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Cobra Commander #2 review

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

Story: Ripper and Buzzer are torturing a couple of men for information about their gun-running meet-up and after they get the information they want; they take off in the Thunder Machine.  Elsewhere in the Florida Everglades, Cobra Commander and his protector sneak away from a gator boat ride further into the Everglades, looking for the energon source.  We also see Cobra Commander is resentful of having a guard as he feels Cobra-La still doesn't trust him (with a bit of backstory on his guard and hints as to Cobra Commander's origins).  A police officer tries to stop them but is killed and, in the scuffle, Cobra Commander sneaks off and finds the cabin of Ripper and Buzzer and discovers evidence of energon being experimented on.  The two Dreadnoks return and have a shoot-out with Cobra Commander in which the Thunder Machine is blown up.  Cobra Commander gets away and Zartan's sister Zarana arrives telling the two they have to get to a meeting.  Deeper within the Everglades, Cobra Commander falls into the water filled with alligators.

Writing: While the plot doesn't move forward too much, we do get a good introduction to Ripper and Buzzer and what they are like.  This can also lead us to anticipate what the rest of the Dreadnoks might be like.  We also now get that Cobra Commander has some big ambitions for himself and Cobra-La and resents the fact that someone was sent with him.  We also get answered why another human is tagging along with Cobra Commander (as we get a brief hint of what happened).  And this issue leaves off on more of a cliffhanger that the last.  

Art: Wow, the art really cranked it up in terms of brutality.  We are instantly greeted with a torture scene that gets brutal along with the implication of what is going to happen as a person is dragged behind a car!  When Cobra Commander's guard attacks the officer, it is very brutal and graphic.  I would rank the art up there in the "R" rating because it's brutal.  This is, however, a two-edged sword as you might lose some younger readers And the colours during those scenes, lots of dark reds.  Milana also does a great job with Ripper and Buzzer's faces; you really get a sense that these are two individuals that you shouldn't mess with AND take great pleasure in what they do.  We also get to see the Thunder Machine, so that's aways cool (along with a nice double-page splash of it)! 

Overall: A strong second issue to the series that, while doesn't move the plot forward too much, lays down more of what is to come.  I do worry about how graphic this issue is, both in terms of art and content (as the Dreadnoks are torturing a couple individuals).  While it's obvious it's meant for a more mature audience, you do potentially lose some younger readers.  While we still don't know who exactly Cobra Commander's guard is, there are a few hints and hopefully we'll see if those pan out!

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