G.I. Joe #31
Marvel Comics
Year Published:

Writer: Larry Hama
Rod Whigham
Andy Mushyinsky

Gems in the Bin is a weekly column at the Two Headed Nerd where I pick one comic book from the $.25 bin at Fanfare Sports and Entertainment in Kalamazoo, Michigan and write a review. Will I find a deal or will I find something so dreadful that $.25 is too much to ask for a forgettable comic book? Let’s take a look at G.I. Joe #31.

G.I. Joe was the only title I cared to read on a consistent basis during the 1980s. I’d read a Fantastic Four or a Spider-Man comic here and there, but at the time I wasn’t interested in superhero tales. G.I. Joe was, in my opinion, one of the most underrated comics of the 1980s, and the success of G.I. Joe was due to the brilliant writing of Larry Hama. The G.I. Joe comic book was nothing like the dopey cartoon. Hama created a grittier story, and included some wonderful sub-plots that made G.I. Joe a must read. One thing that sets Hama apart from other comic book writers is that he is one of a handful that set the writing bar of excellent so high for a title that no one has ever come close to their greatness.

That’s enough of my Larry Hama love-fest, so let’s take a look at G.I. Joe #31. Cobra has placed a secret agent named Fred at Fort Wadsworth, the Joe’s secret location, and he has reported all base activities to Cobra Commander. Zartan, the master of disguise, has also contacted Cobra Commander to report that he placed a tracking device in one of the Joe’s planes that is currently airborne. Zartan reports the plane’s location, which has Cobra Commander very pleased.

The Joe plane is carrying some team members on a training mission, but Hawk decides to allow Snake Eyes to make a jump from the plane to his cabin in the woods. For some reason, Hawk has secretly placed Airborne and Spirit Iron-Knife in the plane, and orders them to make a jump to keep an eye on Snake Eyes. Before he jumps, Spirit Iron-Knife discovers Zartan’s tracking device and destroys it.

Fred is greeted by Destro and Firefly who inform him that they need to take a trip. Fred, Destro, and Firefly make their way to Snake Eyes’ cabin in the woods to kill him. The end result is a major gun and explosives fight where we have Snake Eyes, Spirit Iron-Knife, and Airborne take on Fred, Destro, and Firefly. The comic book ends with a very nice cliffhanger.

G.I. Joe #31 is a fun, action-packed comic book that keeps a great pace, and doesn’t disappoint. Hama’s writing is what G.I. Joe fans would expect from their fearless leader. He has plenty of action in this comic book, but it is written in a way where the action is well-paced, and while there are three or four story lines going on in this comic, the reader will not get lost or confused.

The artwork by Rod Whigham is what you’d expect from a 1980’s G.I. Joe title. That’s a compliment in case you were wondering. Whigham has plenty of action scenes in this comic book, and he does a great job as an artist to utilize his panels to create an effective flow.

You can’t go wrong with Larry Hama G.I. Joe, so this was an incredible find in the $.25 bin.

Final rating: Buy it!

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and head writer at Champion City Comics, a webcomics community, and at The Lost Soul of Rock and Roll, a weekday rock music blog. He is also a proud father and is married to the coolest and most beautiful girl on the planet.