"G.I. Joe's" future gets bright with the "G.I. Joe: Future Noir Special" miniseries launching in November. The mini, presented as two 56-page issues, is written by IDW Publishing editor Andy Schmidt with art by Giacomo Bevilacqua and takes the Joes on a breakneck-paced mission to a futuristic Tokyo, where they square off against a Cobra unlike any they've faced before. CBR News spoke with Schmidt about the highly-stylized black and white series.
"'Future Noir' is geared more towards fun, over-the-top adventure. The regular G.I. Joe books are more serious and grounded. 'Future Noir' starts off in a world that's clearly not the one we live in and just balloons out from there," Schmidt said of the series' style. "So, from a tone stand point, it's quite different. Also, it's a more action-paced story, it starts off in action and hardly ever stops to catch its breath."
Th series takes place in what Schmidt described as a "not-too-distant future." "It's a world with cybernetics, flying mobile bases, underground cults experimenting on genetic structures and creating monsters and so on," Schmidt said. "It's still got the military aspects, but this is definitely a different world and a different kind of Cobra."
The Cobra of "Future Noir" features an all-new terrorist leader, Schmidt told CBR. "There's a new character front and center called King Cobra, and his design is really great. We've got some classic characters like Dr. Mindbender and a few others, but the organization itself is really different than what we've seen before. Their goals are a little over-the-top."
On the Joe side, the series will star Duke and Scarlett, along with Snake Eyes, Sci-Fi, Roadblock and Agent Helix. "They're both a recognizable cast and a couple hand-picked for this adventure specifically," Schmidt said. "Sci-Fi wound up being my favorite to write because he had an emotional character arc during the series more than the others. I really enjoyed writing him a lot. And Duke was fun, too.
"This is a younger cast than what we're used to. They've never met a challenge they couldn't dominate so they're cocky, confident, and joking around most of the time, until things get deadly serious," the writer continued.
"In a lot of ways, this is like a science fiction/buddy cop movie."
The heroes' mission is to track down new biological weapons of mass destruction, Schmidt told CBR, and the trail leads to Tokyo. "The Tokyo we depict is a futurized version. It's not the real place at all. It has more in common with 'Blade Runner's' Los Angeles than current day Tokyo," Schmidt said. "Because it's so fictionalized, it could have been any city, really. But since we wanted the manga-influence, that was really a nod to the origins of manga and to the art style we've been enjoying and emulating to an extent for this project."
"G.I. Joe: Future Noir" will be published as two deluxe issues rather than using a more traditional miniseries format - there is enough content for about five standard-size issues - which Schmidt said "allows us to add some extra content in the back of the books that seemed like fun - pin-ups, character design type stuff."
IDW already publishes several distinct "G.I. Joe" universes: that of the ongoing and "Cobra" books, the movie universe, and Larry Hama's "Real American Hero," which continues the Marvel Comics continuity. Schmidt said, however, that "Future Noir" is unlikely to become a new line in its own right, though more stories in this vein are possible. "I don't think it'll develop into a monthly comic. We've got enough already, but if this is successful and folks like it and want more, I'd be up for doing another mini or two down the road," Schmidt said. "But that's all kind of cart-before-the-horse stuff. Let's get this one out there. It's very different, and based on that alone, fans might reject it. Or, it could be a breath of fresh air. We won't know for sure until orders come in and the book is in fans' hands."