Introducing new characters in a day and age when we don't have the Order of Battle handbooks of yore or even file cards on action figures can be a chore. In G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #287, we meet the newbies, modern characters for a modern age who take up the fight against fascistic terror.
The Joe team has been tasked with infiltrating Cobra Island to get some first-hand intelligence on new developments there. This will be a field mission for Sherlock (a Military Police investigator), Black Hat (a hacker), and Multo (a veteran of the Filipino special forces) to join some veteran Joes in a clandestine mission. They'll find out that Cobra is tearing down their drab old headquarters and building a luxury resort and casino with the ordinary sinister ulterior motives. Along the way, Multo (which means "ghost") and Black Hat swap stories about how they ended up in the military.
Much like old Special Missions stories, this self-contained issue does a decent job of balancing the mission (which has a number of exciting moments, from the aquatic insertion to a tense infiltration of the casino itself) with the personal elements of its leads. Unfortunately, with such a huge cast, some characters like Laura 343 or Mongoose are just there to encourage exposition or names we walk by. This issue could have used another twelve pages to flesh out every great idea here.
As it stands, this is good, but it won't exactly stand alongside the series' most iconic moments. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #287
By Larry Hama, Billy Penn
So you've been recruited into the world's most elite fighting force for freedom. You're one of the best of the best warriors the planet has to offer. You're ready to join the fight, but before you step onto the battlefield, you first have to step into the PIT. Join Living Legend Larry Hama and artist Billy Penn as they show you what the first days of a brand-new JOE are like through eyes of newbies Multo, Black Hat, and Sherlock. This month it's time to (you guessed it) SPOTLIGHT: THE NEWBIES! Features the second of five interconnecting covers (#286-#290) by superstar artist Freddie Williams II!