Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Lost Boys: G.I. Combat #1 Review

Written by: Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and J.T. Krul
Art by: Ariel Olivetti and Dan Panosian
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 2, 2012

The Book that DC Forgot

This post is the first in what may be a continuing series where I go back and review New 52 comics that have been canceled.  They are also comics that I always wanted to get around to reading, but for one reason or another I never did.  The first is G.I. Combat by J.T. Krul, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti.  I have to admit, when this book was announced it was kind of a laughing point with Eric and Myself at work.  I would walk by and say "G.I. Combat?" and we would both giggle.  We're stupid like that.  Of course, this was way before we started reviewing comics.

When we started the site and divided up the books, I got two that I wasn't reading yet.  Batwing and All Star Western, both written by Palmiotti and Gray.  I fell in love with both (books, not the men) and looked to see what other books they wrote.  G.I. Combat?!?!  Well, I have read it and it is no longer a joke, but is it any good?

The book is split between two stories with the first being J.T. Krul and Ariel Olivetti's The War That Time Forgot. The original (yes, this is an update of a long running book) was mainly set in World War Two, but Krul modernizes it a bit by setting it in North Korea.  "Modernize" may be the wrong word because after a quick introduction of the two main characters, their helicopter squadron is attacked by...pterodactyls! Awesome.  I'll admit, I'm not a huge fan of war stories, but I go cuckoo for cocoa puffs for Lost World adventures.  As the survivors try to get their bearings, they stumble on a clearing that's GI Joe meets Land of the Lost.  There's more Pterodactyls, Stegasaurous, a couple T-Rex (one may even be Grumpy) and my favorite, a pair of Triceratops.  It is epic.

I really like what Krul gave readers here.  He makes the leads likable enough and then Bam! Dinosaurs. It's a pretty golden formula and he doesn't mess it up.  After the last page, I really want to see what happens next.

Ariel Olivetti's art is really good as well.  It is a little more realistic than I usually like, but that fits a war story book just fine.  Then, when things go wacko, he draws the hell out of the prehistoric creatures. The helicopter versus Pterodactyl combat is great, but the final two page spread is the highlight.

The next story is Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray's The Unknown Soldier.  While not as crazy as Krul's, it has it's moments.  The Unknown Soldier experienced loss at it's greatest level at the hands of terrorists and wants to do something about it.  After failing through the normal channels, he pays his way into the War on Terrorism. As these things usually do, everything goes wrong.  Wrong to the point that our hero looks dead to rights.  Wrong.  He hooks up with a new squad, kills a bunch of terrorists and get noticed by the U.S. Government.  It ends with our bandaged hero being recruited to wreak havoc anywhere he is needed.

Palmiotti and Gray give us a great setup for the continuing story.  I never read the original Unknown Soldier (again, this is an update) so I was glad to see his new origin here.  The two are so good at introducing a character and getting you up to speed immediately.  In this book they do it through unrelenting action, explosions and a whole bunch of bandages.  I am interested in seeing the continuing adventures of the Unknown Soldier, but I hope it's more than just hunting Taliban.

Dan Panosian's art is really good.  It's gritty and pencil heavy and it fits the story so well.  It has a frantic look to it that helps portray the awesome action.

Well, as we all know, this comic ended after issue #8.  I can't say how the rest of the series went, but this issue was really good.  I love the concept of The War That Time Forgot, being a sucker for that sort of thing. However, my love of Palmiotti and Gray is justified again because despite it not being my bag, I really enjoyed the introduction of the Unknown Soldier.  I will read the remaining issues when I get the chance because I was impressed.  G.I. Combat is off my list of work place jokes.

Bits and Pieces:

G.I. Combat #1 is a war stories book that is so much more.  We get action, mystery and dinosaurs.  How can you complain about that?



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