I recently expressed that “GI Joe: Resolute” was the absolute best kind of wish fulfillment, since it more-or-less simultaneously informs you of a deep-seated desire you didn’t know you had, and satiates it. (
http://www.republibot.com/content/gi-joe-resolute-return-and-subsequent-... ) I’d been pining away for Season 3 of GI Joe for twenty-five years without realizing it, and I got to watch 4/5ths of a new story on the same day. (When I say “GI Joe,“ I mean The Real 1980s GI Joe, none of this “Operation Dragonfire” nonsense, nothing with Cesspool and Gridiron in it, and certainly none of this Sigma 6 tripe!)
“GI Joe: Resolute” is being advertised as a grown up continuation of the 80s series, only “No parachutes, no cheating…this is not a game.” I was pretty excited, and it’s the fun kind of excitement that comes out of nowhere, not the long, grueling, pain-in-the-ass carefully managed hype-excitement of something like the new Trek movie. I quickly watched all 10 “Webisodes” and then checked out Warren Ellis’ website for more information. A new episode of GI Joe, after all this time, and without the annoying ‘no one gets hurt’ restrictions of the 80s! Imagine!
So did I get what I hoped (briefly) for?
Well, no, not exactly. Yes and no, with a bit more ‘no’ than I expected, but a whole hell of a lot more ‘yes’ than I had any reason to hope for. As Ellis himself says on his site ( http://www.warrenellis.com/?p=6147 ), “Resolute” is essentially “an odd, lumpy, normal-for-Norfolk-looking hybrid of the comic and the cartoon.” In other words, it’s an attempt to continue the recognizable style of the cartoon, but bring it more in to tune with the vastly more serious tone of the comics themselves. And I’m gonna’ say it worked. Granted, you have to squint a bit to avoid seeing the seams that tie this in to the old series, but, come on, you had to squint like hell to pretend anything in the old series made a lick of sense to begin with, and I run a Science Fiction Fansite for gosh sakes! Obviously, squinting is something I’m used to. I’ve got no problems with my suspension of disbelief, thank you very much!
Warren Ellis was - by his own admission - a very odd choice to write the story. For starters, he’s English, and had no knowledge of, nor attraction to the original series. Generally that’s the kiss of death, but Mr. Ellis has always been a writer who can turn detriments to his advantage, and it worked really well. I mean, there’s tons of backstory, twice as much as you’d expect, really, since we’re dealing with both the chronology of the comic *and* the cartoon. The two overlap a bit, but aren’t really all that close. It would be really super-easy to completely blow it by getting mired in all that stuff, which would be disastrous. At the same time, introducing a new villain gives you a ‘why bother?‘ feeling, and completely rebooting the show is a cheat. Fortunately, he managed to avoid all those snares. And in fact, this is why he was brought in to write it in the first place: He’s got an outsider’s perspective. Perhaps, it was hoped, he could bring something fresh to the franchise.
What he did here is a lot like what Russell T. Davies and Phill Collinson did when reviving “Doctor Who” five years ago: Everything you remember happened, even the silly stuff, even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff, it’s all real. The issue of canonicity is then sidestepped by setting this story *after* all that crap. “Whatever you believe the history of Dr. Who was, that’s right. And then *After* that, this story happens!” It’s the same way here: Since the last time we saw Cobra and the Joes, a lot of time has passed, a lot of stuff has happened that we get only a few vague allusions to, and then this story happens. So don’t sweat it, and jump in to the action, already!
And jump in to the action we do! We’re treated to a quick-cut series of locations - a research facility in Canada, an abandoned Cobra Island launching missiles, Covergirl investigating the corpse in the Lincoln Memorial, strange shenanigans in an abandoned Soviet missile base in Siberia, and a devastating round of sabotage on the USS Flagg which cripples the carrier. The Joes are caught flatfooted, and at least one of them is dead. Then