PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


G.I. Joe: Sigma 6 #1

William Gatevackes

Dabb keeps the story simple, either because he thinks that kids wouldn't be smart enough to follow along or would be hopelessly lost if they had to devote a few seconds to thinking about the story.

G.i. Joe

Publisher: Devil's Due Publishing, Inc.
Subtitle: Sigma 6 #1
Contributors: Chris Lie (Artist)
Price: $2.95
Writer: Andrew Dabb
Item Type: Comic
Length: 32
Publication Date: 2005-11

The G.I. Joe toy line and comic books share a history which extends back twenty years. The toy line, which started in 1962 with a number of 12-inch dolls, underwent an overhaul in the early 1980's. Hasbro, the owner of the G.I. Joe license, decided to create a series of 3 ¾" "action figures", a style that first became popular with the toys Kenner released for the Star Wars movies in the late 1970s.

Hasbro called on comic writer Larry Hama to collaborate in the figure line. Hama created personalities and backgrounds for each member of the team and was given the task of writing the tie-in comic published by Marvel. Both the toys and the comic book hit the stands in March of 1982 and both were very successful.

The toy line came out with 13 waves from 1982 to 1994 and the comic book ended the same year. The toy line had a slight resurgence in 1997 and a bigger one in 2000-2001. It was during this second reincarnation that art studio Devil's Due acquired the G.I. Joe license and with Image Comics published a brand new comic book featuring many of the same characters from the Marvel run. Eventually, the studio broke from Image, creating its own publishing company and taking the license with them. Devil's Due currently lists six title featuring the G.I. Joe characters, including G.I. Joe: Sigma 6.

Last year, Hasbro did another revamp of the G.I. Joe toys. The figures are now eight inches tall, stylized versions of the characters created 24 years ago. The new line is called G.I. Joe: Sigma 6 and like its predecessor, a tie-in comic is being published to go along with it.

G.I. Joe: Sigma Six is designed to be an easily accessible, all ages book that is essentially an advertisement for not only the toy line but also the new cartoon series seen on the Fox network.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. After all, the Marvel series (and the cartoon that appeared around the same time) were created to give the toys a sales push. But the Marvel series transcended just being a toy tie-in, showing originality and well thought out storylines. The story in G.I. Joe: Sigma Six #1 is a bland, by-the-numbers tale that doesn't seem to expend much effort.

The comic is obviously aimed at children. But skewing the writing to a young audience doesn't mean it has to be boring or lack intelligence. I run with the attitude that it's never too early to have them appreciate good character and plot development. So the "it's only for kids" argument isn't going to hold water with me.

The story consists of G.I. Joe team member Duke being called upon for a search and rescue mission to find three lost scientists and the submarine they were riding in. Yes, one man sent to save three people and a five ton sub. Well, he isn't the leader of the G.I. Joe team for nothing.

While down there, he finds a secret Cobra mining installation under the command of Destro. Destro shanghaied the sub and its crew. The reason why he did this is not given. Possibly because they were getting too close to his operation, this in itself is hard to figure out, but apparently involves mining the ocean floor for "power crystals" of some sort.

The author, Andrew Dabb, throws in a bunch of stuff he thinks the kids might like: cheesy humor, robot troopers and radio controlled sharks. But these don't make up for a flimsy plot that stretches suspension of disbelief to the breaking point and beyond.

It's like Dabb has a mortal fear of confusing a child that picks up this book. Even though there are numerous characters that make up both the G.I. Joe and Cobra teams, the issue is essentially the Duke and Destro show. Actions seldom are given reasons and logic barely makes an appearance. Dabb keeps the story simple, either because he thinks that kids wouldn't be smart enough to follow along or would be hopelessly lost if they had to devote a few seconds to thinking about the story.

As a comic book, G.I. Joe: Sigma Six #1 is irritatingly dumbed down more than needed to reach its target audience. And, in comparison, it makes the first G.I. Joe comic look like it was written by Shakespeare. Just because you are trying to reach kids doesn't mean that the story should suffer.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.


'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.


ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.


The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.