In this review of Duke #2, Duke goes underground after escaping forces. He seeks out an old friend but is apprehended. Duke may have to make a deal with the devil to get out of this one.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Art and Main Cover by: Tom Reilly
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire
Variant Covers: Ricardo López Ortiz, Tyler Boss, Nick Dragotta, and Alex Cal Oliveira (ACO)
Release Date: January, 31, 2024
This review contains spoilers
Duke #2 – The Story
A civilian named Clutch sees a news bulletin on his phone. An American hero is wanted for murder and is on the run. Clutch lives in a mobile home in a junkyard and now needs to get some coffee. Soon he finds out he is not alone.
Duke comes to the door, asking for coffee himself. He is disheveled, his hair is not regulation, and he has stubble. The clothes are also filthy and tattered. Duke and Clutch exchange greetings, and a woman comes out. The problem is Clutch forgot her name; she storms out after smacking the man.
Duke needs help, he is wounded, and he collapses in Clutch’s arms. Clutch takes him into the garage and removes the bullets from his body. Duke, now recovering, recounts his encounter with the Decepticon jet and produces the device he procured. Clutch discovers it is a holographic image of the globe with Duke’s next destination marked. We have an interlude where we see Destro; he activates a button.
Clutch suggests he goes to Hawk or Falcon. Duke tells him Hawk did not believe him before and he does not want to involve his brother. Duke hears music. Rock and Roll opens fire on the two. Clutch uncovers the VAMP and starts an escape but Rock and Roll tracks them with drones. Rock and Roll is not the only one attacking, Stalker takes out the jeeps tires. After a brief scuffle, Duke and Clutch are apprehended and taken to the Pit.
Now the Pit is being used as a safe house for high-risk prisoners before transport. The two are taken to a cell and discover that they are not alone in this prison. The Baroness is bweing held and she proposes that they can come to an arrangement.
The art in Duke #2 is fantastic. There is a gritty military feel to this art. The characters are modeled excellently. It is a risk to show Duke as he appears and it pays off in this story. The Baroness also has a different appearance. Her hair is noticeably shorter and she is wearing a tank top and leggings. From the look of her glasses which are cracked, she may have been down in the Pit for a while.
The action sequence is drawn superbly along with the coloration. Rock and Rolls machine gun flashes are blinding showing how powerful his weapon is. There is also a lot of suspense. As Rock and Roll loads his gun, we are shown only his ammo belt and Destro is shown in shadows, not really giving his identity but anyone who is familiar with G.I. Joe is familiar with this character.
The story is fascinating. I am not always on board with crossovers but this is interesting. It really gives the feel of a cover up. Duke stumbled across something and it really looks like Hawk and the government is trying to keep it a secret. The main question is why, what are they protecting and why is Duke being ignored and worse hunted?
From all appearances it looks like the former members of G.I. Joe are following Hawk’s orders, even taking Clutch and Duke to the old decommissioned headquarters of the former G.I. Joe team.
Duke #2 is a story shrouded in secrecy and betrayal from all sides with beautiful artwork to boot.
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