Monday, June 16, 2008
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #13 (July 1983)
"Last Plane from Rio Lindo"
Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Mike Vosburg (artist), Jon D'Agostino (inker), Joe Rosen (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Feature Characters: Breaker, Doc (last seen in G.I. Joe #11), Gung Ho, Grunt (last seen in G.I. Joe #10), Hawk, Rock 'N Roll (last seen in G.I. Joe #11), Scarlett, Snake Eyes (behind the scenes), Stalker, Torpedo (Edward W. Leialoha, first appearance, name revealed in G.I. Joe: Order of Battle #2, appears next in G.I. Joe #16)
Supporting Characters: Kwinn (behind the scenes)
Villains: Baroness, Cobra Commander (last seen in G.I. Joe #11), Cobra troops (some disguised as renegade Sierra Gordo soldiers), Destro (last seen in G.I. Joe #11, face obscured in this story), Dr. Venom (behind the scenes), Scar-Face, a group of mercenaries (Emil and Richter named, first and only appearance, all killed in this story)
Character Notes: As revealed in G.I. Joe #14, Dr. Venom, Kwinn, and Snake Eyes are alive in the sunken bunker and are thus, behind the scenes in this issue.
Reagan-era Goodness: Scarlett throws $1,300 at the Sierra Gordo cabbie when the rescue team takes his cab. The cabbie goes nuts, exclaiming, "American dollars! Hundred-dollar bills!" Pretty sure it'll be a good, long while before anyone goes that nuts over American currency again.
Story: With Snake Eyes believed dead, the remaining team members prepare to leave Sierra Gordo and find a courier pouch containing a document with a micro-dot. Meanwhile at Cobra headquarters, Cobra Commander reveals his plans to the Baroness.
Review: This issue takes place immediately after issue #12 and doesn't really take a rest until the end. So we'll proceed as apace as we can...
Intrigue presents itself early in this story when Scar-Face insists on leaving immediately while the Baroness wants to finish the job of killing the G.I. Joe team. As we'll learn in the next issue, Scar-Face had his reasons for hightailing it out of Sierra Gordo. The Baroness even lets Cobra Commander onto her instincts that Scar-Face may be a pawn in someone else's agenda. However, Cobra Commander later reveals that Scar-Face was under a post-hypnotic suggestion to make him appear duplicitous (umm... yeah). Once again, the Commander is pulling the strings to get the G.I. Joe team to hopefully chase its tail while they engage in evil. We'll soon learn that the Commander isn't totally in control. It's this sort of subtle layering that would go on to hook many a reader and make it clear that this comic was more than marketing for toys.
If jumping off an exploding boat wasn't enough, poor Stalker is attacked by a crocodile. His rattling off of biology info while he fights the crocodile is a bit silly. Taking the cake for silliness is Breaker building a fire in enemy territory, which is rightfully chastised by Stalker. I guess we're to assume that Breaker is a bit young but it seems a bit convenient for a special forces operative to relax his guard when he's still in the middle of a hostile area. Gung Ho would have probably kicked his butt had he not gone into town to phone headquarters.
The fire does attract some mercenaries who believe that they can glean some information about Cobra and sell it. It's not entirely clear who the mercenaries worked for: the recently-collapsed government or the rebels responsible for its collapse. Despite having seen action in Algeria (presumably during the Algerian War in the 1960s), they are no match for a squad of Cobra troops. This is the sort of enemy G.I. Joe should be up against, not the buffoons seen later in the series or in the cartoon.
Based on the abandoned research station found by the G.I. Joe team, it would appear to be the location where Dr. Venom crafted the biological toxin currently in the possession of Scar-Face and the Baroness. While Stalker immediately discounts Breaker's finding the courier pouch, no one really questions the micro dot found. We'll see the ramifications of the micro dot next issue.
The issue's end of letting us know that somebody was still alive in the bunker was a nice way to cap off the issue. We're not sure who's still alive in there but somebody certainly is.