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Cobra Commander #1 review

Creators: Joshua Williamson (Writer), Andrea Milana (Artist), Annalisa Leoni (Colorist), Rus Wooton (Letterer)

Plot: At a snow-cover truck stop, Cobra Commander walks in, demands a vehicle and follows a man out, kills him and takes his ride. In a flashback, we are presented with Cobra-La and its citizens are storming a science hall because the scientists are dealing with non-organic research. One scientist tells the others to retreat, but is killed by (the yet unnamed) Cobra Commander who tells the others to fight back. However, one of his fellow scientists fails to throw a grenade and it explodes, injuring the Commander. He is healed but is scarred and is retrieved by Pythona, who tells him to wear a mask. They meet with Golobulus, the leader of Cobra-La, who hints at Cobra Commander's origins while explaining Cobra-La's views and how Cobra Commander brought "blasphemous" technology into the city and accusing Cobra Commander of leaking what they were doing to the masses (though he denies it). Golobulus orders him killed but Cobra Commander is able to fight back with technology, telling Golobulus he can bring glory and control of the world to Cobra-La if he continues his research and is able to head to the surface world. Before he leaves, Cobra Commander meets with his source of technology and knowledge of what lies beyond Earth...a Transformer, who still "functions", unbeknownst to the Commander. Back in the present, Cobra Commander watches the sunrise as his driver insists, they get going, heading to Florida, home of the Dreadnoks.

Writing: Well, call me hooked. Williamson is doing something pretty bold here in incorporating Cobra-La into the shared Energon universe. Cobra-La originated in the G.I. Joe: The Movie in 1987, revealing that Cobra Commander was from there and was some sort of snake-man. It wasn't too well received by the fandom and has mostly been pushed to the side. This is the first comic series to focus on it and have it (all previous comic series as Cobra and Cobra Commander as straight humans). We also get some good mystery going on. Is Cobra Commander a human who made it down to Cobra-La? A resident who had left and come back? Or something else entirely? We also add the Transformers into the mix as well, with Cobra Commander studying a deactivated Megatron. I did enjoy that classic elements of Cobra are coming into the series quickly, as it seems the Dreadnoks are going to be in the next issue.

Art: I am, really impressed by Milana's art and Leoni's colors. They really make Cobra-La seem like a living place, with small details here and there. They're not afraid to show some violence either. Then there are a bunch of Easter eggs and nods throughout the series, including Cobra Commander's 1991 action figure look. We get a quick flashback to Transformers fighting and we see some Omega Sentinels and pyramid jets. And when we finally get to see Megatron, he looks good. He's been partly taken apart and is hooked up to machines. Very cool.

Overall: While Cobra-La isn't everyone's favorite from G.I. Joe: The Movie, Williamson is trying to do something different that we haven't seen in G.I. Joe comics before. He's added enough intrigue and mystery to make me want to come back and read the next issue. I give credit for him for taking a risk and, right now, I'm digging it. Arts and colors are looking good too, with a lot of nods to other things in it as well.

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