Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2

Transformers News: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 6:20AM CST

Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews
Posted by: ScottyP   Views: 9,386

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One of These Things Is Not Like The Other: Part 1 (of 2)
A review of IDW's latest GI Joe comic, Scarlett's Strike Force #2

Very Spoiler Filled - You Have Been Warned!
Transformers News: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2
Maybe the most depressing Grand Slam line so far?

Two comics arrive from IDW Publishing this week that feature Transformers, in the form of Scarlett's Strike Force #2, which is the topic of this review, and Transformers vs. Visionaries #2. These reviews will both be pretty spoiler heavy, as this is meant to assist with comparisons and contrasts with the other book whose review is meant to be read before or after this as a companion piece. You can find that review, for the lastest chapter of Transformers vs. Visionaries, by clicking or tapping on over to this link.

I found myself quite enjoying one of this week's entries in the IDW Hasbro Universe, and really not enjoying the other at all. Which will Scarlett's Strike Force #2 be? Read on to find out!

Transformers News: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2
Now that they know it's not fazed they've won half the battle, right?

This is one ridiculous, completely unbelievable, out of this world comic. There are fights against dinosaurs, a caveman that appears from out of nowhere that said dinosaurs kinda listen to, villains turning people into snake people, theories about perpetual energy, impractical military vehicles, a tag team consisting of a guy that controls birds of prey and another that has a full grown pet crocodile, and Skywarp making a phone call. There are only 20 pages, so you're probably thinking there's no way that could all work together in a coherent, meaningful way. If so, you'd be wrong - this is one very fun comic.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2
Does this make Croc Master a dentist?

Something super important to me for serial comics, movies, or really any story that has an out-of-this-world backdrop like this one does, is that the story never gets so far removed from being relatable that it loses meaning. Scarlett's Strike Force 2 accomplishes this through leveraging its characters and their interactions at every turn. Seen above are Raptor and Croc Master, a pair of campy and downright weird Cobra villains. Some stories would end things right then and there, allowing you to fill in all the blanks. This one doesn't by giving the two very human dialogue, with this bickering working to make them credible as members of this wacky iteration of Cobra but also as characters worthy of the page space they occupy. They still fight Joes together, but they're also given an element that makes you feel like they're still real. This is a distinct difference between some other lesser villains such as, say, Cravex and Cindarr, who I couldn't tell you anything about other than they are Darkling Lords with beards. I think. Maybe goatees.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2
Randy The Astonishing's latest introduction went great, as seen here

Another case of this book successfully using charm to ground a story with an insane premise is found in Destro. Destro is, I think, a guy made of metal, at least somewhat. The point is that he's a walking impossibility, he should not and logically could not exist in real life, and that's completely fine of course. He's working for a Cobra Commander in Baroness that seems to have gone loony during her time locked up in Lemuria/The Nemesis. She's having Cobranarchists turned into snake people (seriously), which presumably is leveraged by Crystal Ball's physic powers and their T'mup with Dire Wraiths.

Pretty stupid, right? Destro agrees.

Having him frame what the reader views, with this skepticism right there on the page, gives Scarlett's Strike Force some honesty in its insanity. No fruit is thrown to resolve anything. Like Polly, Destro throws shade to get his point across.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2
It's not quite the G1 cartoon anymore though, is it?

Chances are you're not following this book just for the Joes, as there's the Decepticon Seeker, Skywarp, still helping the team out while they try to work on how to not work on fixing his teleportation abilities. No one's told Matt Trakker about this, and he gets a few moments reminding you why he was one of the parts of the trainwreck M.A.S.K. re-launch attempt that was worth salvaging. Initially, I was concerned this interaction would be it for Skywarp in this issue, and if it were it would continue a status quo that has been brought up and never resolved for 13-ish issues prior to this one. By the end this was alleviated, as Skywarp calls Duke to channel his bottled up frustration into making a deal - I won't go full on spoiler here so that you can experience it for yourself if you so choose, but suffice it to say that I found it to be a smart twist that made me really want to root for Skywarp. Writer Aubrey Sitterson has taken the base "G1" character, honored developments made to him by John Barber, Shane McCarthy, and others, then built on it in clever ways. He doesn't treat the Transformers property as a burden, prop, or distraction in this "G.I. Joe" book, he treats it as a tool and makes full use of it.

Transformers News: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2
Actually not by Geoff Senior!

The art is a bit of a mixed bag, at least on the surface. Out of context, some of it looks less than great. Within the context of the book (where it actually matters!), Nelson Daniel's lines are fluid, expressive, and well suited for the heavy action focus of the story. Some parts feel like they're channeling early-mid 90s Geoff Senior a little, and while I wouldn't take that comparison too far, it is made as a compliment to the choice made to keep the focus on where it's intended to be. Ryan Hill's colors, though very orange heavy throughout, help distinguish scenes from one another well, with the cold, steely interior of Lemuria contrasting vividly with both the characters within it and with the red, dark, underground feeling of Crystal Ball's P.I.T. For the record, I'm not sure it's actually called the P.I.T., I've been reading Transformers vs. G.I. Joe: The Quintessential Collection and it's rubbing off. Speaking of Scioli, Taylor Esposito handles the lettering work well, and although there aren't too many speech bubbles to navigate there are plenty of fun sound effects throughout that assist with the action sequences.

The covers aren't bad, though I would like to actually see some Baroness Commander channeling the Dino Riders sometime, which is seen on the cover by Harvey Tolibao used in this news story's thumbnail. As always, you can find images of all of the covers and full credits for the issue in our Vector Sigma Database page for Scarlett's Strike Force #2, but do note it does contain a character appearance list that may be considered as spoiler-laden!

Verdict
Transformers News: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2
Polly's shade throwing game gets a 5/5

This isn't a story without its flaws - the setting sprawls a bit and some parts feel unfocused, with the actual focus on action making for a sometimes-too-quick turn through pages - but the character work that is seen and the dialogue that is presented all feel like they should be there. The introduction of a new character (at least, new to me) in Friday is handled well, with this unintelligible caveman more memorable already than most of the Spectral Knights over in Transformers vs. Visionaries. As fellow comics reviewer/fellow site admin Va'al pointed out to me while we pondered how to go about these reviews, Sitterson had fun with the toybox he was given and I think it shows. There's intriguing development throughout, and Skywarp's call to Duke at the end feels significant not just because of what it is, but because of what it does.

What exactly does it do? It makes me want to read more, and it's a shame there's only one more issue of this book to go.

. :COBRA: :COBRA: :COBRA: :COBRA: out of :COBRA: :COBRA: :COBRA: :COBRA: :COBRA:
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Re: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2 (1936467)
Posted by ZeroWolf on February 7th, 2018 @ 10:17am CST
So cancelled after three issues? How will it be collected?
Re: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2 (1936472)
Posted by ScottyP on February 7th, 2018 @ 10:31am CST
ZeroWolf wrote:So cancelled after three issues? How will it be collected?
No factual idea, but with Micronauts, MASK, and Rom having Omnibus style editions announced while Joe has not, I assume it will be collected with GI Joe 1-9 in a larger format TPB.
Re: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2 (1936499)
Posted by ZeroWolf on February 7th, 2018 @ 12:08pm CST
ScottyP wrote:
ZeroWolf wrote:So cancelled after three issues? How will it be collected?
No factual idea, but with Micronauts, MASK, and Rom having Omnibus style editions announced while Joe has not, I assume it will be collected with GI Joe 1-9 in a larger format TPB.

Seems a shame as I love off the wall crazy ideas like this.
Re: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2 (1936614)
Posted by Daniel Adkins on February 7th, 2018 @ 9:38pm CST
ScottyP wrote:
ZeroWolf wrote:So cancelled after three issues? How will it be collected?
No factual idea, but with Micronauts, MASK, and Rom having Omnibus style editions announced while Joe has not, I assume it will be collected with GI Joe 1-9 in a larger format TPB.

The Scarlett's Strike Force TPB will collect all three issues, plus the First Strike two-part tie-in.

I've said it once, I'll say it again: this series getting canned is a damn crime.
Re: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2 (1936659)
Posted by Va'al on February 8th, 2018 @ 2:12am CST
Daniel Adkins wrote:
ScottyP wrote:
ZeroWolf wrote:So cancelled after three issues? How will it be collected?
No factual idea, but with Micronauts, MASK, and Rom having Omnibus style editions announced while Joe has not, I assume it will be collected with GI Joe 1-9 in a larger format TPB.

The Scarlett's Strike Force TPB will collect all three issues, plus the First Strike two-part tie-in.


On top of the First Strike tie-in being collected in Champions? :-?
Re: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2 (1936691)
Posted by Daniel Adkins on February 8th, 2018 @ 6:59am CST
Va'al wrote:
Daniel Adkins wrote:
ScottyP wrote:
ZeroWolf wrote:So cancelled after three issues? How will it be collected?
No factual idea, but with Micronauts, MASK, and Rom having Omnibus style editions announced while Joe has not, I assume it will be collected with GI Joe 1-9 in a larger format TPB.

The Scarlett's Strike Force TPB will collect all three issues, plus the First Strike two-part tie-in.


On top of the First Strike tie-in being collected in Champions? :-?

Yeah. It’s not like this isn’t something that happens a lot with event tie-ins with trades.
Re: Review of IDW Scarlett's Strike Force #2 (1936732)
Posted by Va'al on February 8th, 2018 @ 11:06am CST
Daniel Adkins wrote:
Va'al wrote:
Daniel Adkins wrote:
ScottyP wrote:
ZeroWolf wrote:So cancelled after three issues? How will it be collected?
No factual idea, but with Micronauts, MASK, and Rom having Omnibus style editions announced while Joe has not, I assume it will be collected with GI Joe 1-9 in a larger format TPB.

The Scarlett's Strike Force TPB will collect all three issues, plus the First Strike two-part tie-in.


On top of the First Strike tie-in being collected in Champions? :-?

Yeah. It’s not like this isn’t something that happens a lot with event tie-ins with trades.


Just checking, as it came out this week - not questioning you! :D
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