joe in the same universe… the Transformers’ doings are usually so world-shaking that it’s impossible for them not to influence G.I. Joe. There’s another thing too; it’s kind of a stretch for me to claim that six months have gone by since the Transformers have landed on Earth and fought in front of large crowds of people, yet their existence is STILL somehow covered-up and not considered public knowledge. That’s what this issue does, and it’s a premise that has always been too unbelievable to me.

If you’re a massive G.I. Joe fan or Duke stan, maybe you’ll find something appealing here. If you’re a Transformers fan, well, there isn’t much here so far that looks essential to their corner of the “Energon Universe”. It’s still early days, so maybe it is worth giving Duke # 1 a shot, but it all depends on what you’re looking for in a G.I. Joe comic.

Buy it this week as a Christmas chaser, and don’t let THEM find out!!

Popular posts from this blog

A Touching Tribute To The Late, Great, Bottalk Bulletin Board + Renaud FAQ!

The smartest and the most handsome podcasters on the Internet: The Fanholes and a collection of exceptional guests say au revoir to the legendary Bottalk board. Click to download or listen to this remarkable recording. And don't forget to get out your boxes of tissues! Thanks, guys! Much appreciated! Renaud FAQ

Renaud Frequently Asked Questions

Is that Autobot Stratosphere in G.I. Joe: Special Missions (2013) #3?       Yes, it is. I was Paul Gulacy's toy reference guy for most of his run on Special Missions. You ran the CTLP?       Yes, the Complete Transformers Listing Page, it linked to every single Transformers website on the internet. I kept it updated and dead links free for years and years. A titanesque task. Who was The Myth on the CTLP?       The Myth was my nickname for the youngest Transformers webmaster in the world. Today, he must be in his early 30s. Time flies.  You started a petition for G1 reissues?       Yes, in the late 90s. My online petition was signed by hundreds and hundreds of Transformers fans who wanted Hasbro to rerelease Generation One toys from the 80s.  Is that you credited on the Inhumanoids: The Complete Series - 2 Disc Set?       Yes, I supplied all the scans for it. Over the years you've helped multiple major online retailers and publishers sell Transformers and G.I. Joe products?     

Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane The Original Marvel Years review

Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane the dour English Puritan Swashbuckler gets a complete collection of his classic Marvel adventures. Sadly no Dark Horse Comics Guy Davis monster creations inside at all. You get All the pin-ups, adverts, text pieces + All the Kane stories from The Sword of Solomon Kane limited series, Savage Sword of Conan, Conan Saga, Kull and the Barbarians, Marvel Premiere, Marvel Preview, Monsters Unleashed and Dracula Lives. My favourite stories are: A Marvel Team-Up featuring the ectomorph: Kane in his twilight years and the mesomorph: Conan the Barbarian in his prime (The Moon of Skulls II: Death's Dark Riders by Roy Thomas and Colin MacNeil). Kane versus a ghost that kills (Skulls in the Stars by Ralph Reese). Kane versus a Lovecraftian cloud of blood (The Footfalls Within by Don Glut, Will Meugniot and Steve Gan). Kane versus the bat-people (Wings in the Night by Don Glut and David Wenzel). Kane versus vampires/zombies/the walking dead men (The Hills of t