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G.I. Joe: Above & Beyond (Movie Prequel Novel) [Paperback]

Max Allan Collins

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Book Description

22 May 2009
Directed by Stephen Sommers (The Mummy) and starring Dennis Quaid, Christopher Eccleston (Heroes) and Sienna Miller (Stardust), GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra explodes into cinemas on August 7, 2009. This thrilling official prequel novel tells the story of the gripping events that will culminate in GI Joe: Rise of Cobra, the major theatrical relaunch of the awesomely popular GI Joe franchise! Written by tie-in veteran and Road to Perdition scribe Max Allan Collins this is the story you must read before the brand-new movie hit theaters!

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Titan; Film tie-in edition edition (22 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848564074
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848564077
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.6 x 2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,858,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Max Allan Collins is an American mystery writer of novels, screenplays, comics, short stories, movie novelizations and historical fiction. He wrote the graphic novel Road to Perdition and has written tie in novels to the TV series Dark Angel, CSI, CSI Miami, CSI: NY, Criminal Minds and Bones, among others, as well as movie novelisations, including Air Force One, Saving Private Ryan, The Mummy, I-Spy and The X-Files: I Want to Believe.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Ummm... 10 Sep 2011
By Sci Fi Fan - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
...this book makes only a minor attempt, at actually being involved with the recent film, of which it claims to be a prequel. Not enough stuff that is interesting. Maybe, 2 things in the whole novel were part of the movie. Excluding characters, of course. Point is, if you're reading this book, you better not have watched the movie first!
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Superfluous Prequel to a Poor Premise 3 Sep 2009
By J. Ennis - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Max Allan Collins is usually a great author (Road to Perdition, the Quarry novels, and the Mike Hammer continuation novels are among his most successful works), but he freely admits in the beginning of his novelization of the movie screenplay - of which this prequel builds upon - that he is not someone who grew up with the G.I. Joe universe. He credits an associate, Matthew Clemens, with bringing him "up to speed". Let's also be clear that he is not personally responsible for having flushed the Joe mythos down the tubes in favor of the ridiculous Duke/Ana/Rex triangular origin story. Nor did the horrid buddy relationship between the film's unrecognizable Duke and the ever-juvenile Ripcord begin with him (though it really doesn't get any better in his care). We have the screenwriters to thank for this - and much more. In any case, what Collins is left to begin with has little to do with the G.I. Joe Clemens or the rest of us know and is a flimsy premise to base any franchise on, no matter what the title may be. That said, the most charitable thing I can share about this work is that every once in a great while it vaguely reminded me of the comics I grew up with. That is probably due to the insertion of minor details on secondary characters drawn from bios by Larry Hama. (Had Clemens suggested "Sierra Gordo" instead of "San Sabastiano", for instance, I might have been more impressed by his help.) Often times though, one gets the impression that Collins is merely putting up a cheap facade and that this is G.I. Joe in name only.

Sadly, instead of making the best of a bad premise, Collins gives us shoddy prose and silly scenarios that seem tailored to unsophisticated fourteen-year-olds. He doesn't seem to take this project very seriously and it shows. "President Martin Vincente certainly did not consider himself royalty; nonetheless, he was royally ticked off," begins Chapter 3(43). If that bit of writing appeals to you at all, then this may be your book. During Duke's covert mission, he tells the corrupt General Lopez, "I'm not exactly a geopolitical whiz, but I heard he disappeared. It was on Fox News and everything." (123) I will spare you the never-ending antics of Ripcord. His role in battle as the comedy relief to Duke's straight man might be excusable if any of the things he said was actually funny or clever. Unfortunately, he seems to be a graduate of the Bob Saget school of comedy.

Like it or not, it would seem that the one thing in this prequel that is crucial for Collins to get right is the relationship between Duke, Ana, and Rex. We are, after all, now basing the entire creation of Cobra on this romance (and bromance) gone wrong. For some reason though, Duke is constantly showing up on his dates with Ana with the uncouth Ripcord in tow. At one point, that crazy madcap Rip shows up at a fine restaurant in a T-shirt. "Couldn't find your 'Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out' T-shirt?" teases Duke. (99) Quite a knee-slapper there, Duke. Clearly, these are guys who take their job seriously. And Ana is, strangely, constantly chaperoned by her snobby scientist brother, Rex, who yearns to leave his testtubes aside and prove his manliness by fighting alongside Duke and Ripcord. The whole relationship seems very artificial and the scant two portions of the book where Duke and Ana meet seem inadequate for proper character development. I'd like to know how Duke feels about Rex's constant intrusions; wouldn't he be the least bit annoyed by this other guy? Collins doesn't go there. Ana, whom I imagine most readers already realize becomes a major villain, is portrayed here as a lily-white good girl. That she seems devoid of almost any specific emotional quality or thought save her reluctance to see her brother drawn into battle leads me to believe that the inevitable-brainwashing-to-come ought to be easy. She seems like an ill-defined synthoid to begin with. (She and the whole plot might melt away like wax at the press of a button.) Why Duke is gaga over her aside from her fair hair, one has little idea. Instead of giving us a strong feminine character to love, Collins squanders more time and effort in describing Walker, Texas Ranger-style bar fights that ill-fit G.I. Joe.

There are a few bright spots to be found; I thought the Vicente character was well thought-out. Duke's Able Team was more interesting at times than the Joes. There is a couple interesting spots the Joes get into and out of. None of this redeems this prequel from being anything other than disappointingly superfluous though.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A BIG disappointment. 14 Oct 2009
By T. Carpenter - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was just about as ridiculous as the movie yet just interesting enough to get through the whole thing or I would have put it away and read a different book. I've been a huge G.I. Joe fan since about 1983 and wish i had never bought this book. The best thing about it is the cover. And they've really screwed up the story line. If you want a really good Military Sci-fi read then pick up a Star Wars Republic Command book or one of the Halo books. Those were very well written, full of suspense and somewhat realistic action/combat. But in the G.I. Joe book they pulled grenade pins out with there teeth and Scarlet shot down an attack helicopter with here pistol crossbow.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent prequel 7 Sep 2009
By Joshua M. Champion - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Keeping in mind the genre, a need to suspend disbelief is necessary. But once you get into the story, it is captivating. I would recommend reading the movie adaptation first and this second. It filled in many of the "what if" gaps and references. I found it more intriguing in reverse order.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This promises to be better than the movie 16 July 2009
By J. Jonathan Nichols - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have been a Joe fan for 27 years. When I heard a movie was on the way, well...excited doesn't begin to cover it.
Then I heard of all of the "modifications" done to both characters and premise by the Hollywood gods and that excitement deflated. Fortunately, there is this new novel by Max Allan Collins and Co. That made me feel a bit better.
If you are a die-hard Joe fan, you may very well dislike the changes that were made. Keep in mind that this is not the fault of the author. Instead, enjoy the book's smooth prose style and its thrilling pace. Plus, Collins writes this far more in spirit with that of an actual military team. The references are accurate and the reader gets the distinct sense that people die doing this kind of work. I'm not so sure we'll get that from the film.
Think of it this way: "Above and Beyond" promises to be to the movie what Larry Hama's comics were to the cartoon series.
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