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G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #304 review

Creators: Larry Hama (writer), Chris Mooneyham (artist), Francesco Segala (colourist), Sabrina Del Grosso (flatter), Pat Brosseau (letterer)

Story: Picking up from last issue, Serpentor, Dr. Mindbender and Alpha-001 are viewing the results of the assault on Snake-Eyes' cabin with both him and Scarlett presumed dead.  After a few minutes, back at the cabin now, Snake-Eyes and Scarlett get back up, hoping they gauged the time right so that they are assumed dead.  Lift-Ticket, Black Hat, Mainframe and Airtight arrive in a Tomahawk to take the blue ninja remains away and study them.  In Springfield, Dawn sneaks out of her house to spy on Cobra's operation, coming across some of Serpentor's modified Vipers. She follows them, told not to engage.  Back at the Pit, Spirit is told the same thing by Duke, to keep an eye on the Pit infiltrators (from last issue) but not to engage them.  Those modified Vipers explore the above-ground base, seeing made-up but abandoned barracks.  On Cobra Island, Serpentor and Alpha-001 plan out their future collaboration, setting up "assembly" lines to modify more of the mutated troops into cyborg mutant Vipers.  Dr. Mindbender then shows them the feed from Springfield where Cobra Commander is giving a rousing speech to his troops about how they are to engage Serpentor's troops (including using fake plans). On board the Tomahawk, the blue ninja reactivates and is barely able to be contained again, with Wild Bill helping out.  In Springfield, Serpentor's troops discover Dawn and engage with her but, seeing how she will win, they self-destruct.  Over in Scotland, Destro and the Baroness meet with Zartan.

Writing:  A lot is going on in this issue.  We have Serpentor's infiltration teams trying their best to get intel while Serpentor is making plans to upgrade more of his troops and turn more of the world's populace into mutants.  The Joe team is definitely taking a "sit back and observe" approach to everything and you can see Duke and Spirit have something planned.  We get a quick moment where it seems a member of the Joe team might actually die.  While I feel the plot is picking up with what Serpentor and Cobra Commander are doing, the Joe team is still in a "holding pattern" for about the third issue so far.     Then we get a new plot thread introduced with Destro, the Baroness and Zartan. This issue does have quite a bit of exposition, though, as plans and schemes are explained.

Art: Mooneyham's art continues to sell on this.  We get a few great scenes, like Snake-Eyes opening his trunk with his equipment there (and his mask right on top).  Cobra Commander on stage in front of his troops in a new costume/uniform that really reminds me of something a 1930's era fascist leader might wear.  I enjoy getting to see the various types of Cobra troops (Alley, Night, Tele-, Toxo- and regular Vipers just to name a few) too instead of just generic troops.  Colors are still on par for a gritty, military themed-series as well.  One down side is that when Dawn is spying, we just see some generic-looking armoured vehicles. 

Overall:  Plot threads are starting to move forward, mostly, in this issue, which is nice.  We do get a few frantic scenes of action, which was a nice way to break up a lot of the exposition that this issue has.  While no plot threads have been resolved yet, we do get a new one introduced on the last page so that is intriguing on how it will play out along with everything else going on (as, traditionally, in the comics, Zartan, Destro, Cobra Commander and Serpentor all have very volatile relationships and would turn on each other quite frequently).  I do wish that the Cobra vehicles were easier to identify as it's always nice to see what kind of vehicles are out there.  

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