G.I. Joe comic Duke introduces - and then immediately kills off - a classic character

Art from Duke #3
(Image credit: Skybound)

The latest issue of Duke - the G.I. Joe spin-off set in the new shared Energon Universe with Transformers and Void Rivals - is out today. While it feels like a classic example of an issue designed to move various pieces of the larger story around, it ends on a moment of violence that helps set the comic further apart from Skybound's other Joe title, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Written by Joshua Williamson and drawn by Tom Reilly, with colors by Jordie Bellaire, and letters by Rus Wooton, it's another strong issue, and one that appears to have major ramifications for the series. 

Spoilers for Duke #3 ahead

Cover for Duke #3

(Image credit: Skybound)

Duke has been captured and imprisoned by old comrades Stalker and Rock 'N' Roll, alongside the villainous Baroness. Meanwhile his enemies at M.A.R.S. Industries are determined to take him off the board once and for all. Doing that involves hiring a classic G.I. Joe villain to execute him: Major Bludd.

In case you're unfamiliar with the character, Major Sebastian Bludd is an ex-soldier who served in both the Australian Special Air Service and the French Foreign Legion before becoming a morally blank mercenary. The character was introduced in 1983 and has been a persistent thorn in the side of the Joes ever since.

Art from Duke #3

(Image credit: Skybound)

As Duke broods on his fate (and on the existence of Transformers), Major Bludd and his mercenaries launch an assault on the prison. This offers Duke the chance to help Baroness and his friends escape, but leads to a face-to-face confrontation with Bludd. The two fight - a brutal scrap that ends with Bludd shooting Duke in the leg. Just as he has gained the upper hand, however, Baroness returns and shoots Bludd in the head, killing him outright. And with that, Duke writes out a potentially recurring classic character before we've really gotten to know them. 

It's a shocking moment and a great cliffhanger. There's only two issues of Duke to go after this and it's very clear that nobody is safe in the Energon Universe.

Duke #3 is out now from Skybound.

Joshua Williamson and Tom Reilly discuss Duke and the wider Energon Universe in our exclusive interview.

Will Salmon
Comics Editor

Will Salmon is the Comics Editor for GamesRadar/Newsarama. He has been writing about comics, film, TV, and music for more than 15 years, which is quite a long time if you stop and think about it. At Future he has previously launched scary movie magazine Horrorville, relaunched Comic Heroes, and has written for every issue of SFX magazine for over a decade. He sometimes feels very old, like Guy Pearce in Prometheus. His music writing has appeared in The Quietus, MOJO, Electronic Sound, Clash, and loads of other places and he runs the micro-label Modern Aviation, which puts out experimental music on cassette tape.