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#84- "Converging Destinies"
Writer: Larry Hama
Pencilers: Marshall Rogers

Summary:
"Billy's Mom" forces Jinx to take her to Storm Shadow's martial arts academy in San Francisco. She's reunited with Billy and they discuss some of the details of "Billy's Dad". BIG reveal: Billy's Dad had a brother named Dan, over in Vietnam. Dan kept extending his tour so his brother wouldn't be sent over. When Dan finally returned home, he was strung out and began drinking and driving on the interstates....until one day when he was involved in a fatal head-on collision with another car. A car that was carrying a mother, father and their daughter.. on their way to the airport to pick up their son/brother who had just returned home from Vietnam. "Billy's Dad" couldn't blame himself for Dan's problems...so he blamed the family's surviving son (okay, it was Snake-Eyes, for the Slow of Mind).

On Cobra Island, Fred VII and Dr. Mindbender decide to perform an "accident" on the wildcard Zartan (first alluded to in issue 77). Zartan's shack is filled with Red Ninjas, who subdue the Cobras while Zartan talks of his original deal with the deceased Cobra Commander. CC had hired Zartan to infiltrate the Arashikage clan and kill Snake-Eyes. Zartan became the assistant to Professor Onihasha, the clan's swordsmith. But Zartan enjoyed his new role and soon didn't feel the need to kill Snake-Eyes. CC threatened to expose Zartan to the clan if he didn't go through with the assassination. So Zartan relented and did the deed (accidentally killing the Hard Master and incurring Storm Shadow's wrath). Prof. Onihasha killed himself, out of shame.

Zartan departs Cobra Island to end the grudge with Storm Shadow once and for all. There's an exhibit in San Francisco's DeJong museum that he knows Storm Shadow will want to see.....

Notes:

  • This is the unofficial kick-off for the eighth year, 1989. With the demise of the Sunbow/Marvel/Hasbro connection, "toyjams" begin to fade away.
  • Biggest revelation in this issue is how the entire Joe/Cobra war is centered around (and indirectly caused by) Cobra Commander and Snake-Eyes. A pretty cool Charles Dickens move by Hama to tie it all together.
  • This brings up the question of "if CC has always had a mad-on for Snake-Eyes, why didn't he recognize him in issue 10, when Snakes was strapped to the Brainwave Scanner"? Several ways to No-Prize this. CC was just in Dr. Venom's lab for a brief minute and didn't recognize Snakes with his "new" disfigured face. Only Dr. Venom was present for Snake-Eyes' big memory show. Venom, being a scheming cock, kept all the information to himself for whatever reason. Or else CC did recognize Snake-Eyes and just wanted Venom to torture him. I'd buy that.
  • In flashback, we see some of Billy and Cobra Commander's early travels on the way to Cobra.
  • CC told Billy that his mom had died. He never knew she was alive until now.
  • The flashback shows CC sans mask...looking somewhat like his disguise from issue 55. He has dark hair, dark sunglasses and a pornstar mustache. In other scenes, we never see his face.
  • While Dan is named, it's just "Billy's Mom" and "Billy's Dad".
  • In a neat little irony, young Billy is shown playing with an old 1960's/1970's GI Joe doll ("America's Movable Fighting Man"), while his dad performs an early Cobra seminar in a hotel room.
  • CC clarifies that while they'll sell vitamins and cleaning products...they're actually selling the IDEA of selling vitamin and cleaning products. "Vitamins" have now been added to Cobra's evil schemes. So stuff like HerbaLife and other door-to-door vitamin schemes of the 80's are now included. They're EVIL!
  • CC finds Zartan in a dive called the "Don't Fall Inn". Zartan's a tough biker dude with an orange ponytail and sideburns. He takes the job simply for the challenge.
  • Zartan screwed up his first assignment for CC. Makes you wonder why CC came back to him, years later. "Hey, I need help... howabout that dumbshit who botched the Snake-Eyes assasination attempt all those years ago?!" BUT.... think back to Zartan's first appearance in issue 24, when Roadblock found a mailing slip in Storm Shadow's pocket. CC was probably growing suspicious of Storm Shadow and was going to manipulate the two into killing each other. One cowardly thing about CC is that he never outright kills his lackeys.. he likes to manipulate them into killing each other, or hires someone to do it. That MO goes all the way back to Destro and Major Bludd in issue 16.
  • Zartan already knew that Fred VII wasn't the real CC.
  • Zartan's shack in Cobra Island has a very MC Escher-esque interior. The exterior appearance keeps swapping between a standard bunker, Zartan's Florida shack, or his Jersey gas station.
  • We see that Storm Shadow is operating his martial arts academy under his real name, Arashikage.
  • First appearance of Stormie's new "urban camo" outfit. Billy is wearing Stormie's old ninja-gi Cobra outfit (minus the sigil). So kids could use their old Storm Shadow figure AND the new one. I never did, though...probably because my old Stormie figure was worn out at that point, plus I couldn't think of a cool code-name for "Billy".
  • At the end of the issue, Billy decides to move in with his ma in San Francisco. He had been living at Stormie's dojo all these months.
  • Note the appearance log. 4 "figured characters" and a larger amont of "comic-only" characters. This may be the only isuse with such a proportion. Also, one of the few issues without either Hawk or Snake-Eyes.
Appearances:
Characters (figures):Storm Shadow, Jinx, Dr. Mindbender, Cobra Commander (flashback only)

Characters ("comic-only"): Billy, Billy's Mom, Fred VII, Prof. Onihasha (flashback), Hard Master (flashback), Snake-Eyes' family (flashback), Red Ninjas

Vehicles and stuff (toys): none
Vehicles and stuff (not toys): Zartan's Helicopter ZTN-456

Firsties:
Characters: none
Vehicles and stuff: none

Rating: 4 Flag Points

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