This trade paperback takes place in the time that the G.I. Joe team had been disbanded and Snake Eyes was living a quiet life with Scarlett and the two are soon to be wed. Snake Eyes has taken on an apprentice, who will be the last pupil to be trained in the Arashikage clan. Ophelia is a young woman and quite capable and after going through her training with T'jbang and Nunchuck, she is ready to undergo her final trial with Snake Eyes.
Meanwhile, Sean Collins, the Son of Wade Collins, a former...and reformed...member of Cobra's Crimson Guard has joined an elite special-ops unit called the Hammer Team. They are given the assignment of capturing the former Cobra Terrorist and mercenary code named Firefly, who is recruiting operatives for a mysterious third party. The Hammer Team sets the trap for Firefly and are joined by Snake Eyes and Ophelia. But the operation is botched badly and Firelfy kills Ophelia and escapes.
Both Collins and Snake Eyes are guilt-ridden, blaming themselves for the tragedy. Snake Eyes calls off his wedding to Scarlett and escapes to his retreat in the wilderness. Collins soon shows up and offers to become Snake Eyes' newest apprentice. Collins takes on the name of Kamakura and learns the way of the Arashikage Ninja. Eventually Firefly is tracked to Tokyo as Snake Eyes, Kamakura, and Other Joe members again go after the Merc only this time another surprise awaits Snake Eyes...a foe from his past!
One of the great things that Devil's Due has done since taking over the G.I. Joe comic license is to personalize the various characters and give them some depth that they never had under Marvel's guidance. Previously they were one-dimensional characters distinguished mainly by their code names but writer Brandon Jerwa has fleshed out these characters, and made them real by giving them a human side. The silent Snake Eyes can speak volumes with his eyes and expressions and there is true heartbreak when he cancels his wedding to Scarlett. The Sean Collins character is an interesting one as he is seeking double redemption for the death of Ophelia as well as for his father's past with Cobra. He literally gives himself to Snake Eyes in a move of ultimate honor.
"Master and Apprentice" is well paced and balances action and drama as well as any Joe tale I've ever read. The art by Sunder Raj and Stefano Castelli is darker and grittier than many other Joe tales and complements the story perfectly. The book also features bio pages on the major players in this story which serve to give it even more depth. This is one of Devil's Due's best G.I. Joe stories yet.
Reviewed by Tim Janson