Another sad reminder to me that the G.I. Joe movie has been delayed until 2013. Roots of Retaliation is a compilation of stories by Larry Hama with art by Steve Leialoha, Marshall Rogers, Frank Springer, Mike Vosburg and colorist Jonboy Meyers. Made up of five different issues, this trade paperback is supposed to consist of the stories that inspired the movie. From what I do know about the movie, I can’t say I see any similarities between the two other than the Joes themselves. But what I do find here is a wonderful trip down memory lane.
In Roots of Retaliation you will find several stories, only one of which could stand alone and that is the wordless #21 “Silent Interlude” which is touted as “The most unusual G.I. Joe story ever.” In Interlude, we find Scarlet held captive by Destro. However, she is a crafty woman and with the help of a hairpin she makes her escape to finally be rescued by Snake Eyes. Fans of the comic know there is a connection (as much as an 80′s cartoon geared mainly toward young boys could allow) between Snake Eyes and Scarlet and their interaction is always fun to watch. Plus, I love seeing a very gleeful looking Scarlet get herself out of high risk situations. It is also a refreshing change to see an entire story play out in pictures and that means there is a lot of action. The compilation is worth it for this story alone.
Also appearing in Retaliation are issue #22 “Like Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust” which are Duke and Roadblock’s first appearances, issue #32 “The Mountain” where we first meet Lady Jaye, issue #37 “Twin Brothers” which is Lady Jaye and Flint’s first meeting, and issue #86 “Not Fade Away” where we are introduced to Joe Colton.
For my taste, there is not enough Lady Jaye in these stories and she doesn’t get to see much action considering she is a main character in the upcoming movie. What I did find in spades, however, is humor, some philosophizing, lots of corny dialogue, and a woman in a bear suit. All in fabulous 80s colors.
If you are a fan of the G.I. Joe franchise, this is a must have to add to your collection. If you are just a fan looking forward to the movie, I would probably steer you toward the GI Joe Renegades animated series which is more obviously an inspiration to the upcoming movie’s storyline.