The stage was set in G.I. Joe Union of the Snake, and now in G.I. Joe: Rise of the Red Shadows, Devil's Due has followed up with perhaps the most significant Joe storyline in years as the team is shaken to its very core with the events in this book. We've seen agents of both the Joe team and Cobra targeted by a shadowy new organization called The Red Shadows. For years the group has sat quietly, waiting and planning a devastating attack against both groups to not only eliminate, but discredit them as well. The fanatical group is led by the charismatic Wilder Vaughn, a former British special OPS member who the Brits insisted was dead. The Red Shadows seek no less than to establish a "new world order" (a term we've heard often) with the destruction of established world governments, religions, militaries, and even financial institutions. The Red Shadows are as much a cult as they are a covert team of soldiers, remarkably staying two jumps ahead of the Joe team.
Meanwhile all is not going well with the Joes and their new commander General Rey. The Joe team is still under investigation by the government after the events in Union of the Snake. Add to that, their former puppet masters "The Jugglers" are assassinated and a mole within their group has wiped their computer systems clean. The team soon learns that the Red Shadows seeks to gain control of the world-wide operating system that is used to control the arsenals of weapons from nations around the world. But that's not even the worst of it, as the rumors are true, a long time member of the team will lose their life in this conflict.
Rise of the Red Shadows reprints the double-sized issues numbers 42 & 43 of the G.I. Joe series. In fact Devil's Due considers the story so monumental that issue #43 would be the last of the series. The company then launched their new title G.I. Joe: America's Elite with an issue #0 last year, picking up the story one year after the events in Rise of the Red Shadows. Long time fans may no doubt be shocked at the events in the book but as pointed out in the issue's commentary, the book had become perhaps too safe. While the Devil's Due version was far edgier than when the title was at Marvel, there was still the prevailing feeling that the main characters would always be safe. Clearly Devil's Due is saying this isn't your father's G.I. Joe anymore. Real world threats come with real world consequences and tragedies. Devil's Due continues to take the Joe Team in a dynamic new direction!
Reviewed by Tim Janson