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G.I. Joe: America’s Elite has had a rough year. Already reeling from the deaths of several long-time allies and the return of old enemies, things aren’t looking to get any easier for the Real American Heroes. June’s issue #12 sees G.I. Joe blood spilled and a resignation, while July brings the much-anticipated return of Cobra Commander. The man behind all of these trials, writer Joe Casey, stopped by Broken Frontier to discuss both G. I. Joe, and his upcoming Boom! Studios title, The Black Plague.

Broken Frontier - When you were offered the G.I. Joe: America’s Elite job, what did you want to bring to the Joe mythos? 

Joe Casey - My main goal - besides telling some entertaining stories - was to try and give the Joe characters a bit more depth in their depictions. Fans are really attached to these characters and I've been doing my best to try and give them real motivations and get into some deeper interaction between them. Ultimately, the readers will decide if I've succeeded or not...

BF - Your core team is comprised of what has been described as “the iconic characters.” Throughout the year, several reservists and newer characters have popped up in the title. Are there any of these “B” characters that you’d like to explore further?

JC - Yes, but I don't want to say who because those surprise guest parts are part of the fun.

BF - I think a number of people were surprised at Joe Colton as the new G.I. Joe Commanding Officer - whose idea was it? Why was Colton picked?

JC - I lobbied for him because, conceptually, he's the original "G.I. Joe". There's an iconography to that character that cannot be denied. I always thought he should be the Joe's CO. Now that I'm writing the book, he is.

BF - This interpretation of G.I. Joe outlived many of the 1980s properties, both initially, and now coming out of the 80s revival period. What do you see as the reason behind G.I. Joe’s longevity?

JC - Two reasons, I think... 1) because its military roots give it an authenticity of concept that is relevant to just about every generation, and 2) the characters are great, plain and simple.

BF - The return of Cobra Commander is the big talk about G.I. Joe right now. What was the reasoning behind keeping him off-camera for so long? Why is this the right time to bring the character back?

JC - Because CC deserves to be a credible threat and sometimes that entails keeping him off the stage for awhile. Whenever he shows up, it has to mean something. It has to have dramatic weight. My earliest memories of CC in the cartoon was that he was a raving lunatic, almost to the point of absurdity. I had no interest in playing him that way, as readers will see in the next few months.

BF - Loss and rebuilding have been strong themes through your first year on the title. What can fans expect to see in the coming months and year?

JC - I would have to say... more loss and a crisis that will necessitate more rebuilding.

BF - In June, you have a new book coming from Boom! Studios – could you give us a “dust jacket” summary for The Black Plague?

JC - The Black Plague is a badass supervillain that's just now reappearing in the underworld, and several warring factions now have to deal with him. Of course, there's a top secret twist to the whole thing, but you'll have to buy the book for that.

BF - What is it about villains that you find interesting to write about?

JC - I think villains - when written properly - have the potential to be more honest, more three-dimensional than superheroes. Villains are generally selfish, just like most people. So we can identify with them on a human level a little more easily than do-gooders.

BF - How did [artist] Julia Bacellar get attached to the book? What makes her work a good fit for the title?

JC - Ross Richie found Julia. She has a nice, clean style that works really well in the context of The Black Plague’s supervillain milieu.

BF – WildC.A.T.S., G.I. Joe, X-Men and Superman, to name a few – you’ve written some pretty significant characters and titles. What other characters or books would you like to try your hand at?

JC - A year or two ago, I would've said the classic Marvel characters - the Avengers, Iron Man, the FF - but now I'm writing all of them so I have no complaints about the comic books I've worked on.

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