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G.I. Joe #10 "A Nice Little Town.."
Writer: Larry Hama
Penciller: Mike Vosburg

Summary: The Joes have located another Cobra safehouse, this time it's an apartment building in midtown Manhattan. Zap, Scarlett and Snake-Eyes have the roof covered, while Stalker, Breaker and "Grunt" (wearing the Flash/Grand Slam get-up) are covering the sewers. Hawk, Clutch, Short-Fuze (also in Flash/Grand Slam get-up), Flash and Rock n' Roll are the main assault team in a concealed van. The Baroness learns of the attack, converts the top of the building into a giant aircraft and escapes with Zap, Scarlett and Snake-Eyes as her prisoners. All 3 are knocked out by gas and are taken...to Springfield! Zap and Scarlett awake in a cell and overcome their drug-enduced hallucinations with the help of their young cellmate, a kid named Billy. Meanwhile, Dr. Venom has taken Snake-Eyes in his lab to interrogate him about the location of G.I. Joe Headquarters. Using his Brainwave Scanner-- a device that projects images into and out of someone's brain-- he tries to break Snake-Eyes. Snake-Eyes resists by re-living past memories of his life, such as the helicopter accident that scarred him, his high school prom, his family being killed in a car crash, a veterans' funeral and the last chopper out of Saigon.

Back in the cell, Billy has helped Zap and Scarlett escape and gives them the nickel tour of Springfield. It was an ordinary town until the "soap people" arrived and began their pyramid scheme of selling cleaning products. Sales meetings soon became "indoctrination seminars" and soon the whole town was taken over. All of the buildings conceal Cobra hardware of some sort. Billy leads the Joes to a video arcade, in the basement of which is Dr. Venom's lab. While Zap and Scarlett fight junior CObra officers in the arcade, Venom presses harder on Snake-Eyes. Snake-Eyes "fakes" his own death by using the ancient ninja tactic of "the Way of the Anvil", where one can simulate death. As Venom's flunkies un-strap the "dead" Snake-Eyes, he springs to life, escapes the lab and rescues Zap, Billy and Scarlett.

The Joes and Billy quickly drive to Spiringfield Municipal Airport and comandeer the aircraft they arrived in. Billy remains behind, but Zap promises they'll be back to help. The Joes make it off the ground, but their captive Cobra pilot tries to plug bulletholes in them. Snake-Eyes uncorks a clip into the Cobra, but accidentally knocks out the ship's gauges. With no way of knowing where they are, the Joes fly around until they see New Jersey. They parachute onto the grand opening of the Bayonne Mall (sponsored by Marvel Comics, with a guy in a Hulk suit). The nice guys at Marvel spring for the Joes' busfare back to Staten Island.

Notes:

  • Wow. This is THE issue that really established Cobra. Some dark humor (like the pyramid scheme), but it's frightening how Cobra is hiding in plain sight.
  • Another wow, as this is the first time Snake-Eyes' history is mentioned. The glimpses are fascinating and show us that there's more to this mute bad-ass than just being a plain ol' bad-ass.
  • This is also the first time the word "ninja" is used in the comics. For the first time, we're shown that Snake-Eyes trained as a ninja and isn't your typical enlistee.
  • Very important comic, as all these elements would become the backbone of the entire series (even the Brainwave Scanner). It ends rather light-heartedly with the Hulk gag, but this is an intense issue. Absolutely essential.
  • Billy appears to be about 12, but he talks like a 35-year old Rhodes Scholar. As we find out more about him, it makes sense that he'd be so smart, resourceful, determined and observant.
  • The Brainwave Scanner actually bombards the subject's brain with countless images, then after a library is built up, it plays them out on a screen as it "reads" someone's mind. Later, the Brainwave Scanner would be altered and used for complete mind-control (but I think that was Dr. Mindbender's upgrade).
  • The Brainwave Scanner display an image of a an apple, signifying that it's a product of Apple. See...talk about how evil microsoft is, but they were never used by Cobra. More proof to my theory that Apple is a bunch of evil douchebags. Of course, like all Apples, the Brainwave Scanner does a half-ass job. I'm surprised the thing didn't freeze up, causing Dr. Venom to stick a paperclip in a tiny hole in the side and re-start the piece of crap.
  • The "laser trooper" mix-up is getting out of control. First they had the Grand Slam/Flash mix-up in issue 6, now they're drawing Short-Fuse and Grunt as laser troopers, too.
  • When the Joes crash the Marvel grand opening, "Hulk" wonders aloud if Marsha Rosenburg booked them for the gig. I'm assuming she was some sort of Marvel publicist, but that same name was used about a year later as the identity of Volcana (from Secret Wars). Whoever Marsha was, she must've been an inside joke at the Marvel offices.
Appearances: Characters (with figures): Hawk, Stalker, Snake-Eyes, Breaker, Scarlett, Clutch, Rock n' Roll, Short Fuze, Zap, Flash, Cobra Commander

Characters (no action figures, or "comic-only" characters): Billy, Baroness, Dr. Venom

Vehicles and stuff (toys): Again, none

Vehicles and stuff (not toys): The Cobra aircraft, but you wouldn't expect that to ever be a toy.

Firsties: Characters: Billy, Dr. Venom

Rating: 5 Flag Points

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