Written by: Larry Hama
Art by: S L Gallant
G.I. Joe A Real American Hero #231 opens with a literal bang as a mysterious girl steals a legendary sword known as Morning Light in broad day light from a museum in New York City. Meanwhile in Olliestan, Scarlett is being held prisoner by the Black Major and his Red Shadow soldiers and the clock is ticking on her survival. Can Scarlett escape from the evil grasp of the Black Major and his formidable force? Elsewhere, off Broca Beach near the Jersey Shore, Shipwreck and Torpedo are standing guard on the Whale, while Cutter and Deepsix are underwater investigating the Cobra facility. Shipwreck feels this could be a trap and if it is the Joes are outnumbered and in real trouble. At the Pit’s secret facility General Hawk learns that Duke, his wife Claire, Mainframe, and Roadblock all flew to Paris with a plane supplied by Joe Colton to track down a terrorist known as Faoud. Hama and team are weaving many interesting threads in G.I Joe #231.
Larry Hama does a great job writing this book. I really enjoyed the recap on the second page that updates the readers as to what already previously happened in the prior issues. He keeps most of the terminology easily accessible for the reader who may not understand all the military jargon. He keeps us on our toes throughout most of the book wondering what’s going to happen next. There is one part specifically that is a bit off with his writing: I don’t understand why he wrote it that Shipwreck and Torpedo stayed on the Whale while Deep-six and Cutter went down below in their respective SCUBA gear. Torpedo is a Navy SEAL whereas Cutter is the Whale Driver. It appears as you are leaving your two best divers behind during a diving mission. Unless Hama had a reason for this down the road, I think it was a slight oversight.
S L Gallant’s art is clean and looks like he took his time doing each panel, whereas some artists look as if they rush through their work and giving panels this blurry-graininess. The shadows on the majority of the objects on each page go in the all go in the same direction (which has become a pet peeve of mine) and the shading on peoples’ clothing is all done so as to give the correct creases in action sequences to look as natural as possible.
I think this was an excellent issue. I really enjoyed the recap so I didn’t have to guess or look up what had already happened in the past issue. I love the characters, especially Cutter, Torpedo, Shipwreck, and Deep-Six. I think Larry needs to add in some naval humor, but that may be hard to do and keep it all ages at the same time. I like the allure of this Black Major and his Rad Shadow who are new to me. The latter seems like a knockoff of the Crimson Guards. Maybe they washed out of the Crimson Guard Academy and this was their way of feeling validated. I really enjoyed not seeing Snake-Eyes or Storm Shadow. So if that is a spoiler, I apologize, but it gave the other Joes the spotlight which is never a bad thing.