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Duke #3 review

Creators: Joshua Williamson (Writer), Tom Reilly (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colourist)

Story: At M.A.R.S. (Military Armament Research Syndicate) headquarters, employees are moving locations because Destro assumed Duke would have been killed and not just imprisoned (and implying he had Dr. Adele Burkhart killed as well) and is worried about the device that can track her technology back to him so Destro hires Major Bludd to take Duke out.  At the Pit, Rock 'N Roll and Stalker give their impressions of Duke and can tell something else it up with him.  Down in the prison, the Baroness tries to make a deal with Duke but isn't getting a response from him and Clutch tells her to stop.  Duke surprises her when he reveals he knows who she is with a bit of her background (wealthy European socialite who joined Eastern European secret services and eventually became a terrorist). Duke also tells her he hasn't given up and speaking to Colonel Hawk will help clear his name.  Outside, Stalker sees in the incoming prison transport but notices the soldiers are dead and helicopters are inbound.  He tries to warn Rock 'N Roll before the Major and his "Blood Hounds" attack.  Down below, Duke and company can hear gunfire and realize they are under attack.  Rock 'N Roll returns to let them out but leaves the Baroness before an explosion stops them. Duke is able to get a gun and take down some of Bludd's troops and frees the Baroness.  Clutch tries to help Rock 'N Roll with Duke but the Major enters and he and Duke have a battle (revealing both that he did kill Burkhart on Destro's orders, Duke has a bounty on his head and that Bludd has a metal/prosthetic arm).  The Baroness is able to save Duke at the last minute only to mention she might want to cash in on the bounty. 

Writing: Wow, this issue packs a lot of action into it.  Williamson really keeps the plot moving pretty fast.  It was also nice see another big G.I. Joe character get introduced in Major Bludd. However, the overall plot is starting to move a little slow.  We only get a minor reference to Duke seeing Starscream and he's still no closer to clearing his name than he was at the end of last issue.  It is nice to get confirmation that Destro did have Burkhart killed and Duke framed for it though it seems odd he would put a bounty out for him as it could tie him back to Burkhart's death.  However, Williamson is able to end on a cliffhanger and tells us that this is a new Joe universe and old characters aren't always safe.

Art: Reilly is still doing a good job on his art.  It was nice to see Major Bludd using the classic Cobra Transport Helicopters from the original Marvel G.I. Joe run.  I always liked the designs of those copters (and wish we could have gotten a toy of them at some point).  The biggest downside to this issue is the colouring.  A lot of reds and darker background colours are used throughout the issue, which really detracts from everything else. The first couple of pages are red/orange, then black/blue (for the prison) and then red/orange again for Bludd's attack. It just washes out any other colours and I feel it just takes away from the art and colouring. 

Overall:  While this individual issue moved at a pretty quick pace, gave us a new character and filled us in on the Baroness, I feel the overall plot of the series is just spinning in place in this issue.  However, ending on a big cliffhanger will draw us into the next issue to see what happens!  The art is fine but the splashing of those reds and dark colours in most pages as background colours really takes away from the rest of the art and colours.  However, I do enjoy the callbacks to the classic Marvel series with some of the art. 

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