Sunday, June 15, 2008

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #12 (June 1983)

"Three Strikes for Snake-Eyes"

Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Mike Vosburg (artist), Jon D'Agostino (inker), Joe Rosen (letterer), Glynis Wein (colorist), Denny O'Neil (editor)

Feature Characters: Breaker, Clutch (last seen in G.I. Joe #9, appears next in G.I. Joe #14), Gung Ho, Hawk, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Stalker (last seen in G.I. Joe #10)

Supporting Characters: General Flagg (appears next in G.I. Joe #14)

Villains: Baroness, Cobra troops (some called Cobra commandos by Kwinn), Dr. Venom (last seen in G.I. Joe #10), Kwinn (last seen in G.I. Joe #2), Scar-Face (first appearance, a Cobra courier, name never revealed)

Story: Investigating stolen missile guidance chips, a small G.I. Joe team is sent to the small South American nation of Sierra Gordo. There, they encounter the Baroness and Dr. Venom, along with the mercenary Kwinn. Snake Eyes learns the chip theft was a ruse to disguise the delivery of a biological toxin but is apparently killed when the Baroness escapes.

Reagan-era Goodness: This story begins with Cobra stealing MX Missile guidance chips. The MX Missile was a hotly debated topic at the time due to nuclear proliferation concerns and a number of other issues. You can read more about it here.

Breaker and Stalker begin their mission undercover as video arcade owners. The basis for this was Cobra's hiding the missile guidance chips in boxes full of video game circuits.

Review: This was the first issue I ever owned. I remember my brother bringing it home from school and the two of us would read and re-read this issue several times over the years. The cover eventually fell off and was subsequently lost. Oh the joys of youth.

This issue sets in motion storylines that will continue throughout the next six months. Although we had seen seeds planted in earlier stories, this is where things are really set into motion.

It's good to see Kwinn again, even if he is working for Cobra. Pay special attention to the penultimate page to get a sense of Kwinn's temperament in future issues. It stays quite true to what we've already learned about him back in issue #2.

Scar-Face makes his first appearance here and it's not very remarkable. He's essentially a lackey here but his future appearances make it quite clear there's more to him than it would seem. The origin of his odd scarring has never been revealed but I have a feeling it wouldn't have passed muster by the Comics Code Authority anyway.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention poor Snake Eyes. He manages to get beaten up, set on fire, and blown up in the span of a day. If that isn't the textbook definition of "bad ass," I don't know what is.


smacky said...

You notice the black Spider-Man head where the bar code normally goes? This was when Secret Wars was going on and Spider-Man's black costume made it's first appearance, which of course led to Venom, and Carnage, and a bunch of other crap... but the idea of the costume that followed his mental commands was cool at the time!

De said...

Funny you bring this up. The cover in question is to the reprint of G.I. Joe #12. If I had to guess, I'd say that the reprint was produced in 1985, shortly after Secret Wars and Amazing Spider-Man #252.