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GI Joe Cobra Special

By Josh Eggebeen (Antarctica)

IDW next Wednesday, Sept 30th, will be releasing a very special Special. The GI Joe Cobra Special, which is the origin of Tomax & Xamot, is a comic book that needs explaining to really appreciate its greatness completely. Writer Mike Costa has come up with a structure of telling the story of the Twins which is completely unique and if not read right could be very misunderstood. And Yo Joe is here to make sure every Joe Comic fan understands what they are reading and more important how to read this issue.

First off this comic shouldn't be read straight through like a regular comic. On my first reading, I did that and it just seemed ok and quite disjointed. And that is because reading it straight through like a normal comic isn't how the book is laid out. It needs to be read from front to middle and back to middle. And when read this way it is a really remarkable comic book.

IDW in their press release said the author's used Watchmen Issue #5 as its inspiration. See the IDW Press Release.

So here are some things to notice before diving into reading it. First check out the pages numbers, they explain a lot. Second, start at the first page and read to #11, then go to the last page of the story and start reading backwards until you get to the middle page #11, again. The middle of the book (two pages to the left of the middle staple) is basically the ending of the two versions of the Crimson Twins story. And at the end we get more information in one book about Tomax & Xamot then we got in 27 years of the old continuity.

Another major point of the book, design wise is the paneling. It is exactly symmetrical. Each story has the exact same panel design with the content of the panel telling each brothers point of view. So after you have read it, try comparing the stories by page and by panel (basically switching from story to story by flipping from the front to the back).

Hasbro, IDW, Mike Costa and artist Antonio Fuso really had to think out this issue as they were making it and because they have done such great creative job of telling the story, it really challenges the reader.

What is really amazing about this issue is that all of the above is quite hard to catch at first. There are two reasons for this American's read left to right and part of the story reads right to left. That basic difference causes a little adjustment and second comic books rarely challenge the page design format. By doing the symmetrical panel design the book totally repeats itself again again something the modern comic age fans are not used to when they read a comic book. Plus, the entire book is told in narration.

IDW has just given the Joe comic book fans the most inspired & complicated Joe comic since Larry Hama's #21 Silent Issue.



PS Below are the middle pages (the ending) as reference.

Yo Joe!