G.I. Joe Union of the Snake is the prequel to the monumental Rise of the Red Shadows storyline that would shake the foundations of the G.I. Joe universe for many years to come. Union of the Snake is a complex, somewhat muddled book that collects issues #36 - 41 of the G.I. Joe comic from Devil's Due Publishing. I say muddled because there are a lot of storylines that run concurrently throughout the book which occasionally become a bit confusing. To start with, Cobra has obliterated a small town in Colorado but doctored the footage to make the Joe Team seem responsible for the tragedy in order to sway public opinion. The government begins investigating the Joe team and soon several members, including Snake Eyes are detained. The Joes find themselves in a tough spot, being attacked from various sides and having their roster limited.
Destro has assumed control of Cobra after Cobra commanders capture and is seeking to unlock the secrets of the Tempest, a powerful weapon created by Dr. Mindbender. Mindbender himself is now being held captive by Zartan and his Dreadnoks. Cobra Commander is captured by the Joe forces but ignores all attempts to interrogate him. Soon Zartan and the Dreadnoks break Cobra Commander out of the detention unit he is held in as Zartan again swears allegiance to him. Cobra Commander isn't so forgiving with Mindbender however. Meanwhile, Scarlett and Stormshadow bust Duke and Snake Eyes out of where they are being held leading to an exciting car chase as they try to escape from perusing government forces. Later a new player enters the game whose influence will be felt quite strongly in Rise of the Red Shadows...that is General Rey who comes aboard as the new Joe Team commander.
This book really seeks to tie up some various loose ends such as the fates of several Joe and Cobra members as well as Serpentor, as well as setting the table for "Shadows" with some of the events and the introduction of General Rey. While it comes off as maybe a bit rushed, it meets its goal and sets the table for future events. As usual the art by the team of pencillers Tim Seeley, Jason Millet, Emiliano Santalucia and inkers Cory Hamscher and Sean Parsons is fantastic. Bold without being over-powering.
Reviewed by Tim Janson