G.I.Joe America’s Elite was Devils Due Publishing’s second attempt at an on going G.I.Joe series after their “A Real American Hero” series ended. It was a lot different to what had come before them, while still maintaining some of the problems from the ARAH title. America’s Elite focused on a much smaller roster, consisting of Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Stalker, Duke, Roadblock, Shipwreck and Flint with Storm Shadow hanging around because everyone likes ninjas. Gen. Joe Colton ran the team and it was written by Joe Casey and had more of a Superhero feel to it. More members were rotated in as the series continued.
Some of the problems it inherited was the drama in the team felt forced. Before during the Marvel A.R.A.H. run, there wasn’t much conflict between high command and the lower level troops. In the DDP world though it seemed that high command was always angry at the lower level of the Joes, who themselves were constantly questioning their orders to the point where it was amazing any thing got done. The cobra forces fared no better with Cobra High Command going through at least 3 regime changes across the 42 issue run.
Amercia’s Elite during Joe Casey’s run did have the troops not trusting high command but it did have some great stories. See Cobra Commander had disappeared between the series and found his way into the White House as an advisor to the President (He was in disguise at the time, not his Blue Hood). He had formed the Phenoix Guard which consisted of former Cobra Mercs and had them assault the Rock. They were defeated, but that was the set up for World War 3.
World War 3 saw the combined Cobra and M.A.R.S. forces taking over large parts of America, France and England while assisting the up risings of various groups around the world. Across the 12 issue run of World War 3, it focuses on the core team and there “blink and you’ll miss them” cameos from various Joes across the many conflicts. There are also many call backs from previous events for long time fans. Scores are settled and the ending tis up most of the loose ends.
One of the more interesting aspects was that Cobra Commander had created his own self styled G.I.Joe force called “The Plague”. The 12 member team were to offset the Joes. It’s an interesting idea which should be explored again. The downside of the IDW trades is that the profiles aren’t collected, which is a shame because it’s an aspect of world building that should happen with more comics.
While difficult to pull of an event style story because lets face it, it’s pretty much just two armies facing off against each other on a much larger scale, World War 3 pulls it off with aplomb. It’s a large scale threat, with nods and cameos from various Joes and has a satisfactory ending one can only hope for a series. IDW recently reprinted the America’s Elite series and it’s worth a read.