I’m in the minority here and I make no apologies for it, but I absolutely loved the first ‘G.I. Joe’ movie and I’m uber-excited for this summer’s ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Bruce Willis.

That said, I thought this issue, set between the events of the two films, was a good read. A lot of movie tie-ins and prequels are terrible but IDW and writer John Barber give fans of the G.I. Joe movies exactly what they want with this kind of thing. There’s drama, explosions, an intro to some of the new characters, and of course… lots and lots of ninjas.

The story follows Roadblock (played in the film by Johnson) as the Joes are delivering food and supplies to rebels in Borovia. In the middle of their mission, they are attacked by several dozen red ninjas under the supervision of Storm Shadow and Zartan. The Joes lose several members in the skirmish, including Mainframe. Mainframe is one of Roadblock’s oldest friends. So, when the Joes are recalled, Roadblock pulls a “no man left behind” argument and goes after the Joe command when they refuse to let him go back after his friend.

If the style of writing is any indication of where the movie franchise is going, I’m all for it. Despite my love of the first G.I. Joe film, I like that this issue steered more into the military aspects and away from some of the sci-fi. It also gave fans a chance to see some lesser-known Joes like Charbroil and Mainframe (neither of who are listed on the movie’s IMDb page so I assume they won’t make it through this series).

The art from Salvador Navarro was passable but I wish he’d just drawn a comic and stopped trying to make the characters look so much like their film counteparts. It is distracting and looks like he penciled over photographs in some parts. I get it. The Rock is Roadblock and Arnold Vosloo is Zartan, but when the art takes away from the story, I’d say pitch the movie stuffs.

Either way, if you’re a fan of the G.I. Joe films or are excited to see ‘Retaliation’, you could do worse than picking this one up. If, like many, you didn’t care for the films, of course this book isn’t going to change your mind.

Verdict: Borrow

Written by JOHN BARBER