Future Tense: Cobra Civil War

We love to wax nostalgic at PoP!, but sometimes it’s what’s yet to come that most quickens our nerd pulses. For better or for worse, let’s see what makes us Future Tense

There’s an obvious advantage to acquiring and reinvigorating an established and well-loved property, whether we’re talking TV, movies, video games, or comic books. There’s an existing fan base and a certain amount of “cred” with “n00bs” that you’ll never have with a brand new idea. BUT… beware the pitfalls, for that same built-in audience that loves what went before will be waiting attentively to revel in this new iteration of their favorite whatnot, and the slightest misstep can lead to a crippling backlash of negative word of mouth. You’ll be buried alive.

This is a problem that IDW clearly doesn’t have when it comes to their retro (GOD I’m old) relaunches of such classics as Ghostbusters, Transformers, Star Trek, and GI Joe. The reverence they have for what was, coupled with their appetite to create something new, strikes an oft perfect balance that really gives these old favorites new legs where others have failed to deliver.

Case in point: the original Cobra civil war from the old Marvel run involved the clone of history’s greatest conquerors fighting a facially reconstructed auto mechanic while a golden masked arms dealer waited on the sidelines to pick apart the carrion. It was still, somehow, a great read… it was just a bit silly. And irrelevant, as it all ended with the thought-dead-but-really-just-unconscious-in-a-grave one true Cobra Commander returning to run his organization (into the ground).

Hell, even Cobra Commander was a silly concept. Initially, he was the quintessential anonymous villain bent on world domination. Then we got into his many origins, from ex-patriot used car salesman to expatriated snake man, and the mystery was stripped away.

IDW’s got a different idea, though. For the past year, Cobra Commander has been the mysterious figure guiding Cobra’s actions, until being unceremoniously shot dead by Chuckles. Fucking Chuckles. More on that in a bit. Now, a veritable plethora of characters – whose histories, personalities, and motivations we have some inkling of – will each vie for dominance over a terrorist cabal the true extent of which we’re not even wholly familiar with yet. Some of these guys are pretty damned obscure, too, bringing a bit of mystery back into the struggle. For my money, I don’t truly believe Cobra Commander’s dead this time out, either, and I suspect we may get yet another homage to the way we were when the head snake rises from the ashes and seizes control once more.

Still, however this all plays out, Andy Schmidt and the Joe team at IDW have set themselves up for one hell of a story. I’m eagerly anticipating this whole “event” as it ties their various books together, and I look forward to the new insights we’ll gain on all of the major players as the story unfolds.

Cobra Civil War: Snake Eyes is in shops now, and is the official start of the event, but if you haven’t read any of IDW’s Joe-iverse, now’s the perfect time to go back and get caught up. The death of Cobra Commander can be found in the pages of GI Joe: Cobra, and the hopefuls to the right have their stories told across the many titles IDW has to offer. What are you waiting for! GO GO GO!!!

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Jason Kerouac is a co-founder of Panelsonpages.com. He spends roughly half of his waking life in servitude to the Giraffe. Raised in a town in New Hampshire you've never heard of, he now lives in Indianapolis, IN and is pretty sure that's a step in the right direction.

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