Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Literature Review: G.I. JOE vs COBRA: Ice Force

G.I. JOE vs COBRA: Ice Force is the kind of book that gives a bad name to media tie-ins. Even for a Children's book it was bland through and through, with no driving force behind any of the narrative. Details and description were sparse, and none of the characters were distinctive. Not being a member of G.I. JOE fandom, I don't know if this is typical of the cast, but you could basically swap out any of the names after a quotation, and it would read the same. I don't think you'd have much a problem swapping out COBRA Commander with Duke, even. That's just how bland and uninspired the dialogue is.

Actually, thinking about it now makes me fume. I don't think Ms. Kowitt even tried to adapt the series beyond names and organizations. "I'll just throw down some words here and call it a day. Turn it in and collect my pay."

Some of you, I can hear you. "Man, Nate, you're being a little harsh. This is a kid's book, after all."

So is Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and Stan the Hot Dog Man. Go Dogs Go, Clifford, Curious George, need I say more? The amount of writing down and words-for-cash in this book is transparent. There is no need to make your story abhorrent simply because you are writing for children. They aren't mindless, hairless apes. I'm fairly certain that kind of assumption is how our society becomes so wretched and ignorant in the first place.

Aside from lazy prose, the story doesn't lend itself well to those new to the G.I. JOE universe. What the hell's a Neo-Viper? I can only assume they're some kind of irradiated foot soldier of the criminal COBRA camp, the generic foe at the route of all the mayhem. Although I suppose that isn't fair, considering COBRA and its Commander are almost single-handedly responsible for creating that stereotype in the first place (that is, the trope of "Hahaha. I am the villain. You are in my trap. You are doomed!")

The only thing that saves this steaming hunk of soldier sewage is the artwork, is bright enough to be somewhat impressive at times. The line art is very reminiscent of the late 80's and the 90's era of action cartoons, which is always a plus. Each page-turn welcomes young readers to a beautiful splash page, typically of an icy landscape with lush evergreens and furry forest life.

My verdict is one star, but only for the art. Skip the story for the pretty pictures, and you'll be much more satisfied than I was.

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