Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chronic Review: Infestation GI Joe # 1!

Infestation: GI Joe # 1
Script:     Mike Raicht
Pencils:   Giovanni Timpano
22 pages for $3.99 (although probably more for the incentive cover pictured)

I did something really stupid and ordered this book without ordering the opening Infestation chapter by Abnett & Lanning.  I'm not sure why anybody would order the one without ordering the other, because the first chapter contains vital, need to know information about what actually constitutes the infestation, which seems, in the grand scheme of things, fairly important.

There's an opening paragraph that explains that there's a zombie hive mind that infected a vampire named Britt, who decided to share this infection with as many worlds as possible.  Somehow this infection is spread both magically and technologically.  Having read both the GI Joe and Ghostbusters Infestation books, I can tell you that this infestation acts entirely different between the two.  Like, no apparent way they could be the same thing.  Does any of this make sense?  Probably not.

Here's what I do know - The Baroness and a team of Eels are interested in a tiny sailboat carrying three Joes and absolutely no technology.  Their thinking is that if the Joes were to secretly transport something big, they'd protect it with a well-armed ostentatious convoy.  But if they wanted to skulk around with something really important...they'd transport it without a whisper or a footprint.  So whatever is in this sailboat must be of paramount importance.
Things do not go well for this guy.  Trust me.

Turns out that the Joes are in fact carrying a global level threat on that sailboat - a severed arm infected with Britt's bug.  If it gets any where near tech, it takes it over, determines its attack capabilities, and then opens up on everything with extreme prejudice.  So if this arm gets hold of something like say...a Cobra or GI Joe database?  That could be a problem.

So the threat in play is suitably large, which creates tension, and that's all well and good.  You could say it's "half the battle" if you were an asshole.  And I am.  The juice is always in the characters, though, and the good news is that Mike Raicht made sure that to pepper the bigger picture with delicious little character bits.

My safety word will be-- ahh, screw it, I don't need a safety word
Baroness is an iron-plated stone cold psycho bitch, and I think I love her.  Some women overcompensate because they're trying to swim in a "man's" world.  They're simply protecting a gooey center in a harsh environment to survive.  That works.  Baroness is a dangerous, heartless witch in this comic.  That's just infinitely more satisfying.  I want her to punish me.

She's got two worthy opponents in the comic: Psych Out and that severed arm.  You wouldn't think a removed limb could really cause that much trouble.  Well this lonely appendage just needs a wheelchair-bound scientist, some faulty robots, and a pack of pissed off experimental lab animals to tip the whole planet on edge.  This is a lump of flesh going places, my friend.

I'm not convinced that this story works particularly well as a seamless crossover entry.  But as a stand alone story with some drama and punch?  It does kick a healthy sum of ass.  But I'm kind of a sucker for this kind of trope, mind you.  I love it when a small band of misanthropes are in way over their head and somehow need to not only survive, but find a way to neutralize the threat so that the whole world isn't flushed.  If you're like me and you dig stuff like Carpenters Thing, or Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight - this is perfect.

- Ryan

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