Duke #1 Review: A Real American Hero

Duke #1 review

G.I. Joe enters the Energon Universe in Duke #1 from Skybound and Image Comics, written by Joshua Williamson with art by Tom Reilly.

We reviewed the book on the Stack podcast. But in the interest of highlighting more about the title, here’s a summary of the conversation with our thoughts. And if you prefer the longer audio version, that’s below as well!

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Duke #1 Review:

After Void Rivals kicked off the Energon Universe, and Transformers expanded it, we’re now getting a Duke solo miniseries, as the classic G.I. Joe character goes rogue.

Host Pete LePage kicked things off noting that even as a fan of G.I. Joe, Transformers, etc, he initially wasn’t excited for the idea of the Energon Universe. But “this is awesome.” In particular, LePage appreciated how Duke’s trauma and PTSD were treated “realistically… A brilliant, smart move.”

Justin Tyler felt this book reminded him of “Captain America in the Nomad era… [A] man on his own without a country trying to figure out what to do, and constantly under attack. It’s a great first issue, and the tone of this universe is the part I’m really psyched about.”

Alex Zalben thought the art by Tom Reilly was “really great” and overall, this reminded him positively of the IDW G.I. Joe run from Paul Allor and Chris Evenhuis “that was similarly taking this big, bombastic, over-the-top concept and giving it a spy flavor… Joshua Williamson does that really nicely here.”

Zalben lauded Williamson for “experimenting in terms of form a lot lately,” comparing the pacing of the book and flashbacks to Williamson’s recent run on Superman for DC Comics. “The way that he [lays out] Duke’s trauma and PTSD is really smartly and emotionally done.”

Wrapping up, LePage compared this to the long-running G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Larry Hama, which is “the G.I. Joe we all know and love. But [having] a little bit of a spy/mystery thriller, where it’s more set in the real world… Is an interesting take, and [this issue] does a great job of sucking you into this new world.”

Duke #1 Official Synopsis:


Conrad Hauser has made first contact with an alien being and lived to tell the tale. But no one, not even Colonel Hawk, believes the story of the jet fighter converting into a colossal alien robot that nearly killed the man known as Duke. Now, one of the US Army’s most decorated soldiers is on the hunt for answers, drawn into a conflict that no amount of training could ever prepare him for. A war that only a real American hero has any chance of surviving…

Superstar writer JOSHUA WILLIAMSON (Superman, Batman) and artist TOM REILLY (The Thing, Ant-Man) kick off the first of four action-packed miniseries that will introduce the best and worst humanity has to offer in the Energon Universe.

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