IDW shared Universe, good idea or bad idea?

So in case you haven’t heard, IDW is planning a shared universe with it’s Hasbro properties. Transformers, G.I.Joe, Action Man, M.A.S.K. Rom and Micronauts will all be hanging out with each other for the foreseeable future at the local drive through, eating hamburgers and fries while telling stories about how they were hot properties back in the 80’s. Sadly though, Jem and the Holograms will not be included in this one, mostly because the idea would be unbelievable, but really though there is money on the table by having Jem crossover with G.I.Joe if only for the fact we’d get to see a Cold Slither story. The idea of a shared universe with IDW hasn’t come up before, but it’s not hard to see why. Each franchise has it’s own major characters, it’s own themes and so trying to combine them can be fraught with danger. As with most things, it’s important to wait to see the final product before we jump the gun, but below I’ll discuss how I see it coming out, both pros and cons.

Pros

So already the major selling point for me is that there will be another G.I.Joe title written by Aubrey Sitterson which is already a great thing. His work on the Street Fighter Vs G.I.Joe book is fantastic and being perfectly honest with you, will be leaps and bounds better than what Karen Travis did with her run on the title. Another great selling point that IDW has is the Transformers brand, which continues to be some of the best comics I’ve read in recent memory. Also add to the fact Action Man, M.A.S.K., Rom and Mirconaughts are getting comics means that the universe will be rather interesting.

M.A.S.K. in case you don’t know is sort of a bridge between Transformers and G.I.Joe, because it features vehicles that can transform, such as a car into a jet, a motor bike into a helicopter, a jeep into a boat etc. It was a neat concept that was made into a cartoon which featured an annoying kid with a silly robot because it was the 80’s. Out of all the titles, M.A.S.K. is the one I am most interested in checking out, because I know G.I.Joe is already in safe hands, as are the Transformer titles. I don’t know too much about Micronauts or Rom, only that they both had comics with other companies, with Rom finding a home at Marvel for quite some time, but due to legal reasons, couldn’t be named as such.

Cons.

The idea for the a shared universe looks good on paper, but my concern is how they will pull it off. They’ve gone on record and said that it’s no a reboot, which is fine, but how do you tie it all together. The G.I.Joe universes is practically a salted Earth thanks to an unnecessary time jump and poor story telling if you’re intention was to write a G.I.Joe story and not a politics based story. Even more troublesome is how you incorporate the others. The idea of Giant Robots running around the same time means that the Cobra and G.I.Joe war was so engrossing that no one noticed that New York was attacked by Megatron?

It also means that the die-hard Joe fans, the one who don’t want any sillier aspects of Sci-Fi invading their pristine title will be horrified that Megatron and Co. are now showing up, as well as the Micronauts Action Man and M.A.S.K. Honestly, I can’t really see them going for this idea to be perfectly honest, and I doubt that the G.I.Joe numbers will get above when they had Karen Traviss writing the title. The only way to do this well is to reboot the entire franchises, or at least set it elsewhere, which means that all the universe building would’ve been for naught in the end.

Myself, I’m excited for this, and I’ll try to pick up as many titles as I can afford, but for others, I can see why they may be opting to give this a wide pass.

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G.I.Joe vs Aliens and or Predators.

Having read the recent release of the DC/ Aliens collected edition, the one that contains the Batman/ Aliens crossover, which consists of both volume one and two and the so-so Superman/Batman Vs. Predators/Aliens and the Wild C.A.T.s/ Aliens part as well made me think about if the G.I.Joe franchise could mix it up with the Aliens and Preadtors, and after having to think about it for about 5 minutes, I came back with a “hell yeah they could work” and picked up my phone to pitch my idea to Larry Hama.

G.I.Joe has always been leaning towards the sci-fi side of the literature spectrum whether anyone really wants to admit it or not. It does make sense, and while the book has rarely gone “full sci fi” the idea of cyborg ninja and clonning makes it come pretty close. If I were tasked on writing the crossovers, here’s how I would do it. Firstly, I’d separate them into two camps. Conventional logic dictates that Cobra would be trying to harness the Aliens while the Joes are hunted by the Predators. However, since the idea of some one trying to control the Aliens has been done to death and the idea of Joes versus Predators is basically the comic version of the movie Predator, you can see my reluctance on rehashing those stories.

So with that said, I’d pair the Joes with the Aliens, and us the forgotten toy line “Star Brigade” as the main protagonists of the series. Star Brigade didn’t really have much screen time, with only a handful of appearances from 146-148 of the original Marvel run. Even worse, they fought against robots on an asteroid that was headed on a collusion course to Earth. The robots were put there by a rogue Soviet scientist who wanted to use the asteroid to wipe out all human life. The G.I.Joe comics from 119 onwards were rather weird indeed.

Anyway so the story would be an out of continuity tale where Star Brigade go into space and enter a derelict ship that is passing by Earth, The 8 person crew discover the presence of Aliens and then all hell breaks loose. Because it’s an out of continuity story, it frees up characters to be killed, which is bad news for all the ozone fans out there, but it would add to the idea that no one is safe.

That leaves as with Cobra and the Predators, which would also be an out of continuity tale which takes place on Cobra Island during the civil war. But the difference is is that there isn’t any fighting going on yet, just a Mexican stand off of sorts. Cobra Commander will have the Baroness, Zartan and Storm Shadow and the other side will have Serpentor, Croc Master, Dr Mindbender and Firefly. Tensions are high on the island when a Predator drops down on the island and kicks off the civil war by accident, by killing some of Cobra Commander’s solders and then spends the next couple of issues dodging fire while collecting trophies. Both Cobra forces combine and manage to kill it before the Joe show up and arrest everyone, but not before we get to see Croc Master take a plasma bolt to the chest.

So that’s my take on what would happen with the next logical crossovers. Tune in next week where I’ll pitch the long await Back to the Future/ Transformers crossover idea.

Transformers G.I.Joe or what makes a good cross over.

Back in early 2001, two comic companies, Dreamwave Productions and Devils Due Publishing, then under the umbrella of the Image print went to Hasbro to make a deal with the devil. In exchange for the rights to Transformers and G.I.Joe respectively, Pat Lee, co-owner of Dreamwave Productions would gain the unfortunate side effect of poor business decisions while Josh Baylock wouldn’t be able to write a G.I.Joe story that didn’t feel rushed at the end. After some time, both companies decided that cross overs were what everyone wanted and decided to do their own much to the delight of everyone until they read the blasted things.

If anyone ever were to ask me, what makes a good G.I.Joe crossover, I’d say the ability to merge them into a coherent story. The current Street Fighter Vs. G.I.Joe story is an example of a great cross over. It only focuses on a smallish cast, each character is practically named when they are appear and each one is distinct enough that it’s easy to tell them apart. There is no ambiguous endings involved so far and if you’re a fan of either franchise you should check it out.

I bring it because I’ve finished reading Transformers/ G.I.Joe by Dreamwave Productions, and while it’s not terrible it is problematic to say the very least. The idea is great on paper, take both franchises and place them into a World War 2 setting and things will be great, but what we got instead is a confusing mess of a cross over. Cobra has uncovered the Decepticons and are using them as engines of war, taking control of Europe in the process. The joes are assembled and tasked to take out the Cobra stronghold and in a very disastrous first few hours they encounter the Autobots and the tide changes

Jae Lee artwork has always been subjective, and while it works in the Dark Tower comic series, it doesn’t work here, casting a shadow over the characters, making them difficult to tell apart or what is even happening. The Joes have no features that help them stand out, making them all look like the same generic soldiers. The transformers themselves also look like they’re covered in shadow half the time, missing finer details of their own bodies. The plot is okay, but there is just too much going on at any time to be engaged in any conflict. There are two Joe teams, each having members you can’t tell apart, a half dozen Transformers who all look the same and an unclear plot. Cobra Commanders goals remain unclear and so does Destro’s. For all of it’s faults, the Devil’s Due cross over had a clear plot you could understand, and you could tell most of the characters apart.

When you throw in ambiguous endings for most characters, it gets a bit much. While a clear cut ending with a nice bow doesn’t always suit the story, if at the end of he story you still have questions about who is left alive at the end of the book then you may need to re-think your story. It’s not a bad story, but it isn’t a great one either. If any thing it should be read to see what shouldn’t be done in terms of plot, artwork and concept. I didn’t mind it, but then I am a fan of both franchises, but it’s a hard sell to any one who isn’t a fan of either franchise.

Civil War vs Civil War: Comic vs Movie. Spoilers ahoy

So Avengers 2.5, sorry Captain America Civil War came out a few weeks ago and I have to say it’s a pretty damn good movie and a better version of the event then the comic it is based on. Though when you have about 10 years to figure out what works and what doesn’t for the movie, if it doens’t improve on certain things, then you’re not doing your job very well. I’ll be talking about the biggest changes that I saw between the comic and the event.

1: Ironman is reasonable in the movie. One of the biggest changes is that Iron Man in the movie is more level headed, which is perhaps one of most the important changes from the book. Comic book Iron Man is a facist, throwing people who don’t agree with him into a super max prision in another dimension andconscripting dangerous super villains like Venom into hunting down super heroes who refuse to register. It kind of makes him a character that is uneasy to side with. What ever points he makes are null and voided because how he acts.

The Movie version is more level headed and basically spend the entire movie imploring Rogers to sign the accord, even going so far as to back dating the signing to make his actions in the movie legal. He gives Steve, Falcon and the others every chance to surrender and sign, and they only start fighting when they exhaust all other moves.

2: There are no major deaths. One of the draws of comic events is finding out who will die. The comic version of Civil War had Goliath die via a lighting blast from a clone of Thor. The movie though, has no one dying. This to me, at least works better. That’s not to say the fights are any less brutal, there are scenes were various heroes walk around and have welts and bruises on their faces to show the price of a super hero smack down is a shiner. Crossbones does in fact die early on, which is a shame to me as I do like the character, but without the Red Skull, he is sort of a nothing character, and only really works when he is playing as the muscle for a big bad.

3: It’s a treatise about the cost of revenge and consequences of your actions. The comic never really deals with these themes, which isn’t really a complaint, but the movie covers these themes, in a really great way. The idea that super heroes running unchecked is a bad idea, everyone agrees to that, but it’s in the details that stops everyone from agreeing. More importantly, the entire movie is a treatise on how grief can affect people differently. Black Panther and Zemo attempt to kill other people out of revenge because they can not separate their need for justice and their need for revenge. Even Iron Man, who has been trying to over come the trauma losing his parents at such a young age, can not over come the need for clear and rationale thinking in a time of great stress.

The comic version isn’t bad at all. It’s quite good and is perhaps the most reader friendly Mark Miller has been. The movie works, because it was able to take the nature progression of the characters in the cinematic universe and create a great story based off the comic book version of the story. It is, in my opinion the best adaptation we could’ve asked for. Taking what works and what doesn’t work and creating a fantastic movie.

Batman Endgame and why I don’t like it.

Okay I’ll admit this right off the bat. I’m not a huge Scott Snyder fan. I respect him and I do think he is a very talented man and writer but I’m not really a fan of his style of writing. Grand big tales only work if there is a re-cap page to remind people of what’s going on. Writing a 13 issues epic looks good on paper, but you have to understand that it takes takes over a year to write, produce and read and so to be perfectly honest with so much other stuff happening in our lives, without a recap page it’s hard to remember the big points.

End Game, to it’s credit is only 6 issues long much like “Death in the family” also by Scott Snyder. It’s a tight story that, I guess work, except when it’s trying too hard to be edgy and scary. I’d tell you there are spoilers, but considering the low view count of my blog if you haven’t read Batman “End Game” by the time you stumble upon this you’re either not a comic book fan or you’re a person archiving the internet. Anyway the short of it is that the Joker has returned from his exile and enacts a plan to not only kill Batman but destroy all of Gotham. First Joker poisons the Justice Leauge and sends them after Batman who promptly defeats them because he’s the Batman. Then in a brilliant twist he reveals that he has been close to Batman the entire time under a disguise that would make Zartan jealous. So far, so standard Batman. But the problem to me comes from the escalation in this story which proves, to me at least to be a little over the top, as if DC are trying to make the Joker more shocking, more edgy and more dangerous despite the fact that this has been well established over the years..

Death in the Family had the Joker, sans face (comics every one) going after the Batman family after disappearing and was a fairly decent story line. End Game has Joker going after Gotham by releasing a version of the Joker Toxin into the air. There are scenes of babies affected by the Joker toxin, people going mad attacking each other in the streets, all well and good, except that Joker then cuts off Alfred’s right hand, because it’s not a DC comic without some one losing a limb. I get that the entire point of the Joker is he is crazy, but people losing limbs, babies being exposed to viruses is just some one (to me) screaming “Hey look at how edgy we are”. Even worse is the “We only have 24 hours to cure people or they die” line is eye roll worthy to me.

The Joker, like any wrestler only works when you’re not over exposing him. Death in the family was a brutal story to be sure, but worked because the Joker hadn’t shown up before, and disappeared without a trace. He enters, messes things up and leaves in a puff of smoke with the reader wondering if he’ll ever show up again. Scott Snyder has now salted the earth with the Joker, because once you have a character try to destroy Gotham, where do you go from there? Having the Joker try to poison the water supply will just seem lame after he cut off the hand of Alfred. What’s next? He tries to send all of Gotham into space via rockets spread out around the city? To be fair, it is called End Game for a reason, perhaps the last Joker Story, which this should fittingly be because, as I have said where do you take the character from here?

That said, if you’re a fan of Scott Snyder, Batman or the Joker then you wont have any problems with the story. Mr Snyder is a fantastic writer, but it’s the subject matter I take issue with, and the length of his stories. And besides, this is DC comics, we’ll just hang out until the next reboot and this Joker nonsense wouldn’t have happened and we can start all over again.

Why we’ll never get a Moon Knight TV series (even though it would be amazing)

So stop me if you’ve heard this pitch before. A millionaire decides to fight crime using his wealth and using various skills his learnt over the years becomes vigilante and decides to exact renvange on those who harm innocent people. He uses his wealth to buy a series of weapons based around a particular theme and then uses said items to beat up criminals. Yes I’m talking about Moon Knight, the Marvel character every one claims is a rip off of Batman.As great as he is, and he is pretty rad, there won’t really ever be a TV series dedicated to him which is a bit of a shame.

For those of you don’t like wikipiedia, Moon Knight is Marc Spector and he is basically a more brutal version of Batman. He’s back story though is a little convoluted, even for comics. He was a mercenary in Egypt when he was betrayed and killed inside the temple of Khonsu, the Egyptian moon God. Marc Spector is then resurrected and he becomes Moon Knight, the protector of those who travel at night and uses several moon themed weapons, crescent darts for example and beats people up. He’s been an avenger with the west coast branch, a secret avenger but his individual titles are a harder sell.

His solo titles don’t really last too long perhaps because of the murky subject matter. Modern Moon Knight has dissociative identity disorder which basically means we’re reading a comic about a mentally ill person violently beating up criminals. He’s portrayal as crazy is one of the main reasons he is compelling though, because it’s never made clear if it’s all in his head or if it’s all real. Which, if we’re talking about the Marvel universe with actual Norse Gods, Greek Gods and all powerful wizards, then the idea of an Egyptian God having an avatar of Justice isn’t that much of stretch. But again the way it is portrayed is that it’s unknown to the reader, because the main narrator is unreliable in this case.

If you do want to check out the character, start with Volume 5 with the first volume by Warren Ellis, which is a master class of done in one stories and introduces a new costume and I guess personality to Moon Knight. In it, he was a pure white suit and assists people as a some what unlicensed private detective. Brain Wood and Cullen Bunn continue this thread and offer up some amazing stories using the character, often giving us stories that other comics can’t really give us. It Forgoes any sense of over arching plot and instead gives us brillant tight stories that are a treat to read. The newer series by Jeff Lemire explores the mental state of Moon Knight in further depth, which is out now and you should check it out.

Moon Knight would never really work as a TV character, because we are basically enabling a mentally ill person beating up criminals who worships a God that may not really exist. He’s a perfect character for comics but he is a bridge to far for a TV audience. Then again, if you’d of told me five years ago that one of the hottest comic book shows was based on the Green Arrow I would’ve laughed at you while swaggering off to play Gears of War 2, so really what do I know?

Why you should read the New Avengers by Al Ewing

Is it just me or are comic books starting to become fun again? I know, fun never went away but it seems like now, more then ever books are starting to be the escapist fantasy we’ve always wanted them to be and not the serious books dealing with series issues they turned into for a small period. But it seems fun is coming back and leading the charge is Al Ewing.

Okay I’m kidding obviously, comics have always been about fun and will forever be fun, no matter how many times people insist that Batman has to be dark and moody to work. But I digress. The New Avengers as written by Al Ewing was a bit of a dark horse for me. I was some what sold on the line with Songbird and Squirrel Girl getting to be actual avengers, Hawkeye was always okay to me nothing great and the rest of the line up was pretty much unknown to me. The Avengers special where the Squadrn Surpreme had a look at the other avenger teams didn’t help much, as it it didn’t quite sell the idea to me. But the book has surprised me by how good really is and how enjoyable I am finding it.

Part of the appeal I guess is the bonkers premise of the book. Roberto DeCosta aka the mutant Sunspot brought out the villainous group A.I.M. and has a group of Avengers there who act as heroes of the world, an international rescue if you will. They’re tolerated by S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hawkeye works with them as their Shield liaison, making sure they don’t step out of line. It’s the sort of book Avengers World tried to be when it was around, focusing on a smaller and often forgotten about Avengers that were apart of the Hickman line up.

Apart from Songbird, Hawkeye and Squirrel Girl, there is Wiccan, Hulking, White Tiger and Power-Man and Pod, and to explain the story behind Pod would take a while, so I’ll just link her wiki page here, that is if she had one. For me it’s the characters that make the book, as while they’re not the Avengers that come to mind, they are well rounded and likeable and the villain, or at least the main one is Ultimate Reed Richards as the leader of a group called W.H.I.S.P.E.R. whose acronym I can’t be bothered to type out, but it’s a pretty good backranym.

The book for me has charm, heart and is fun, which in this day and age of dark and gloomy event books about the end of the world, is a refreshing welcome. It’s a light hearted book focusing on the B and C list heroes that are given a chance to shine in a book that is a great read with great artwork. Check it out if you’re looking for some thing different, plus how can you not like a book that features the American Kajiu, a monster that has a US flag tattoo on his forehead.

The Squrriel Girl/ Howard the Duck cross over is as brilliant as you think it is.

If some one were to go back in time and tell my 15 year old self that my top three favourite comics would be Howard the Duck, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and The New Avengers by Al Ewing I would’ve laughed in their face but the reality is this are some of the best books Marvel is putting out, and the best part is, the long awaited cross over between Squirrel Girl and Howard the Duck is here and it is amazing.

A team up between the two seems like it’s some thing that should’ve happened ages ago due to both having a cult like status. I’ll be perfectly honest in admitting that both titles are an acquired taste, with Squrriel Girl forgoing the “talky punchy” modern aspects of comics in favour of awesome jokes and the power of friendship over coming much of her problems then say, bashing some ones face in with a shield. It’s not very violent is what I’m trying to say and for good reason. The message is if we sat down and talked about our problems then the world could be a nicer place. Half the time Squrriel Girl “wins” by helping the bad guy with what ever problem they have. It’s a delightful message, one that I’m guessing would give Garth Ennis a stroke if he read it.

Howard the Duck is again is a very acquired taste due to the fact that he is a talking duck that is generally tolerated by most of the Marvel Universe and out right loathed by other heroes. The character itself is a very ahrd sell because he is a three foot tall talking duck that can’t really be slotted into a team books, unless he’s the annoying one and right now that role falls to Deadpool har har har. Howard does have a lot of heart and every man feel about him. He’s a duck who is trying his best to get by in a world that ridicules and fears him, despite the fact he’s about as threatening as being mobbed by a group of ducklings.

So the crossover then, is it any good? Short answer, yes. Long answer, hell yes it is and you should go out and buy every copy you can find. The cross over is written by Ryan North and Chip Zdarsky on writing duties and Erica Henderson as the always amazing artist. I’ll try not to spoil the plot too much, but if you are already reading either title, then you know how bonkers the titles are by comparison. The story kicks off with Howard stealing Squirrel Girl’s room mates cat Mew thinking it’s the cat he is looking for, before being stopped by Squirrel Girl. Howard is then kidnapped or I guess duck-napped (har har) by Kraven the Hunter who shows up with an air brushed van with artwork that is almost worth the price of the issue alone. From there a number of great gags happen included is the debut of weapon II, a squirrel version of Wolverine and some truly outstanding art work which makes it seem like Squrriel Girl is crashing through panels not just the floor.

If you’re looking for a great, light hearted read with a comic that is full of heart, humour and great moments that you can share with kids then you could do a heck of a lot worse then checking out this Squirrel Girl number 6. The conclusion to this cross over will be in Howard the Duck number 6 coming out later this month.

Batman Vs Superman: Was it really that bad?

Short answer: No, it’s not. Long answer, it depends on a lot of factors. I guess for me I went in with low expectations, which did help and I was looking forward to it. I mean I didn’t rush out and see it but it was on my radar and I thought it was pretty good. Ben Afleck’s Batman is pretty good, one of the better interpretations I’ve seen and has that weariness about him. Henry Cavil’s Superman is still pretty good as well. Now let’s talk about Lex Luthor

Jesse Eisenberg’s take on Lex Luthro can be grating to some, he seems to be pantomiming the character to an almost over the top degree. But here’s the thing, he’s meant to be eccentric, because he’s a billionaire and one of the smartest guys in the room. I didn’t mind the voice or the mannerisms and I thought he’s character was good. Yes it’s not the same as say Gene Hackman’s take, where he is a calm and cool and mostly sensible character, but that’s a take that had been done before, so why wouldn’t a fresh take work. Plus if we can have the Joker be both a reletively harmless prankster (Batman 1966) and criminal more bent on causing mischief to Batman (Batman TAS) and a Joker that is more or less a super soldier with an ability to see the future (The Dark Night) then getting this version of Lex Luthor isn’t that much of a stretch.

The action was great, seeing Batman take down an entire room of goons is still fun as it ever was, and the obligatory Bat mobile chase was still awesome and fresh as it ever was. The titular fight is great except that really, even without the armour Batman’s insides would be liquid after the first couple of punches. The only downside is the CGI end fight, but that’s more because by that point it seems a bit exhausting, if no less interesting. The dream sequence were Batman is in the desert features perhaps one of the greatest fight scenes of recent memory, with Batman taking down a group of thugs while the camera spins. It’s a good action scene

The movie does have problems though. The lack of female characters with speaking lines is disappointing given the state of the movie industry these days. Wonder Woman is barely there as well, she shows up for the fight scene at the end and has a sprinkling of appearances but that’s about it. It’s great that we’re finally seeing the character as well, but a bit of extra scenes wouldn’t have hurt and the argument could be made without Wonder Women, the heroes would’ve failed.

Is it a great movie? That will depend on who you are and how forgiving you are. I enjoyed the entire movie and I can’t wait to see what happens with the Justice League movie. I can certainly understand why some people can be upset, because if you had problems with Man of Steel, they aren’t really addressed here either. The problem could be trying to separate DC comics and DC movies, because they are really two separate things, and how a character thinks in one may not be applicable to the other. We’re looking at it from the perspective of comic book fans and I think we can agree that just because some thing works on paper doesn’t mean it will work on the screen. Is Batman Vs Superman an epic must see movie. I don’t think it so, it will divide fans and people for years to come but as a two and a half movie to escape the drudgery of life? You could do worse.

G.I.Joe Deviations

Paul Allor is a fantastic writer. If you don’t believe me, then you should check out G.I.Joe Deviations, in which over the course of 24 pages he tells a complete story set in an alternate world of G.I.Joe where Cobra wins, which makes Cobra Commander go a little stir crazy. The nature of the book is more comedy than action orientated, which isn’t to say it isn’t action packed, but the focus of a lighter tone works a lot better then a gritty end of the world type.  The idea of Destro and the Baroness settling down and having kids is brilliant, as is the idea of having to replace several nannies. I won’t spoil it for anyone except to say you should check it out as it’s perhaps one of the better books out there.

But it does lead to a slightly larger problem. While the book is fantastic, I have to question who it is really written for? The Deviations range is certainly inventive, it’s also a bit baffling because they’re seemingly made for fans of the respective title,s of which there are four other books. That’s okay, but they’re not really user friendly, because unless you have a vested interest in the characters already, you won’t really care if Mulder was abducted by aliens or if Optimus Prime decided that he’d rather not die. To be fair there is a recap page in the cover explaining the series, but I can’t really imagine anyone who isn’t already a G.I.Joe fan walking past it on the shelf and deciding to read it. No matter how great the review is. The same goes for the other books as well. Unless I’m already a fan of the series, I don’t really care how a world would be different if X happened and not Y.

That’s not to say that they’re not any good, because they are and if Paul Allor were to write a G.I.Joe book I’d sign up for that in a heart beat. But seeing as the goal of a comic company is to increase readership of these titles, offering an alternate look into what could’ve been doesn’t really strike me as some thing will bring in new readers, and while the concept is cool, I can’t really see it as a basis for a monthly title.