G.I. Joe's iconic spy returns in a properly fun and mysterious espionage comic.

Review: SCARLETT #1 – Double Oh Joe

From acclaimed writer Kelly Thompson and artist Marco Ferrari comes the return of G.I. Joe’s crossbow-wielding spy in Scarlett #1. Featuring color art from Lee Loughridge and lettering by Rus Wooton, this new chapter in Image/Skybound’s Energon Universe does a solid job of reestablishing Scarlett as a staple G.I. Joe character by giving her a unique espionage story that feels like an important building block to the larger connected story.

“Shana “Scarlett” O’Hara is about to take on the most dangerous black ops mission of her career: infiltrating the mysterious rising power in Japan known as Clan Arashikage. Her one lead is her former partner—Jinx—turned Arashikage enforcer.
Now, Scarlett must use her very particular set of skills to survive undercover…and discover a shocking weapon that could change the balance of power on Earth.”

Writing & Plot

Kelly Thompson brings back a classic member of the G.I. Joe cast by writing a proper espionage comic in Scarlett #1. Every aspect of this issue feels like a mixture of Fleming’s 007 and Marvel’s Black Widow. The opening sequence is right out of your average spy story – a big party for the ultra rich are bidding on attractive human stock. The details that arise here, however, and the aftermath of this scene, are what really set Scarlett apart. Scarlett’s friend and former partner, Jinx, makes an appearance, and much of the comic studies the pair’s backstory. Thompson uses this pair to build an emotional core to carry us through the rest of the series. It’s easy to become fully invested in Scarlett and Jinx’s backstory, with their personal puzzle pieces and shared experiences filling in gaps that make the story feel like a whole character-focused journey. Don’t worry though, because the action/spy stuff still hits plenty hard too. Thompson’s use of other classic Joe characters – including a last page reveal that put a big smile on my face – will please many-a fan while keeping them wholly compelled by the actual story. Kelly Thompson really knocked Scarlett’s reintroduction out of the park.


Art Direction

Despite the lofty espionage and franchise heights Scarlett #1 has in store, it retains a sort of grounded visual approach thanks to Marco Ferrari’s pencils and Lee Loughridge’s color art. Ferrari takes us along from luxurious manors full of armed guards to an unforgiving ninja-filled tundra fortress, and it’s all delivered with the scope of a big-budget spy movie. Ferrari’s character animations make for great fight choreography, and his designs make every classic Joe character instantly recognizable for long time fans. His panel direction stays pretty standard, with wide panels being punctuated by splash pages in a structure that makes the combat feel almost rhythmic. Character-focused dialogue scenes are broken into smaller panels to make scenes feel more intimate and break up the pacing. In this way, Scarlett’s pacing is basically perfect, making a 32-page comic feel like a full story. Lee Loughridge’s practiced color style is the perfect tonal match for this visual experience. His flat palette fills in Ferrari’s thin penciling perfectly, and makes for a unique approach to this spy comic that separates it from other works in this genre. One note I have to make is that, while his pencils are generally solid, they can be a bit inconsistent. There is one specific panel in the opening pages that I have not been able to get out of my head – and not in a good way. It’s a notable weakness in an otherwise stellar comic that is set to be a focal point of Skybound’s relaunch of G.I. Joe in this medium.


Scarlett #1 is a blast of an opening, both as a Joe comic and as a spy story. Kelly Thompson’s script brings the staple character back to the forefront with a story that is fun, character-focused, and feels like a proper espionage comic. Despite some inconsistencies with the penciling, Marco Ferrari and Lee Loughridge’s visual work is brilliantly directed and offers a unique look for this kind of comic book. Be sure to grab this new chapter in Image/Skybound’s Energon Universe when it hits shelves on June 5th!

Justin Munday
Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.
G.I. Joe's iconic spy returns in a properly fun and mysterious espionage comic.Review: SCARLETT #1 - Double Oh Joe