G.I. Joe: Renegades – The Complete First Season Blu-ray|
Did you ever want to be a Joe growing up? How about one that is on the run? Such is the case of the newest versions of your favorite Joes in an all new show called G.I. Joe: Renegades seen on The Hub for those of you out there with TV programming. For those that don’t you can get your first look at G.I. Joe: Renegades as Hasbro and Shout! Factory release G.I. Joe: Renegades – The Complete First Season on Blu-ray to stores everywhere this week. I grew up watching the original series so I had to see what this new series is all about.
Everyone knows the Joe’s; Duke, Scarlett, Tunnel Rat, Roadblock and Snake Eyes to name a few. What you may not know is their stories. This new show however takes thing back to before the Joes became the soldiers you know. Renegades starts when a newly created young Joe team goes on a spy mission to infiltrate Cobra Industries and things go horribly wrong. This results in an explosion of a factory that turns these honorable soldiers into wanted fugitives. And before you ask, no they are not for hire despite a strong A-Team vibe by the narrator during the opening credits. What happens after their fateful escape is 26 episodes of G.I. Joe action that I found to be just as enjoyable as the original show.
While it would be ludicrous and unsporting to give away any important secrets of this new telling of the Joes, I’ll highlight my favorite episodes from this Blu-Ray release. First up is the 2-part “Return of the Arishikage” which covers the origin of my favorite Joe, Snake Eyes. In this telling, we learn the reason for Snake Eye’s silence and his venomous rivalry with Storm Shadow. I particularly like this version as everyone know the animosity between the two ninjas, but there is an added element or two this time around that makes this story memorable. You also get to find out why Scarlet and Snake Eyes are always so in tune with each other.
Another favorite episode is the 2-part “Homecoming” episode that puts a little Christmas cheer into the Joe’s world. In this episode, the true face of Adam DeCobray is revealed to the Joes, while Duke rushes back to his home town to save his family from Cobra, What he will get is a trip down memory lane and a brief reunion with his family before he is greeted by some unwelcome company. Cobra sends out the Baroness to retrieve something that could ruin Cobra Commander and expose his secrets to the world. Another favorite is the 2-part conclusion “Revelations” that exposes many secrets only hinted at throughout the show. Sorry no spoilers from me.
Growing up I loved cartoons to the point that there probably isn’t an 80’s cartoon I haven’t seen, for better or worse. G.I. Joe was and still is probably the most patriotic show on the face of the planet and has spawned several new reiterations, including a hit movie, over the last several years. Of all the ones I’ve seen, I have to say that G.I. Joe: Renegades is my favorite second only to the original. Part of the reason for this is the storytelling found in these 26 episodes. Unlike most cartoons, Renegades, has a writing style that makes you want to see the season from beginning to end. Each episode plays off the previous in a way that if you happen to miss an episode you may be left out of the loop of a joke or story plot. Even when watching the show for the review it was easy to blow through several episodes without realizing it.
G.I. Joe: Renegades not only has a great storyline but it has a rather unique animation style that reinvents the Joes into a more modern era and setting. The unique art style and character designs were conceived by the late Clément Sauvé, a comic book artist, who passed on last year. His take on the world of G.I. Joe is refreshing and really pretty. The world Duke and the rest of the gang live in is brought to life beautifully with backdrops and environment that look like interactive paintings. Combined with a really clean animation style for the characters, Clément’s artwork the two blends incredibly well in such a way that it looks really smooth on Blu-Ray. What is even better is that they cleverly blend CG created vehicles into the world with the use of an art tone overlay. There were a few times where it was more noticeable, particularly in an early episode with mech suits and the random moments involving vehicle chases, but for the most part I was really impressed. G.I. Joe: Renegades also makes full use of your TV by displaying some pure G.I. Joe action in 1080p resolution with a 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen presentation.
Backing up some sweet visuals, is an impressive voice cast including Charles Adler (Cobra Commander), a man that has been doing G.I. Joe voices since the original cartoon in the 80’s. The amazing voice talent doesn’t stop there are Jennifer Hale, Clancy Brown, Lee Majors, Phil LaMarr James Marsden, Brian Bloom and even Khary Payton and André Sogliuzzo do some awesome voice acting to bring some of your G.I. Joe characters to life. All the audio heard in G.I. Joe: Renegades whether it be the futuristic energy gunfire of Cobra’s weapons to the sound effects and superb voice acting is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital Stereo which came off really crisp on my Surround Sound setup.
G.I. Joe: Renegades – The Complete First Season comes with 26 action packed episodes on 3 Blu-Ray discs, but that’s not all you get. Contained on each disc are commentaries by cast and crew for select episodes for an inside perspective by the folks that brought this show to life. The third disc also includes the featurette “ A Look Behind the Scenes at G.I. Joe: Renegades” taking you even farther into what it took to create the amazing visuals as well as seeing the faces behind the rag tag group of Joes. There is even a tribute feature to the late Clément Sauvé whose hard work brought about what you will see visually on this Blu-Ray release.
I went into the review of G.I. Joe: Renegades not knowing what to expect. What I found was a really enjoyable show that captured the G.I. Joe spirit while bringing the franchise in the current century beyond what the live action film did. The show has a great cast, an addictive story that is coherent from one episode to the next and an amazing visual style. Once I started watching this show I didn’t want to stop despite a few vibes that I could not shake no matter how hard I tried. If you like G.I. Joe, either as a newcomer to the franchise or a long time fan, G.I. Joe: Renegades – The Complete First Season on Blu-Ray is a definitely a show worth adding to your collection today.