As with the first volume, the 'G.I. Joe Field Manual Volume 2' is a wonderful visual delight. It follows its predecessor by coming in at a hefty 208 pages long, and like the first, it is packed full of tons and tons of sketches, drawings, descriptions, notes, and even a few cool painted background concept designs from the original cartoon movie. But unlike the first volume, this book is more expansive and covers the rest of the Sunbow series, the DiC series, as well as some of the commercial designs. However, because there seemed to have been some confusion with a few people on the first volume (not the fault of the book), this is only excerpts taken from the visual cartoon bible, NOT the complete one, so those wanting scenes, textual descriptions, and the like will not find that here. This volume's focus is on the characters and vehicle designs (with some ancillary notation), though we do get treated to a host of new equipment sketches as well.
Again, most of the 'Joes and Cobras on screen are shown, but where this book really shines, is, it also features art and notes of most of the guest stars, civilians, and the like. (I was especially thrilled to see the Battleforce 2000 commercial designs! Yeah, I know...) Wanna see all the JCOS, Pentagon members, or Army Generals and their aides? They're there. Maybe the genetically engineered Cobra "werewolves", "werebears", and other shapeshifters? Done! Well how about that super-spy who rooked us; Matthew Burke? Yup! Surely they don't have Destro's moat monster (version two)? Oh, they do! We even get images of the Coil Cultists that were supposed to appear in Sunbow's Season 3, but were cancelled when Hasbro went to DiC instead. Most guest stars are shown, but not all. And unfortunately one character design we didn't see, was the concept art of Metal-Head's grandma from the DiC series. Yes, yes, yes, I know. I also feel your pain. After not showing 'Snake Eyes in drag' in the first volume---and now this, some fans may question a purchase of this book or call a boycott. But I assure you dear readers; these slights can be overlooked for the greater good! ;) :P
What's also refreshing is, in addition to getting the basic stats on many of the common 'Joe and Cobra vehicles, we also get the names and stats of many of the in-show only vehicles that never made it to toy form and whose names weren't mentioned publically until now. That's a big deal, because now we know. And knowing is..., well, you know. (Or you should by now.)
If I had to pick a token gripe outside of wishing there would have been more notations and descriptions, it would be the Appendices that weren't in this book. Unless you're a member of the G.I. Joe Collectors' Club, you won't get the club newsletter. Well who cares, right? Wrong. Several issues had additional pages of the cartoon bible including PSA designs and G.I. Joe movie Cobra-La characters that were cut from this book. So those will be missed by non-club members. While unfortunate for some, this does have a silver lining because at least that information is still getting out to the public instead of not.
There is one final thing I'd like to mention, and that is both a big thank you to the authors, but also the contributors. In our increasingly computerized instant-gratification and entitlement culture, we often forget that not everything is instant, and we are not always entitled. This book did not have to happen. The information contained within both volumes could have been jealously guarded and stored away in a private collection and only shown to a select few. And that would have been totally cool, because that is the right of 'Joe archeologists who not only had to dig through history tracking down this stuff, but also had to invest significant time, energy, emotion, and money making connections and following new leads. (And for anyone who has ever gone after rare, highly sought-after collectibles decades upon decades old, it's expensive. Very, very expensive.) But to the credit of this team, they decided to go public and share the information, and at a tiny fraction of the cost it took to get it all in the first place. I don't know about you, but that's a class act in my book. Solid gold.
As I said in the review for the first one, this book is aimed for a niche audience and draws heavily on nostalgia, but if you are/were a part of that audience, or even newly exploring or re-exploring it, this is an absolute must buy!