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Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


A hearty welcome to those of you joining me for the first time. I started this read-through of Marvel's classic G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic a few years back, but my previous threads were abandoned and fell into archives. I am now re-starting it in hopes that I may finish or at least make it a lot further this time.

In between issues, I may discuss other comics or things of interest. Contribute, and have fun!

One favor I do ask is that you avoid specific spoilers. I'm sure there will be lots of folks reading for the first time. Stuff like "It's great how Roadblock is consistently portrayed as a gourmand despite being this giant machine gunner dude" is fine. Stuff like "The payoff for this is great when Roadblock wins the chili cook-off in the next issue" should be avoided.

I'm restarting from the beginning both to allow those without archives to catch up and to give myself a bit of a buffer while I write up new issues. I plan on two or three updates a week at least until I burn through the backlog, and then we'll just see where it goes.

I'll post more stuff here soon, but let's get this thing going, shall we?

Nipponophile fucked around with this message at 23:23 on Oct 3, 2017

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Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


The following is a classic Nipponophile post, presented in its original format:

The G.I. Joe action figure line was launched by Hasbro in 1982 as part of a multimedia blitz that included the popular cartoon and a series of comics published by Marvel. While most know of the cartoon, which was decidedly non-violent to fit Saturday morning sensibilities, many have no idea that the comic would have made legitimately good 80s action movies. This is largely due to the influence of writer Larry Hama.

The job of writing G.I. Joe fell to Hama largely because nobody else wanted it. Writing merchandising tie-ins always involves heavy corporate oversight and requirements to work in the new toys as they launch. It was hardly an environment to foster creativity, but Hama brought his A game. Hama had previously written a pitch to Marvel for a new series focused on the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doing Cold War espionage type stuff, but it was rejected. Many elements from this pitch made it into G.I. Joe, which is why they wind up fighting Russians and generic Middle Eastern nations in addition to Cobra. An Army veteran from the Vietnam era, Hama used his own experience to throw in details which added an extra bit of authenticity. There are also lots of ninjas.

So join me in taking a trip down memory lane, or explore this hidden gem for the first time. Let's Read G.I. Joe #1!





AMERICA, gently caress YEAH!

Our story opens on a train traveling towards Washington D.C. Dr. Adele Burkhart, one of the nation's top nuclear scientists, is scheduled to testify before Congress regarding the Doomsday Project, a plan for global mutually assured destruction. Her military and Secret Service escorts are on high alert as she begins a press conference.



That sound? It's COOOOBBBBRRRAAAAAAAAAA!!!



The Secret Service are no match for Cobra and their gun-cameras, so Dr. Burkhart is quickly captured. The Baroness escapes with her through the window using a rapidly-inflating helium balloon and harness.

Cut to the Pentagon, where top brass are discussing what this will mean. The good doctor has a head full of military secrets, but not just anyone could make effective use of them...





The call goes out, and the Joes' training in their secret underground base is interrupted. Not everyone seems to be enthusiastic about a rescue.



The Joe CO Hawk delivers the mission briefing. Cobra has taken the doctor to a small Caribbean island, where they have her secured in an old Spanish fort. There will be a two phase assault. Grunt (Infantry), Stalker (Ranger), and Short-fuse (Mortarman) are to launch a diversionary attack on the island's airfield, leaving a single light aircraft intact. Scarlett (Covert Ops) and Snake Eyes (Ninja) will infiltrate the fort and destroy the generators that power the defenses. Flash (Laser Weaponry) and Breaker (Communications) are responsible for disabling the radar, which will open the door for phase 2.

Short-fuse voices his opinion that Dr. Burkhart could be considered a traitor for her exposure of top-secret projects.



We haven't even started the mission yet, and already a general and at least three of the Joe team think their target might be better dead than rescued. Cut to the island, where Dr. Burkhart seems aware of this fact as well.



Phase 1 is go! While Cobra may have been prepared for the Joes' assault, they certainly did not expect air support in the form of the J.U.M.P. (Jet Unit - Mobile Propulsion)!



Cobra's troops are routed, but Cobra Commander seems unfazed. It seems the diversion plan was too simple for a master schemer like him.




Meanwhile, Flash and Breaker are outside the radar station attempting to tap into the cable, only to find it secured inside solid steel pipe.



The fort team begins their infiltration while the airfield team carries out their attack, but something seems a bit off...



Now that the radar is dealt with, the heavy assault team consisting of Hawk, Steeler (Tanker), Rock 'n Roll (Machinegunner), Zap (Anti-tank), Clutch (Driver), and Grand Slam (Laser Artillery) hits the beach to provide armored support.



As the airfield and radar teams proceed to the rendezvous point, they pass through the fishing village, where we learn that unlike the cartoons Cobra actually is a ruthless terrorist organization.



The infiltration team destroys the generators, and it seems the Joes' plan may be working, as Dr. Burkhart is loaded into a convoy headed towards the airfield. With their defenses weakened and the heavy assault team bearing down on the fortress, Cobra looks to evacuate the doctor using the remaining aircraft.

Meanwhile, Rock 'n Roll is riding his minigun-armed motorcycle through the woods while one-handing an M-60.



As the Cobra convoy passes through the fishing village, suddenly, AMBUSH! During the firefight, Stalker swoops down to rescue Dr. Burkhart, but...



While the assault team is stalled by heavy resistance, Scarlett and Snake Eyes attempt to locate Dr. Burkhart, only to find Cobra Commander waiting for them. After forcing them to drop their weapons, he lowers a 12 inch thick steel door, cutting off any hope of reinforcement.



Burkhart knows that the timer is actually for explosives intended to destroy the entire fort. She struggles with Cobra Commander, earning a bullet for her trouble.



As the Joes tend to Burkhart, Cobra Commander and the Baroness escape through a trap door to a hidden passage. With no time to chase after them, everyone piles into the escape helicopter that Cobra Commander had intended to use himself.



That's right, Dr. Burkhart, and knowing is half the battle. G.I. JOE!!!

The issue closes on Cobra Commander and the Baroness making their escape in the single plane left at the airfield. Cobra Commander remarks that he must consider this operation a defeat, but they will rest and regroup at their true headquarters...

NEXT ISSUE: When Quinn the Eskimo gets here...

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


The following is a classic Nipponophile post. It has been modified from the original to fit your television.




Generals Flagg and Austin discuss the situation at the Pentagon. The closest settlement is a Russian research station a hundred miles away. Did the Russians do this? If so, why would they stage such an overt attack on Americans? More intel is needed, so the decision is made to call in the G.I. Joe team, many of whom are currently enjoying leave after their last assignment.







En route to their drop point, Gen. Flagg briefs the Joes. The primary mission is recon, to determine what the Russians are up to. If contact is initiated, withdraw and contact command for further instructions. After airdropping in, the team takes up position outside the Russian station.



After several hours of fruitless observation, a stranger appears. Puzzling, since the nearest settlement other than the American research station is over a thousand miles away.



The Eskimo is quickly in and out of the station, which brings up further questions.



The Joe team investigates and is greeted with a grim surprise.



Breaker notes that the key part of the equipment, the frequency modulator, is gone, no doubt taken by the Eskimo. There's no time for further thought as Snake Eyes spots a bundle of C4 rigged to blow. The Joes barely make it out as the station erupts behind them. After regrouping, Stalker makes the decision to follow and attempt to recover the modulator in an effort to get to the bottom of things. As they race across the snow, they receive a fax from HQ. Gen. Flagg has located a dossier based on pictures Stalker took and transmitted earlier.



After miles of travel, the Joes catch up with Kwinn, who has made camp in the shelter of the wrecked plane which he arrived on.



A master of multitasking, Kwinn strips the Joes of their equipment as he delivers exposition.



Stalker wonders why Kwinn is telling them all this, when his records indicate that he never divulges information about his employers. Kwinn's answer is simple. Without their weapons and equipment, they will not live to tell anyone. Kwinn takes off for his rendezvous, unaware that good old American ingenuity is already working on a solution to the problem.



Snake Eyes insists on bringing along the C4, which Kwinn left behind after removing the detonator caps. The ice boat makes good time and the Joes cut ahead of Kwinn to reach a natural spot for an ambush.



The explosives drop the bridge on top of Kwinn's sled, but...



As Kwinn is distracted by Scarlett, Snake Eyes leaps for the sled with their weapons. He still has spare ammo! But Kwinn remains one step ahead.



With the Joes at gunpoint, Kwinn explains that he regrets taking this mission from the Russians. After all, they are attempting to utilize fear and a weapon and "Fear is the greatest killer of all! Greater than snow or ice!" He feels it would be best to turn the modulator over to the Joes, but he is honor-bound to obey the obligations of his contract to the letter. As he drives his sled off, Kwinn wonders if there might be another way.





Thus ends issue 2, but don't worry. It won't be the last we'll see of Kwinn!

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


I had a little bit of a medical issue over the weekend. Now that I can walk unassisted again, I'd like to present the following classic Nipponophile post:

This next issue probably would have made a good episode of the cartoon series. With our expectations thus lowered, let's read issue 3!





As the clean up proceeds, Gen. Flagg orders the Joes to take the robot back to the Pit for holding until the experts from Aberdeen can pick over it. Cobra Commander seems oddly pleased with this turn of events.



The Joes haul the robot down to the lowest level of the Pit as Steeler expounds on its construction. The Pit is built with living quarters, computers, and life support systems on the bottom two levels, all of which can be sealed by automatic blast doors, ensuring maximum personnel survival in the event of a nuclear strike.



Scans show no active mechanical or electronic devices and no chemical explosives. With the robot secured, normal activity resumes. Scarlett and Hawk put in an appearance at the Chaplains' Assistant School social tea, being held upstairs in the Motor Pool. Stalker, Flash, and Snake Eyes head to the armory to secure everyone's weapons; and Steeler, Breaker, and Clutch whip up some breakfast in the canteen.

While Hawk does his best to maintain cover...



the rest of the Joes set about their tasks.



Meanwhile, at Cobra.



Uh oh, did no one think to scan for chemical timers? This oversight may prove deadly, as the robot's disembodied hand proceeds to hack the Joe security mainframe to locate occupied rooms and seal them off with the automatic blast doors. With the Joe team out of the way, the robot hand begins to reactivate and reassemble the rest of the robot.



However, Steeler's got a bad feeling about this. It's no time to sit and wait.



In the armory, Flash has a plan of his own. Any explosives strong enough to blow the door would kill them with the blast. His laser rifle on high power would burn through easily, but would probably burn up all oxygen in the room before it cuts through. The answer is to focus on the lock with a low power laser and hope it burns through before the air is gone.

The Joes who are already loose enter the research lab to find...



With no weapons, the Joes are forced to improvise. Clutch stops by a bathroom and dumps several bottles of PX aftershave in a bucket.



At Cobra HQ, Cobra Commander explains that their robot is programmed to fight its way out of the Joes' radio-shielded HQ, then transmit its position which will be triangulated by Cobra's helicopter-borne directional scanners.

Breaker, Steeler, and Clutch try to remain ahead of the flaming robot but suddenly lose sight of it. Where could a ten foot tall fiery robot possibly hide?





Question answered. The Joes make a run for it and take the elevator to the garage area, only one level below the surface. The robot climbs up the elevator shaft after them, deftly dodging an artillery piece dropped at his head. With little time left, Clutch comes up with a plan. They scrounge some paint and a sheet of aluminum.



The crash echoes through the motor pool, as Hawk assures the chaplains that it "must have been some sort of acoustical phenomenon."

Unaware of their robot's fate, Cobra's assault squadron is nearing bingo fuel.



Flash's laser finally cuts through the armory door and his group meets up with the others as they examine the robot's wreckage. Unfortunately for the Joes, Cobra's robot engineers saw The Thing recently...



A quick shot from Flash drops the head, but it then splits open to release a dozen tiny "bugs", walking transmitters which break for the surface. As Breaker struggles to get the internal sensors back online, the rest of the crew tracks and swats the bugs as best they can. Eleven are accounted for, but Breaker fixes the sensors just in time to spot the final bug exiting the top of a ventilation shaft on the surface!





Out of fuel, with no signal to track, Cobra is forced to abandon their assault. As smashed bug parts rain down to the bottom of the Pit, the Joes let out a hearty cheer.




For those tuning in for the gritty military action I promised, don't worry. Next issue sees a return to form with a Montana survivalist militia and nuclear terrorism!

Nipponophile fucked around with this message at 02:29 on Oct 12, 2017

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Alacron posted:

Got a repeated image here.

Fixed now.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


I think I mention this in a couple of issues, but at this time the toy line, which drove the brand, barely included any Cobra options. There were no Cobra vehicles at all, and the only figures were a generic Cobra soldier and a generic Cobra officer. Cobra Commander was available, but only through a special mail-in promotion.

This meant that the comic staff were free to develop their own aesthetic when it came to Cobra's armory. However, while some of the original characters they created crossed over and were turned into figures (most notably the Baroness), all these weird tanks and helicopters just disappear and are replaced by the new toy designs as the line is expanded.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Let's read issue 4!







The above turns out to be film shot by FBI informants. As the lights go up on the Joe briefing room, we learn that the Pentagon has found ties between Commander Wingfield's militia and Cobra. The Joes are assigned the task of infiltrating the organization to determine just how deep these ties go.



Hawk and Grunt arrive with a fresh busload of recruits and note that some of the others have brought their families with them. Wingfield apparently encourages this, as it gives him an additional hold on the men.



The inside team goes through the motions of basic training, while trying not to look too good at it. As they do PT, Hawk makes a plan to sneak a look in the armory that night. Meanwhile, Snake Eyes makes plans of his own.





Hawk sees that Snake Eyes has the HQ meeting covered, so he and Grunt proceed to the armory as Snake Eyes slips into the rafters to eavesdrop. Wingfield states that they can no longer remain on the defensive, but must now take the offensive! His officers express their misgivings, but Wingfield has a plan.



Basically the same thing the Lectroids were threatening in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. The second nuke is buried beneath the camp. In the event that their strike on the Soviets fails, they can set it off and the American military will assume a Soviet first strike and thus retaliate, giving Wingfield posthumous revenge on the government when the Soviets launch their own response. Meanwhile, in the armory...



Hawk and Grunt manage to trip a silent alarm (maybe one that Cobra set up?), alerting Wingfield's men who eventually overpower them by sheer weight of numbers. Wingfield takes this as a sign to set his plan in action and orders his right hand man Carruthers to get the B-29 prepped for launch. Snake Eyes uses the distraction to break into the radio shack and call for reinforcements. The prisoners are set to be executed at dawn, but...



As the teams regroup, the B-29 roars into the air. Hawk rushes to the airfield to try to intercept with one of the F-86s. Snake Eyes heads back to see what Wingfield is up to as Grunt hangs back to provide covering fire.



Hawk gets a Sabre in the air, but as luck would have it, he grabbed the one that was down for radio repairs.



He quickly catches up to the slower bomber. Hawk realizes that the B-29 is a sitting duck against him, but can't even call for Carruthers to surrender with no radio. His best option is to target the engines and force Carruthers to bail out.



Unable to contact his bomber, Wingfield sets his contingency plan into motion and activates the timer on the nuke beneath the camp. Though they don't know the details of the plan, the dependent families become agitated and one mother takes her son and prepares to leave.





Wingfield's wife Shary reveals the location of the nuke, but Wingfield had the only disarm code. With only minutes to spare, Zap gets to work.



Grunt struggles to keep the detonator aloft as Zap torches through the supporting spokes.



Stalker is so impressed with this feat of strength that he spontaneously turns white. Later, Hawk assures the Joes that experts determined the shielding on the bomb to be intact, so there should be no worry of radiation poisoning.



Saving the world with the Joes is certainly a thankless job, but not a tankless job, as we will see next issue.

So, another three or four issues of standalone stories, then the first long arc kicks off. Right around then, Hasbro launched their second wave of G.I. Joe figures and vehicles, so we'll also meet some new faces.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Alacron posted:

Snake Eyes can be pretty sassy when he wants to be can't he?

There are precisely two times when Snake Eyes is allowed to really express himself. You've just seen one. The other is in about 150 issues.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Yeah, so right now I'm in the middle of looking for a new job, an obnoxious and stressful assignment at my current job, and cutting back on my drinking, all of which is leaving me irritated, depressed, and just not in the mood to post very much.

For what it's worth, I'm sorry. I know it's no fun waiting forever between updates.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Here, have this crap:





Since Scarlett doesn't seem to "get it", the guys set out to explain what sets the MOBAT apart.



Steeler explains that participation in the Armed Forces Day parade is General Flagg's brainchild. It seems some of the top brass were getting concerned about using such a high-value asset in the Joes' sensitive operations, due to the potential to be targeted for capture. Flagg wants to take the opportunity to march it under their noses and prove that the MOBAT is indistinguishable from a regular tank. Gen. Flagg covers his actions by sending a hand-carried memo to Gen. Austin at the Pentagon, but nefarious forces are at work. Cobra infiltrators operate the airport security, and the X-ray film follows a circuitous route until...



The courier bears the information to Cobra Commander himself, who is excited to hear the news.



Later, a nervous Gen. Flagg mutters to himself that "They should be arriving in about ten minutes." But who?



Breaker and Clutch note that it's a bit weird for Steeler to have the gunsight magnification cranked up to max, given that they're not even carrying any live ammo, but Steeler seems to have his own reasons.



The parade is stopped to allow crosstown traffic through, and the Joes are mystified as the Springfield drum majorettes unfurl banners along either side of them.





Admiral Ackbar would be proud, Steeler. Clutch guns the engine and pulls away as the Springfield band reaches into their instruments to pull out small arms and anti-tank weaponry. The MOBAT attempts to escape via the streets, but this is New York.



Cobra is jamming all comm frequencies, so the Joes can't call for help. Rather than remaining stuck in gridlock, Clutch makes a desperate move.



The MOBAT turns a corner and manages to briefly elude its pursuers. The Cobra capture team contacts Cobra Commander to inform him that they are proceeding cautiously, but he reminds them that they cannot run around downtown Manhattan with machine guns and anti-tank weaponry very long without drawing unwanted attention.



Clutch picks up on the fact that one of the troopers was speaking direct to Cobra Commander. With the limited range on the backpack radio being used, that means Cobra Commander can't be far away! Steeler decides to turn the tables and attempt to capture one of the Cobra troops and force him to reveal his commander's location. Meanwhile, Cobra's sensors have located the Joe tank. A comm linkup is made from the ops HQ to the team in the field.



The Cobra troops realize that the Joes would have fired by now if they could have, so they turn and begin to deploy anti-tank weapons until...



The MOBAT resumes the parade route with prisoners in tow and approaches the reviewing stand where Gen. Flagg and the other brass await. As they near the stand, Clutch's sensors light up. He's got a bead on what must be Cobra Commander's position.



As the other VIPs abandon the reviewing stand, Gen. Flagg draws his sidearm and foolishly attempts to stand up to a tank.



Surprise! Cobra was in position all along!





Later, at the Pit, as Gen. Flagg is tended to, Steeler explains his plan to force the Cobra troops to surrender by firing a warning shot, but Flagg is confused.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Hey guys! So... dropping comments, in addition to providing me motivation to keep working on this thing, also serves the important purpose of spreading out updates so that we don't have a billion images on a given page.

I'll take care of this one, but I'm expecting your help in the future!

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


This issue sees the introduction of the October Guard, G.I. Joe's Soviet counterpart. Let's read issue 6!





The Joe team arrives back at the Pit from a hairy mission, looking forward to some downtime, but no such luck.



In the briefing room, Hawk explains the objective: recovery of a top-secret experimental Soviet aircraft from the mountains of Afghanistan. The anti-gravity tech on board would be quite the catch, but the Russians are scrambling to retrieve it and Cobra has taken an interest as well. Afghan rebels have captured the plane and agreed to hand it over to the Americans, so getting it out will be the Joes' job. Hawk's plan is to airdrop a vehicle that can't be much good because they never made a toy of it.



When Hawk states that this mission will be on a purely volunteer basis, every hand in the briefing room shoots up. Having expected this, Hawk reveals his pre-selected team: Stalker, Scarlett, Clutch, Steeler, Grand Slam, and Breaker. Later, while the Joes are airlifted towards their destination and Clutch awkwardly hits on Scarlett, sinister workings are afoot back at the Pit.





What is this treachery? Say it isn't so, Hawk! Unaware of this betrayal, the strike force makes landfall in the Hindu Kush mountains.



Remember when militant Afghan insurgents were the good guys? ... Yeah, that dates this book a bit.



...and arming them couldn't possibly backfire in any way... right?

Our crew quickly gets to work assembling the marvel of engineering, the RTV.



They're ready to roll in a matter of minutes.



As the Joes head out for the border...



The crew settles in to their positions, unaware of the forces observing them.



An hour later, the RTV comes up on a canyon not marked on the charts. As they discuss their options for crossing it, the Joes suddenly come under fire.



Stalker asks Clutch to shift the RTV to a better firing position, but...





The October Guard are pushed back by superior firepower. As they duck behind available cover in face of the onslaught, Horrorshow asks Col. Brekhov "What's our plan?"



The Guard close in with the Joes and fierce hand-to-hand fighting ensues. Just then...





to be continued...

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Thanks for all the replies, guys. A little discussion makes it more fun for everyone, me included.



I haven't commented on the art much, but I love that cover.



Cobra Commander has his priority set on retrieving the Russian aircraft, so he directs his forces towards that goal and leaves a token force of two Vipers to handle the execution of the G.I. Joe and October Guard teams. Even in the face of imminent death, Clutch seems strangely optimistic.





Turns out Clutch had palmed his remote control for the VAMP's guns and was able to work it without the Cobras noticing. Of course, now that the immediate threat is gone, prior hostilities threaten to flare up.



"Oh stewardess, I speak jive."



A couple of the Joes express their displeasure. In the case that the cargo is lost, they are supposed to break radio silence and call for an evac. Stalker asks what is to prevent the October Guard from taking off after the plane if they leave, and "Besides, what am I going to say to Hawk? 'Gee, we almost had it back safe, but Cobra came and took it away.'?" With some misgivings, a temporary truce is reached.



During the previous fight, Breaker had the presence of mind to plant a radio tracer on the RTV. After the Joes help the Guard repair their vehicle, both teams launch into hot pursuit. The trail leads them into Iran and through a firefight with an Iranian border patrol. Later, the radio tracker comes to a halt.



A scan of the fortress reveals nothing but solid walls, so Stalker straps on the JUMP jet to take a closer look.



Cobra Commander quickly realizes that his executioners have failed, but issues orders to allow the enemies into the fortress. Once inside, they can be more easily disposed of. Meanwhile, Stalker doesn't see any openings but spots an odd concentric pattern on the roof. He's concerned that it might be an alarm system, but Col. Brekhov states that his team has an alarm interference device on hand.



The teams split up to assault the fortress from opposite sides. While Clutch is left outside to provide fire support and sexually harass Scarlett ("If you want to touch up your eye-shadow, I'll let you use my rear-view mirror"), Steeler and Breaker head to the roof via JUMP jet, while the other Joes search for a way in on the ground. Before Flash can set his laser rifle to opening a hole, a door springs open for the G.I. Joe team. Meanwhile, the Russians send their man Schrage to the roof with a grappling hook. As the roof team examines the pattern there, he is ultimately the one to recognize it as a "hot plate".





As Stalker's team penetrates further into the fortress, he is fortunate enough to make his "spot traps" roll.



They continue to proceed onward, past a deadfall and through a flash flood, thanks to quick thinking by Scarlett.



Stalker's team hears a hissing sound. Is it gas? Nope! Spitting cobras!



After fighting through some more Cobra troops and the judicious use of plastic explosive...



Cobra Commander suddenly appears with a detachment of troops, and realizing that delegation may have been a problem...



The Joes prepare to board the RTV and move out, but...



Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Choco1980 posted:

So uh, do we get anything further on the whole Hawk as a double agent thing, or was he doing a triple agent routine to ensure the decoy was Cobra's target?

The second thing.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Choco1980 posted:

what does that mean by "mickey mouse logos"?

The first version had a bad printing with low detail on the Cobra logo on his chest. Collectors started calling it the "mickey mouse" version because I dunno, collectors?

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


One more for the weekend, thanks to the extra hour we got.

So I know we talk about Larry Hama a lot, but there were a handful of issues that he didn't write, including this next one. The writer here is Herb Trimpe, who served as artist for most of the early G.I. Joe comics.

One thing you may have noticed is that Cobra isn't using any of their distinctive vehicles yet, like the HISS tank or the FANG helicopter. The simple explanation is that they didn't exist yet. The initial launch of G.I. Joe action figures was very light on enemies, offering only a generic Cobra trooper and officer. Even Cobra Commander was only available via mail order. As a result, Trimpe had to come up with his own vehicles to participate in this assault. Personally, I think he did a great job of making original creations that fit into the Joe idiom. You can judge for yourselves. Let's read issue #8!





That figure with the billowing rain slicker is no other than Cobra Commander, who has his binoculars focused on a familiar silhouette.



Elsewhere, we find the Joes conducting training under Arctic conditions. Some of them are taking it more seriously than others.



Hawk interrupts to inform the Joes of their new mission. A new satellite is being put into orbit that can detect the network of undersea launch platforms that Intelligence says Cobra is building. The Joes are assigned to protect the launch, as there is evidence Cobra is aware of these plans.



Meanwhile, Cobra Commander docks at one of the underwater launch bases in the Gulf of Mexico.



Cobra is indeed aware of the satellite launch intended to detect their platforms.



As Cobra plans their attack, the Joes arrive at Cape Kennedy to plan their defense.



Flash and Breaker are assigned to remain with the shuttle orbiter at all times, including launch, orbit, re-entry, and landing. The next morning, the crawler moves the shuttle into position.



As the shuttle reaches the launch pad, Hawk receives a call from Stalker in the outer ring. "They're coming out of the ocean with stuff like we've never seen before!"



The launch countdown can't be hurried, so the Joes fight for time. Grand Slam hits a SEA legs with his cannon, but return fire quickly destroys his gun. The Joes in the outer ring attempt to regroup.



Steeler decides that the best defense...



With the first wave foiled, the Cobra amphibious assault guns move forward. Stalker radios Hawk with a sitrep and learns that Hawk has already sent the rest of the team to reinforce. Hawk has been following the battle from his position on the launch gantry. The Cobra assault guns catch the MOBAT with a land torpedo.



Gimli and Legolas these guys are not.



Only Hawk stands in position to defend the shuttle.



Cobra Commander gloats over the fact that at least one Joe much have perished in the backblast from the launch. But no! Hawk managed to duck into an emergency blast shelter with seconds to spare. He loads the rest of the Joes into a chopper to follow the retreating Cobra Commander back to his base. Before long, they spot a Cobra seabase floating on the surface, seemingly undefended.



Though they radio the shuttle crew in orbit, an evasive movement burn will take minutes to execute, and the missile is only seconds away.





The Joe assault on the Cobra seabase proceeds successfully, but...



Cobra Commander broadcasts that the base is set to self-destruct in five minutes. Disarming the device would be impossible, given the time.



The Cobra troops prove all too loyal and go down with the ship.



The Joes' ammo is soaked! Their only chance lies with Zap and his solid fuel rocket projectiles.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


So here's the last real "stand alone" comic to come up for a while. Like the last issue, this one was also not written by Larry Hama.





As the Joe team executes a no-knock raid on a Cobra safehouse, the Cobra techs attempt to dump their data.



Cobra Commander briefly gloats before remotely detonating the cabin, but Breaker escapes with some critical computer tapes. They mention an upcoming assassination attempt involving U.S. diplomat Brian Hassell, who is conducting talks with the Middle Eastern nation of Al-Alawi. Hassell's talks are crucial to moving Al-Alawi into the U.S. sphere of influence, so the Joe team is assigned to his defense.



Cobra Commander receives the bad news that the Joes are escorting Hassell, but he seems strangely excited at this news.

As we catch up with the diplomat, he is playing out the last of his vacation time on the French Riviera while his escorts attempt to convince him to maintain a low profile. As they hit the beach, Cobra frogmen attempt an assault only to be repelled by Clutch's well-hidden ordinance.



Scarlett and Hassell make a quick retreat to their hotel room for Hassell to retrieve his bags. When they go to exit, the door is locked, and there is a distinctive ticking sound outside...





Meanwhile, in London, some of the other Joes are following up on the trail of a known arms dealer...



But only seconds after this exchange, Sutherland is on the radio to Cobra command, reporting his situation. The address delivery was planned all along! As a reward, Sutherland receives a fatal shock in order to minimize loose ends.

Clutch and Scarlett approach their rendezvous point at an airfield in France, only to be pursued by Cobra troopers. While Scarlett discourages pursuit with a few grenades, Clutch drives their car up the cargo ramp as the plane begins to lift off. Just moments into the flight, Scarlett notices that the plane is headed the wrong way! The pilot is a Cobra plant! She quickly knocks him out, but...



Clutch manages to crash-land the plane on a flat stretch of mountain, allowing Haskell and the Joes to continue onwards in their car. Meanwhile, Stalker and Snake-Eyes are investigating the Amsterdam address they got from Sutherland. It leads them to a brothel, and when Stalker heads upstairs, he is greeted by a hologram of Cobra Commander!



Stalker manages to contact Snake-Eyes with his last breath, and Snake-Eyes blows open the door with a placed charge. Clutch and Scarlett, unaware of the position they are in, continue to drive Haskell through the French Alps in the face of stiff opposition.



With the pursuing cars out of the picture, enemy helicopters drop gas grenades on the car. One manages to land inside the vehicle, unnoticed...





Haskell restrains the Joes with the intention of pinning the assassination on them after he escapes, but Clutch and Scarlett immediately set to freeing themselves from their bonds. As Haskell heads downhill to the chateau to meet the Al-Alawi ambassador, the Joes fight their way free and locate a pair of skis in the process.





While it seems everything has gone wrong...



At Cobra HQ, Cobra Commander receives the news. He is not angry, for "It was only a game, and there will always be... another game!"

With this issue under wraps, we move onto a new level of the G.I. Joe comic. Issue #10 begins the long form narrative that Hama is remembered for. Hold onto your asses, rear end-holders. poo poo's about to get real*.

*real involved with ninjas, car crashes, two-fisted military action, ninjas, shocking betrayals, blatant merchandising, ninjas, 80s jingoism, and also ninjas

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


CzarChasm posted:

Where are you getting these scans from? I didn't see it mentioned in the OP. Are these collected anywhere?

That's an excellent question and something I should and will add to the OP!

My panels are taken from the IDW re-release of the original Marvel run. The distinguishing feature is that the colors have been completely redone, sometimes to comic effect. I'm pretty sure I remark upon a few times where Stalker is given a white flesh tone.

Regardless, you (and everyone else) can find these collections right here at comixology.

Comixology has long been the go-to source for legit digital comics, and since their purchase by Amazon, there's all kinds of positive interaction going on there.

Anyhow, while I do recommend that everyone buy comics and support the creators, I do also ask that you don't just read ahead to post spoilers and "I know something" posts. No one likes that guy. Don't be that guy.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Won't you journey with me now to a little town called Springfield? Let's read Issue #10!



We open in media res as the G.I. Joe team begins an insertion on a suspected Cobra safehouse.





The secondary assault team makes their way through the sewers below.





Snake Eyes and Scarlett try to anchor a rope on the roof fixtures, but it gets cut from above by a Cobra trooper. The rooftop team is knocked cold from their fall into a featureless cell and quickly relieved of their weapons.

When Scarlett misses the scheduled radio check, Hawk realizes they've lost the element of surprise and orders a full-on assault.



Inside the cell, Zap notices an unusual curve to the walls. As he ponders out loud what it might mean, the answer is quickly made apparent.



With no air support, the remaining Joes can only watch as the craft flies into the distance.





A couple of guards outside the cell mention that security detail is so much easier since Dr. Venom started dosing the prisoners' water supply with hallucinogens. People don't even try to escape anymore.



Pfft, what a ludicrous concept! Can you believe they expect us to believe this crazy sci-fi bullsh- Oh. Oh, wait a minute...

Meanwhile, Scarlett and Zap are trippin' balls...



Their kid cellmate seems to have an idea about the water. He holds the container up to the lightbulb hoping that heat will destroy the effectiveness of the drugs.

Back in Dr. Venom's lab, the second phase of the process begins, and Venom attempts to "read" Snake Eyes thoughts. Snake Eyes struggles to scatter his thoughts to avoid giving away the HQ location.



At the prison, Scarlett and Zap start to come out of their fugue. The kid explains that he'd read about drugs losing their potency when exposed to heat in Scientific American or something like that. He claims that he's got a plan to escape, but he'd been waiting on someone else who could help. The Joes agree to go along with his plan, since it seems like their only choice.



As Snake Eyes continues to resist, the prisoners begin their ploy.





Dr. Venom begins to receive glimpses of the Joes' motor pool... their firing range... but nothing to provide a location. Snake Eyes continues to bring up disturbing memories to block the probe, but each one must be stronger and more painful than before to be effective.

Aboveground, we get our first look at the true evil of Cobra.



The boy directs them to an arcade which hides Dr. Venom's labs. The only way in is to brazen it out and walk right through.



Suddenly, some of the arcade-goers speak up. They've never seen these two adults in town, and one of them recognizes the kid as a traitor! The laser turret in the middle of the arcade omninously swings to cover them.

Dr. Venom is approaching his goal, but Snake Eyes' vital signs are becoming irregular. His heartbeat is slowing drastically. Before Venom can take action, he must first respond to the intruder alert sounded in the arcade above.



Pictured above, the first, but not nearly the last appearance of Ninja BullshitTM.



Seeing that the junior officers seem to have things in hand, Venom returns to his lab to find Snake Eyes with no pulse. He begins to pull the body from the brain-wave scanner and ready it for his next prisoner when suddenly...



Snake Eyes bursts upstairs and quickly shoots out the fuse box, depriving the laser of power. They run to the car ahead of the pursuing Cobra kids.



Arriving at the airfield, they spot the strange craft that brought them there. The aircrew is overpowered, and preparations are made to leave. The kid refuses to go with the Joes, stating he has family working in the resistance here and he must get back to them. The Joes coerce a Cobra pilot at gunpoint to take them up, but unfortunately they missed the backup piece he had in his... helmet?



With the radio and navigational panels shot up and a storm blocking out all visual guidance, all Zap can do is keep the ship level and heading away from Springfield. Hours pass and finally the storm breaks, offering a view of a large port city below. Not trusting their ability to land the strange aircraft, the Joes point the craft out to sea and hit the silk.



Those Marvel guys sure are swell, aren't they?

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Bongo Bill posted:

I'm excited for ninja bullshit.

Same

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


And now we've reached the release of series 2 of the G.I. Joe toy line. More vehicles! More characters! More action! Let's read Issue #11!



This issue begins in the middle of the action again.



Wild Bill lands behind the battle line and offloads a snowmobile and fresh reinforcements while taking on some wounded Joes. Hawk rotates the new guys into the firing line so Snake Eyes and Rock 'n Roll can grab a bite.



Hawk continues to fill in Snow Job (Arctic operations), Gung Ho (Marine), and Doc (medic): The remaining Cobra tanks fled when they saw the chopper approaching, leaving infantry behind to tie up the Joes. Hawk anticipates the infantry will pull out and rejoin their armor soon, while the Joes will be at a disadvantage following. Their snowmobile can't transport the whole squad.





Elsewhere...



Hours later, the Joes have trailed Cobra to a pumping station along the pipeline.





Further south, Cobra's mysterious field commander has arrived and taken charge of the main body of troops. The Joes assault the pumping station, but receive some bad news about Cobra's plans.



Suddenly, the Joes are floored by an explosion. A Cobra RPG team has doubled back and taken out the hijacked HISS tank. The Joes try, but fail to stop them from destroying the other HISS that was left at the station. They barely manage to get their snowmobile under cover.

Hawk radios back to field HQ to explain about the plague-contaminated oil, and Wild Bill is sent to head down to the next pumping station to shut down the flow.



Snake Eyes, Snow Job, and Doc take the snowmobile to chase down the Cobra agent with the antidote.



Breaker at field HQ radios Gen. Flagg to request further reinforcements and a quarantine around the pipeline. Cobra Commander, listening on an intercept, is overjoyed to hear this as it means enemy forces in the area will be scattered across 50 miles of pipeline.

The snowmobile team follows the Cobra tank tracks right through a nuclear power plant.







Reinforcement choppers arrive at pumping station #1, but the Cobras there have been holding out a man-portable SAM. The choppers don't stand a chance unless someone on the ground does something recklessly stupidheroic. Fortunately, they have a Marine with them.



50 miles further down the pipeline, Wild Bill lands at pumping station #2 and is greeted by a team of oil company technicians. They've received radio instructions to close off the pipeline and have already started on the process.



Back at station #1, the Joe reinforcements have landed, and the remaining Cobra troopers quickly surrender.



Awkward...



Airborne notices that the tracks go into the utility shed, but don't come out. Those aren't oilmen Wild Bill is talking to! Snow Job radios Zap in the chopper, who puts two and two together to deduce that the stolen plutonium must be in the "probe" getting sent down the pipeline. With security forces scattered to maintain quarantine, Cobra can pick it up down the line unopposed. Zap rushes inside the station to warn Wild Bill.





I'm pretty sure the Geneva Convention doesn't say any such thing, but anyway... Doc tackles the shadowy figure and briefly grapples with him in the darkness. When Doc is thrown clear, the other Joes open fire, but the mysteeerious field commander has already made for the exit.



Snake Eyes enters the shed where the last HISS tank is parked, but it's been sabotaged and immediately blows up.



Antidote in hand, the Joe fly ahead to pumping station #3, where a Cobra unit is retrieving the plutonium from their probe. Doc calmly explains to the Cobras that, after taking control of the pumping stations, the contaminated oil flow was reinstated, so all the troops here have been exposed to the plague. He further proposes a simple trade: the antidote for the plutonium.



Next issue, things get rolling again.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Oh, you guys are still here...

LET'S READ ISSUE #12!!!



We start in the middle of the action again, as the Joe team is recklessly slinging lead around downtown San Fran in pursuit of some Cobra thugs.





The chase proceeds to smash up some cars and leads toward a small car stalled at an intersection.



Wait, did he say Pinto?



Yep, he said Pinto...

The comic predates the movie by over a year.

The Joes set off after the fleeing courier on foot, but they're held up by some passing bikers. By the time Scarlett rescues Breaker from the gang, the scar-faced courier has shot Clutch in the leg and made good his escape.



Nope, nothing suspicious or familiar about that name at all...

Back at the Pentagon, Gen. Flagg requests that Hawk assemble a team to investigate the address in Rio Lindo.



Snake Eyes and Gung-Ho remain on the edge of town for backup, while Stalker and Breaker walk right up to the front door.



Through his binoculars, Snake Eyes spots a face he's not likely to soon forget.



Dr. Venom invites the Joes inside as Snake Eyes rousts Gung-Ho from his siesta and rushes into town. On their way in, Gung-Ho bumps into the scar-faced courier, but Snake Eyes pulls him away. Rescuing their teammates takes priority.



Stalker and Breaker put up a fight with the weapons in their bags, but Cobra maneuvers to out-gun them.



With their reinforcements arriving just in time, the Joes force the surrender of Dr. Venom and the surviving Cobras. Everything seems well in hand until...



I AM COMPLETELY SURPRISED AND DID NOT AT ALL EXPECT THAT ESKIMO TO BE SHOWING UP HERE!

The Joes, now prisoners, are tied up and lead to a boat upriver to Cobra's island bunker. Dr. Venom says that he'd like to hold Snake Eyes back for questioning, as apparently Snake Eyes isn't the only one who can't forget what happened in Springfield.



The troopers set fire to the warehouse as the boat sets off.



Seems like Dr. Venom is as sick of ninja bullshit as I am.

Snake Eyes, still bound, manages to ignore the flames around him (and on him) long enough to kick open a door and dive into the river.

On the boat, Stalker notes the presence of hungry rats all over, which gives Gung-Ho an idea.



A mile downriver, a farmer taking his goods to market is scared out of his wits by a "river demon" suddenly appearing from the depths. It is of course Snake Eyes, who commandeers the canoe in pursuit of his comrades.



Dr. Venom, Kwinn, the Baroness, and the courier head inside the bunker to finalize their transaction, and three Cobra commandos are left outside to guard the prisoners. Snake Eyes takes care of one with an attack from below the surface as Gung-Ho snaps his weakened bonds and handles the other two.



He just looks so happy to be smashing people together.

Breaker jumps up onto the pier, but Snake Eyes shoves him back into the boat and cuts the mooring line. The message is clear: getting away with the stolen computer chips takes priority. Snake Eyes stays behind himself to mop up on the island.



Wait, virus? Nobody said anything about a virus!

Kwinn notices something is amiss and kicks open the door in time to spot the boat escaping. The Baroness and courier board the seaplane and set out to sink the Joes.



Man, someone should do a read-through of Sgt. Rock sometime. I'd be down for that.

The Joes attack is about as effective as expected. The Baroness demolishes their boat with a guided missile, and they barely manage to leap to safety in time. Kwinn and Dr. Venom have stayed behind to sort out Snake Eyes, but Dr. Venom has his own priorities.



As the three hash out their differences, the Baroness turns back towards the island bunker. She mentions to her courier that with the virus in hand, poor Dr. Venom is now "expendable"...



So, with Snake Eyes dead, there doesn't seem to be much reason to continue on further. I guess we'll cut the series short here. Hope you enjoyed reading!

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


No. No one would say that.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


So I just turned 40 today, and it struck me that this G.I. Joe comic retrospective may be the most significant thing I've done with my life.

...

I'm... um, I think I need to lie down for a bit...

You guys can read this.




We pick up right where the last issue left off with Gung-Ho, Breaker, and Stalker in the water and Dr. Venom, Kwinn, and Snake Eyes dead.



The Baroness makes a second pass to check for survivors, but the Joes are playing possum.



Hiding doesn't matter, because the plane's infrared sensors pick them out easily. When Baroness reports this to Cobra Commander via radio, he orders her to break off and return to Springfield immediately. The contents of the briefcase take priority.

The Joes in the river marvel that they weren't picked off, but they're not safe home yet.





Stalker wakes up hours later with Breaker in the remains of an abandoned Cobra research station. Gung-Ho, meanwhile, has gone downriver in search of a radio to contact headquarters.



At Cobra HQ, as the Baroness and Scar-face are congratulated on their successful mission, the Baroness confides to Cobra Commander that Scar-face seemed a little too eager to leave, as if he wanted the Joes to escape. Cobra Commander assures her that Scar-face was probably just concerned with his mission, but she continues to suspect that he may have other loyalties. (Meaningful glance at the mysterious guy in the corner with rockets on his wrists...)



Breaker isn't sure why they're putting so much effort into a defensive position, but a pretty good reason shows up on a trail above them.



Richter's mercenaries, now out of jobs due to the political upheaval in Sierra Gordo, plan to scour the abandoned base for anything they can sell on the black market.

A disguised figure attempts to place a radio call to the U.S., but the government flunky in charge orders his guards to take the filthy, pig-smelling peasant outside and shoot him. With an evil grin, he revises his orders, "On second thought, shoot him right here."



Minutes later at the Pit, Hawk has received Gung-Ho's call and put a rescue plan into action. Scarlett, Grunt, and Rock 'n Roll will be airdropped in to take and hold the nearest airfield for extraction. Doc and Torpedo are to be dropped near the river to examine the remains of the bunker and then to meet up with and extract the remaining Joes.

Gung-Ho hijacks a cab and heads back into the jungle.



Just then Cobra receives a radio report that Richter's mercs are closing in on the station. If they kill or drive off the Joes, the mission will be compromised. The mysterious fellow with the metal gloves seems to have things well in hand though.

Just then, Breaker discovers the thing he was meant to discover.



The Joe rescue team begins their HALO drop as Gung-Ho's cab comes to a halt. The road dead-ends in a construction site. Gung-Ho tells the cabbie to wait for him and keep the meter running while taking his keys to ensure that he will.

Richter is hesitant to hit the Cobra camp after seeing the trench and other prepared defenses. As he contemplates waiting until nightfall, his men spot parachutes in the air. Rather than risk being flanked, he decides to attack now, but...



The parachutes Richter spotted were Doc and Torpedo. Torpedo slips into the river to make an interesting discovery.



Before he can investigate further, he is signaled to the surface by Doc, who has been keeping an eye on the mercenaries. It seems like the new group on the scene is up to no good.



Man, those fish are noisy.

The airfield team begins their assault on the control tower.



They make it back to Gung-Ho's cab and head for the airfield, as bad things happen to bad people:



As the transport circles around, there's an impromptu Joe reunion aboard the cab.



Your tax dollars at work.

With armored cars in hot pursuit, there's no time for a leisurely landing. That means it's take to take a cue from the action movie playbook.



Once safely aboard, Stalker hands over the info he found to Hawk.



Seriously though, those fish are really loud.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


I suppose it's worth mentioning that IDW, the current publisher of G.I. Joe comics, hired Larry Hama to continue his series. I haven't read any of them, but they picked right back up at issue 156, and I think they're around 250 now.

Maybe I'll look into those once I get caught up.

You know, sometime in 2035.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


2035? Ha ha ha, I'm going to be dead way before then...

Let's read issue #14!



So, with Snake Eyes and the rest dead... Wait a minute...



Never mind.

So Dr. Venom tries to kill Snake Eyes, Snake Eyes tries to kill Dr. Venom, Kwinn says "Hey, we all need to work together", and Dr. Venom says "Oh yeah, I've got the real plague toxin over here. The stuff that the Baroness got away with was a fake."

Back at the Pit, Hawk gets the results of the analysis of the microdot that Stalker found last issue.





Make fun if you will, but I think Destro makes the open chest, giant medallion look work.

Back underwater, Dr. Venom seems to be ignoring Kwinn's speeches about teamwork and begins to open a valve, causing water to pour in.

Gen. Flagg arrives at the Pit post haste for a briefing from Hawk.



Now there's a name we're heard before. Oh, and Hawk wasn't joking about Cobra Commander's hobby...





Cobra Commander asks if the Baroness handled the microdot plant herself, and she responds with a totally believable "Of course, why wouldn't I?" while nonchalantly looking away.



In the bunker, Dr. Venom reveals the method to his madness. They must let in enough water for the pressure to equalize with the river outside.

At Joe HQ, the team mounts up in their trusty APC (on sale now!) and heads out to the Fort Wadsworth baseball field for a pickup. Wait, what?



Back at Cobra HQ, Destro makes some offhand comments to Scarface that might possibly, if taken in a certain light, indicate foreknowledge that something bad was going to happen to Cobra Commander shortly. He quickly changes his tune when he finds out that the Commander is not going to Springfield alone as he'd assumed, but with the Baroness as his pilot.

Kwinn remains somewhat suspicious of Dr. Venom, despite all his recent help.



Kwinn seeks encouragement from his otherkin headmates.



The Joes prepare to land on the other side of the mountain from Springfield as Cobra Commander's rocket plane touches down at a camouflaged landing pad inside the ARBCO Furniture Company. (Fans of anagrams, don't strain yourselves.)



Scarface is more than a little suspicious, but he knows he's not exactly a match for Destro.



Oh hey, remember those Cobra troopers from last issue that got parachuted in to keep the Joes from being killed? Turns out not all of them got killed by punji pits, but the survivors are still slightly miffed.



While they get to work on the "volunteer", Stalker and Gung-Ho return from a quick recon into Springfield. Stalker's keen instincts, combined with his ability to rearrange letters, lead him to suspect something is up with the furniture factory.



Destro lands with his airborne troopers near Springfield and force marches them over the mountain in an effort to cut off the Joes.



So that's what this plague thing is all about...



...and the test doesn't exactly go as expected.



Destro makes it just in time to head off the Joe APC.



Inside the factory, Cobra Commander gets word of the firefight outside and heads for his rocket plane. Hawk spots the launch silo doors opening and calls his air support.



One tense countdown later...



His personal mission accomplished, Destro retreats with his remaining troops.



With the factory in flames, the Joes are back to square one.



At least those fish have quieted down.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Siivola posted:

The Netflix documentary The Toys That Made Us has an episode on Joe. The toy business was wild.

Thanks for the heads-up on this. This was a great watch. The interviews were on point, and I only wish they'd included more time with Larry Hama and Jim Shooter.

Anybody that's following this thread should probably go and watch it. We're the very specific target audience.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Anybody who's followed Cyrano's LP of Bomber Crew might find some slight irregularities with this issue.





The Cobra troops plan to walk their prisoners back to the airfield and steal a plane, but Venom is the only trained pilot. They're not altogether sure they can trust him and question him about Kwinn's disappearance...





Snake Eyes, as usual, immediately sets about trying to murder Dr. Venom, but Kwinn reminds him that they need him to fly the plane.

Later that night at the airfield, our merry troupe finds the guards on high alert, probably something to do with the little firefight that broke out there just a couple of issues ago.



They take out the guards and slip into position inside the bomber. Pictured below, a ninja commando manning a WW2-era bomber's dorsal turret:



Doc Venom fires it up, but one of the engines won't turn over. As he ponders what to do, he circles back down the runway, allowing Snake Eyes to destroy the two parked Spitfires to prevent pursuit.



That's right, he's going to push-start the engine...



The Lancaster barely makes it up past the trees, losing her landing gear in the process. Kwinn spells Venom at the yoke so he can settle his nerves and read up on the Lancaster's flight manual.



Suddenly, the plane comes under fire. Turns out there was a third Spitfire in a hangar that they missed. Venom takes back the controls and realizes he'll have to pull some fancy tricks to get away here. The Spitfire pilot keeps attacking from the blind spot where Snake Eyes' guns can't reach.



Meanwhile, back at Cobra headquarters...



More problems aboard the Lancaster as dawn breaks over the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Venom says the bomb bay doors are slipping open, and the additional drag could prevent them from reaching Florida with their current fuel.



Nah, just kiddin'. He was actually trying to murder a dude. When Kwinn reaches to pull Snake Eyes back up, Venom pulls into a steep climb, tossing Kwinn from the plane. Kwinn manages to barely catch the edge of the bay with his fingertips, but Snake Eyes latches onto his boot when the rope he had been holding snaps. Dr. Venom levels the plane out and walks back to make sure the two fall.



Snake Eyes stops Kwinn from chucking Venom into the gulf because... ummm... actually, I have no idea why. At this point, he's way too much of a liability.

Lest we forget the comic is named G.I. Joe, they put in a token appearance.



And it seems Cobra Commander is a bit suspicious of the timing of Destro's rescue last issue.



Meanwhile, on The Young and the Restless...



The Lancaster, flying low across the gulf, comes across a lone fishing boat. As Kwinn convinces Dr. Venom not to shoot at them for no reason, the boat opens fire first. Seems like they're smugglers who got a bit trigger-happy at the sight of a low-flying plane heading straight towards them. The smugglers hit a fuel tank, causing avgas to spray all over their boat where it is ignited by the muzzle flashes of their guns. OK, yeah, I know that's completely ridiculous... just roll with it.



Just about everything that's not a flight surface gets pitched overboard, and it looks like they just might make Miami after all.



Whereupon they are welcomed by about 200 of Sonny Crockett's good buddies.



Thanks to Venom's earlier radio message, a Cobra lawyer is waiting to take him in hand. Kwinn and Snake Eyes are left to fend for themselves in the county lockup.



And that's another issue done! Join us next time for Intrigue! Romance! New Joes! Betrayal! The Bureau of Engraving and Printing!!!

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


For anybody that wants to follow along at home, Comixology has the G.I. Joe Classics volumes on sale through the 18th. Each volume is about 10 issues and is on sale for $6, down from $15.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Kick your week off with Joe. Let's Read Issue #16!





Seems like the Joe team is in the middle of a pretty serious firefight with Cobra...



Nah, they're just dicking around on the firing range.

Hawk pulls out some more radio-controlled HISS tanks and gives the team a hard time until the Wolverine missile tank shows up and blows them all away. It's totally cool and everyone should run down to their local Sears and buy one now. As the dust settles, the Wolverine driver pops out for an intro.



As the Joes are called away for a briefing, we cut to Cobra HQ, where an elegant dinner party is being held for Cobra's command staff to officially welcome Major Sebastian Bludd, fearless fighter, master tactician, and published poet. Bludd toasts Cobra Commander with an original verse.





Cobra staff interactions give me a lot of call to use

Back at Joe HQ, Hawk and Gen. Flagg are discussing the current situation. Analysis of the ink found during the raid in Vermont reveals it to be the type used to print U.S. currency. Combined with the biotoxin handling equipment also found, Hawk has deduced that Cobra intends to poison American money at the source. He asks for troops to help protect the Treasury department, but Flagg denies the request. Cobra has announced an all-out attack on the Capitol building, and all available troops are being diverted.

Back at the dinner party...



Hawk makes a last attempt to get some more troops out of Gen. Flagg.



But even as they speak, the Cobra attack on the Capitol begins. A fleet of Cobra transports appears overhead and begins dropping paratroopers.

At the Treasury building, a column of unmarked 18-wheelers rolls up. And by "unmarked", I mean "labeled ARBCO in 4 foot high letters". An assault squad leads Dr. Venom into the building to deploy his toxin.



As chutes continue to dot the sky over the Capitol building, Flagg calls for every available reinforcement. The few Joes watching the Treasury building are going to be on their own.



"Wait..."



"...is that guy wearing a wetsuit, scuba mask, swim fins, and spear gun? In the middle of downtown Washington D.C.???"



--the last thought this Cobra trooper ever had

Since things seem to be going south, Dr. Venom switches to Plan B.



Gen. Flagg and Hawk discover, much to their surprise, that the Cobra transports and paratroopers were radio-controlled scale models. The attack on the Capitol was a diversion after all! Hawk leaps into the VAMP and speeds towards the Treasury building. Now that the jig is up, Cobra Commander rolls out the big guns.



Inside the building, Tripwire manages to defuse Dr. Venom's explosive, but the squad is caught unaware and forced to surrender when HISS tanks burst through the wall. Scar-face takes advantage of the confusion to slip away.





More HISS tanks surround the Wolverine, and things look pretty bad until...



Wild Bill and Airborne's exchange there cracks me up every time. (Note: Since I've been skipping out on the character bios this run-through, the joke is that Wild Bill fancies himself an old-fashioned cowboy, while Airborne is a full-blooded Navajo who gave up a promising law career to jump out of planes for the Army.)

The tanks containing Cobra's leaders circle around to outflank the Wolverine, but other plans have been set in motion.





R.I.P. Baroness

Cobra Commander's HISS steamrolls over the Wolverine, but now Hawk is closing in.





Say what you will about Dr. Venom, but at least he has perfectly reasonable opinions on love and romance.

The VAMP's guns can't do anything to HISS armor, so Hawk has to wing it.



Boarding party away!



Nothing much to see here, just havin' a fistfight on the back of a speeding tank.





R.I.P. Hawk

Next issue: Cobra puts an end to all the infighting and presents a unified front to their outside enemies! Nah, just kidding.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


OK, fine.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


I'm posting a thing, Let's Read Issue #17!





Fortunately, Doc is on the job and all business.



As Doc tends to Hawk, the rest of the team discovers one of the downsides to operating in a dense urban area.



Good thing Gung-Ho is on hand to work things out peaceably.



Whoops! WRONG ANSWER!



As Hawk is medevaced out, the Joes organize a pursuit team in their APC to follow after Cobra Commander while Ace flies cover.



Destro is pretty sad, but begins to ponder the question of why Major Bludd would want to kill him. His best pal Cobra Commander is quick to reply.



I like to think that last panel shows Cobra Commander reflexively covering his mouth so Destro doesn't notice him laughing.

Just then, Ace spots the Cobra tank from the air and guides the APC to an intercept.

Oh hey, I wonder what's going on in Miami?



They're not without resources, though. Kwinn pulls a coiled hacksaw blade from a hollowed-out heel, and Snake Eyes slips a hundred dollar bill from the lining of his sleeve. Kwinn sets to work on the barred window, while Snake Eyes sits and stares at his money. Maybe he's thinking about how much ice cream he's going to buy once they escape? The man is truly an enigma.

Major Bludd has hitched a produce truck out of the city, but he decides to upgrade to a transport with built-in hostages when he is stopped at a toll booth. As luck would have it, guess whose bus he jacks?



The Joes have squads watching all roads out of D.C., so Stalker and Grand Slam are quickly in pursuit of Bludd.

In a seedy area of Miami, Kwinn and Snake Eyes are pursuing the most dangerous game: back-alley craps.



Even as the Joes close in, Dr. Venom manages to reach Cobra HQ in Springfield, and air support is immediately scrambled.



Back on the toll road, Grand Slam takes a page out of Hawk's playbook from last issue.



He sneaks along the roof of the bus, with Major Bludd noticing only too late.



Cobra tries to make it hot for the Joes in the APC, but Rock n' Roll has their number.



Ace handles up on the two jet fighters upstairs, but takes some damage from a near miss.



In the confusion, the transport chopper picks up Cobra Commander's HISS and slips away. The damage to Ace's Skystriker leaves him unable to pursue.



At Bethesda Naval Hospital, Major Bludd is wheeled into the Emergency Room. The doctor lists his wounds as critical and shoos the Joes away, but...





Just who is this mysterious female burn victim? You'll have to wait 'til next issue to find out!!!

As the Joes get things sorted, the doctor who lied about Bludd's condition gets on the phone... to Springfield! He fills in Cobra Commander regarding the situation at the hospital. Oh, and he reveals that the female burn victim is in fact the Baroness.

Destro is now eager to find Major Bludd, who he realizes will probably be taken back to G.I. Joe headquarters. In desperation, he decides to fall back on the previous plan of injecting Scar-face with the biotoxin then having him get captured by the Joes. Just one problem, he needs to get a hold of Scar-face first.



Next issue: Coney Island!

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Coney Island! Let's Read Issue #18!





I'm not sure where this title comes from. It's not like Destro hasn't been around for the past few issues. Anyway, Hawk spots Scar-face slipping into his hideout shack, then reveals some good news with the Joes that explains where he got his tip-off.



But the postscript, for Scarlett's eyes only, removes all doubt. The card is genuine.



Snake Eyes and Kwinn approach the scene as Destro deplanes atop the roller coaster.



Kwinn is the first to reach Scar-face's shack, and he uses the opportunity to lecture Snake Eyes in the finer points of interrogation.



Scar-face gives Kwinn the information he wants, and Kwinn hands over the keys to the Caddy. Destro notices Scar-face slipping out the back, but is distracted by more immediate matters.



As the firefight rages on, Snake Eyes must make a difficult decision.



Destro disengages to pursue the fleeing Scar-face, while Stalker turns into a white man.



With no available ground transport, Destro is forced to adapt...



A thrilling case through the streets of New York ensues.



An explosion from the Cadillac's gas tank overturns the Joe APC. When they get it righted and resume pursuit to Kennedy Airport...



When Hawk asks what the hell this guy is talking about, the guard explains. Two terrorists just hijacked a passenger jet.



Hawk assembles the team and readies for transport to Libya.



Intelligence photos show a Cobra base in the desert 100 miles south of Tripoli. The Joe battle plan is to intercept Scar-face as he is being transported there.



A last-minute briefing covers the finer details of the plan.



Not shown: how the Joes slip into the middle of Cobra's armored column.



Hawk jumps aboard the HISS and drags Scar-face away. On to phase 2 of the operation.



Destro immediately picks up that the air attack is a diversion, but Grunt and Scarlett immobilize his tank, leaving him stranded. They then rendezvous with the VAMP and leap aboard.



The Joes make a clean getaway, yet Destro seems quite pleased with this result.



Tune in next time for the action-packed climax of our first major story arc! Things will never be the same! Be here for the Battle of the Chaplain's Assistant School! It's a big one, so I won't make you guys wait a month again!

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Alacron posted:

Small point of confusion, how in on this plan is Scarface? He knows that COBRA is sacrificing him to get at the Joes, and kinda goes along with it after spending so much effort to avoid them and go into hiding?

Next issue clarifies this a bit.

Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


Hold on to your butts, butt-holders. poo poo's about to get real. Let's Read Issue #19!





Hawk has called Gen. Flagg to the Pit for a debriefing with the recently-acquired Scar-face. Not entirely happy with his recent treatment at the hands of Cobra, Scar-face spills the beans on the plague scheme and even turns over a vial of antidote he managed to snag during one of his courier runs.



Hawk's plan is classic sleight of hand: make Cobra think the Joe HQ is in the motor pool, while sealing off the Pit underground. Even though the surface is compromised, the true HQ will be safe.



As both G.I. Joe and Cobra formulate their battle plans, Snake Eyes and Kwinn reach the end of a more personal mission. With the information they got from Scar-face last issue, they've tracked down Dr. Venom to his hidden lab near the docks of the old Brooklyn Navy Yard.



Their heartfelt reunion is soon interrupted by the arrival of dozens of Cobra troop transport helicopters.

Across the Narrows at Fort Wadsworth, the Joes are seeing to the evacuation of the Chaplain's Assistant School staff by busing them off to a "retreat". Meanwhile, Wild Bill arrives with the prisoner Major Bludd in tow.



Something something Geneva Convention... something something War Crimes...

As the Cobra troops approach Dr. Venom's lab, Kwinn and Snake Eyes are forced to scrounge for weapons.



Naturally, it's a trap.



On Gen. Flagg's order, the Baroness is brought into the pre-fab fortress and the Pit is sealed off. Speaking of that fortress...



Hawk orders the Joes to take the other prisoners out of the Motor Pool as the fortress is raised. Clutch and the others load Major Bludd and Scar-face onto the VAMP to take a ride around the perimeter, where they spot the inbound Cobra chopper fleet.



Cobra air-to-ground missiles rain down, and smoke fills the air. When visibility returns...





With their air and infantry assets decimated, Destro orders the HISS armor forward. The Joes are forced to deploy their untested robotic weapons systems.



Dr. Venom has a simple solution to the matter.



He assures Cobra Commander that the SNAKE armors have a failsafe built into the weapons. They cannot fire at anything painted Cobra blue. Hawk seems to recognize Snake Eyes' familiar gait, even as Dr. Venom taunts him over the armor's radio. Venom is aware that Snake Eyes might use his formidable strength of will to escape the suit's control, but...







Unnoticed in the fray, a single Cobra saboteur in a FANG helicopter lands atop the Joe fortress with enough explosives to bring the whole thing down. Doc hears the chopper landing, but Major Bludd takes advantage of his distraction to strike.



Bludd rewards Scar-face's assistance by abandoning him and taking to the skies with the Baroness in tow. The timer on the explosives continues to tick down.



Doc comes to and begins to carry Gen. Flagg outside for an immediate medevac. He is forced to leave Scar-face chained to his cell since Bludd took the keys with him.





R.I.P. Kwinn, R.I.P. Dr. Venom



So, heavy stuff, huh? This was the end of the first big story arc, but the events covered herein will affect things for years to come.

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Nipponophile
Apr 8, 2009


So it's finally become apparent to me, as I'm sure it has to many others, that I'm not ever going to finish this readthrough. I really shouldn't be surprised since my success rate on long term projects hovers around 0.00%.

Hopefully some of you enjoyed my crap, and if you'd like to continue the story, I'd suggest you watch for sales on Comixology.

I'm sorry that I couldn't follow through with this, but I guess that's just where I'm at right now.

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