G.I. JOE YEARBOOK #1, Marvel Comics, March 1985
This may beg the question "what the hell is that doing in your collection, Siskoid?" and the answer is "it's something I inherited from my kid brother". See, all he ever bought were comics related to the toy lines he collected. And since he really didn't care about comics, all his Transformers and G.I. Joes wound up in one of my boxes. So it's fair game, isn't it?
G.I. Joe Yearbook
Full title: That's the full title.
Strengths: Lots of death and mayhem.
Weaknesses: Like, maybe two pages of original material?
If you were a fan of G.I. Joe and absolutely had to have everything Joe-esque, then the Yearbook must've been a real rip-off. It reprints G.I. Joe #1, then gives you a recap of the next year's worth of issues using selected panels as well as a recap of the cartoon mini-series we all know and love, and finally offers some short character file dossiers that I'm pretty sure were on the back of the action figures. If you still have Cutter in the original packaging, check it out for me, will you?*
*This is extremely doubtful, since no one I know ever felt the need to buy the Cutter action figure.
So what you're left with is a two-page spread of the G.I. Joe secret bunker (if indeed, this spread never appeared before). . That makes it 82¢ a page, and if that's not military spending in action, I don't know what is. If you're NOT a major fan of G.I. Joe, then it's all new to you! (But you're not a fan, so would you really care?)
The layman knows G.I. Joe as 1) an action figure that does the dirty with Barbie when your sister's not looking; and 2) that cartoon with all the military specialists and WWF wrestlers that shoot their guns directly at the ground and never hit a goddamn Cobra goon. And given the training shown in this issue, it's not wonder they can't hit the broad side of a barn:
I mean, how close does a Joe have to be to hit his mark? But good news! The comics are not like the cartoon. There is an excessive amount of killing in this issue. No one with a name ever bites it, but goons? Yes. A whole fishing village, every man, woman and child? Yes. Some of it pretty harsh, like when Zap bazookas a couple of Cobra guys firing at his tank:
Those two guys weren't just killed. They were pulverized. The plot deals with the rescue of a scientist who has been trashing the military. Several Joes actually think about putting a bullet through her traitorous head and call it a day(!), but in the end they manage it, though Cobra Commander escapes with nothing more than a broken wrist (read into this what you will). The scientist learns a good lesson too: the military is actually a force for good. Go Military Complex Agenda!
Then there's the huge recap, which is interesting in its own right. It's got an "Eskimo mercenary", a love hexagon between all the Cobra folks, and Cobra holing up in Springfield. That first year of G.I. Joe might actually make an interesting (i.e. kitsch) read. When you go in with no expectations, you tend to enjoy it more than you should. I'm not deluding myself though...
A note on the copyright listing for this comic: I find it a hoot that Hasbro thinks it can defend a copyright for the name "Flash". Or for that matter, Copperhead, Deep Six, Hawk and Firefly. Seems like they didn't just steal their super-terrorist's name from DC Comics (Kobra is awfully close too, don't you think?).