Yeah, this week I'm gonna do nothing but write about Marvel's G.I. Joe series which ran from 1984 to 1993. I could talk about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which is what I'm reading right now but every other blog in the world is doing that, so let's be a rebel and talk about something else, why don't I?
G.I. Joe, or if you prefer G.I. JOE, came back in 2001 under a new publisher but I never read those so I'll just conveniently ignore that incarnation. Besides, it's their Marvel run that G.I. JOE is best remembered for.
So, let's kick off G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO WEEK....
Issue 53 was actually the second G.I. JOE comic that I bought (check out that price tag at the bottom left: RM2.60. Dang!). I blind bought the previous issue because it had a ninja on the cover. Then next issue, this one, they have another ninja on the cover!
Check it out: It's a ninja armed with an Uzi and grenades and there's a visor covering his eyes. Yeah, I know it's the resident mysterious guy, Snake-Eyes, but I didn't know that then.
This cover just shouts,"This is a kick-ass comic book. If you don't buy me you will regret it for the rest of your life! Your children and your children's children will chide you till the day you die for your foolish mistake. Buy me! Buy me now!" Clearly I had issues with my inner voice back then but I gave in and bought the comic anyway. And my creepy inner voice was right. It is a comic book that kicks all kinds of asses.
Being only the second issue of G.I. JOE that I read then, I didn't know who anyone was and what the heck was going on but writer Larry Hama didn't care. "Lack of G.I. JOE background knowledge?", he would ask."That's your problem, punk! I write for the today and now. Not for nothing do people call me 'Da Hama'!" (they don't call him that actually but wouldn't it be cool if they did? And he never actually spoke to me...it was just my inner voice messing with me again).
Anyway, I'm gonna cut the chatter a little and let the pictures tell the story of G.I. JOE #53:
"Cobra Eels!" Probably not the same as shouting "Tiger Prawn!". No, these amphibious buggers ambush your home from the sea, so if you live far from the coast you're good to go. But the JOEs have their secret headquarters on Staten Island, so they're screwed.
In the meantime, the entire COBRA High Command have sneaked themselves into Fort Wandsworth's Motor Pool which is the above-ground cover for the good guys' underground HQ, codenamed 'The Pit'. Now, bear in mind that I didn't know who these guy were at the time but that series of panels above sold me. There's a guy in a snake suit, a bare chested feller in an iron mask and the Cobra Commander looks just so cool. This is what I call the Darth Vader effect: don't show the bad guy's face, give him a sharp looking suit, maybe a cool looking weapon or two and just sit back and watch the kids go all fanboyish on him. Nice.
Oh yeah, these are B.A.T.s or Battle Android Tactical. They're robots that don't know the meaning of pain. Every international terrorist group should have about a thousand of these guys in their army. They're so stupid they don't know when to stop and just say, "Aw, ferged it!"
So where are the good guys? They don't really make an appearance much. They were confined to barracks in the last issue pending a Pentagon investigation (they trashed a COBRA town in #50 but the Penty guys don't believe them. Pfft! Politicians, huh?) So anyway, at the same time COBRA was sneaking into the Pit, the G.I. JOE leader, General Hawk, was giving a tour of the Pit for the three-man investigating team from the Pentagon.
One was General Ryan of the Marines:
General Hollingsworth of the Army:
And finally, Admiral Dyson of the Navy:
And here's Hawk defending his crib:
Cobra Commander sends one of those BATs further down the Pit on a suicide mission:
Destro cares about his men. Cobra Commander? Not so much. Bastard.
Well, in your case Admiral, it went off. Scratch one Admiral.
By the way, the JOEs finally decide to pitch in and mount a flanking attack on the Motor Pool:
The Marine bigshot does the hero thing and plans to blow up the Pit with him and COBRA in it.
KA - RRROOOOMF! Da-yum!
Serpentor (the guy in the snake suit) and his posse escapes because this is the comics and you need him in the next issue:
The issue ends with General Hollingsworth lifting the suspension off the G.I. JOEs, making them a nomad unit and asking Hawk when they can be ready. Hawk is probably thinking, "Now do you frickin' believe me about COBRA, fatso?" but instead he just says, "Right now, sir."
HOO-AAHH! This was the issue that made me add G.I.JOE to my comic collection. The story was great and the cover helped. What else do I need to say? Nothing. I'm proud to use this comic book to kick off G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO WEEK.