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Cobra Commander #4 review

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

Story: As Nemesis Enforcer fights the Dreadnoks, Cobra Commander drags Ripper to a locked underground chamber and has him open it.  As he explores, he discovers a scientist that the Dreadnoks kidnapped and have been holding in the chamber to study the Energon.  Meanwhile, Zarana, Zandar and Buzzer are trying to figure out how to get away from the fight as we see they are all that's left.  They force Buzzer to be a distraction and as Nemesis Enforcer flies off with him, Zandar grabs some Energon in a bottle from the cabin.  Zandar throws the bottle at Nemesis Enforcer and shots it, blowing it up and buying Torch, Buzzer, Zarana and himself time to get away.  Nemesis Enforcer then decides to check on Cobra Commander.  Back at the lab, the scientist tells Cobra Commander not only has he been using the Energon to make things, he's been finding ways to stretch out the supply, which intrigues Cobra Commander.  The scientist shows him how, powering some little bug robots with them.  This makes the Commander happy and the scientist not, as he realizes he's just going to be the captive of someone else now.  Cobra Commander emerges from the lab and talks with Nemesis Enforcer and they get into a fight as Nemesis Enforcer informs him that with the scientist now, they don't need him and his "ways" that would corrupt Cobra-La.  During the battle, Cobra Commander makes the bug-bots turn into a claw-hand for him and he powers it with Energon and blasts Nemesis Enforcer with it.  He then catches up with Ripper and demands to know who their buyer is and Ripper tells him that it is Destro.

Writing:  This was definitely a fast-paced issue. We have a couple different fights going on, a bit of exposition that explains the Dreadnoks's plans and goals, and a great ending that leads us directly to the next issue.  I feel like Williamson is really able to balance this issue really well, without it being too heavy on just exposition, giving us some good action, and moving the story forward.  It is also nice to see that, while Nemesis Enforcer and Golobulus (according to the Enforcer) don't really trust Cobra Commander and want him gone, Cobra Commander is still maintaining loyalty to Cobra-La.  One interesting piece is how Zarana says they can't leave their family behind (i.e. all the probably dead no-name Dreadnoks) but a moment later she's happily zipping away with the other three (which includes leaving Ripper behind as well).  I also feel like this series is giving Zandar a bit more of a spotlight (as other media in the past have focused more on Zarana). 

Art: Milana and Leoni do a great job with the art and colours in this issue.  We really get to see Nemesis Enforcer dish out the damage to everyone.  When we first get back to the Dreadnoks we see about ten or so bodies just lying around, blood everywhere, from his attacks.  When he grabs Buzzer, you can see just how he's breaking his wrist.  Or when Nemesis Enforcer is ripping Cobra Commander's mask off and slamming him into the ground.  Just some delightfully done fight scenes.  Then there are some nice Easter-Eggs as well; When the scientists show Cobra Commander how to make/dilute the Energon, it turns into a cube.  Or the final page showing Destro overlooking vehicles, we see a lot of classic Cobra vehicles on the page.  Or even the scientist, who looks a lot like the old, crazy scientist from an episode of the original G.I. Joe series. 

Overall:  A very strong issue with a good amount of action while also moving the plot forward.  It's also starting to tie into the other series, Duke, by bringing in Destro and the M.A.R.S. Corporation.  I feel that Williamson has definitely taken the idea of Cobra-La and the origins of Cobra Commander and is using it very well in laying the foundation for the G.I. Joe series that will be upcoming while also paying a lot of tribute to the past and who these characters are and where they came from.  The art matches the feel of the story very well too. 

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