This is a continuation of a story arc, specifically carrying over from Issue 12, Three Strikes for Snake-Eyes. If you haven’t read the issue, or my review of the issue, I highly suggest you start there before proceeding here. But to each their own!
On to the issue.
The issue begins where issue 12 left off with the aftermath of the Baroness and Scar-Face bombing the little island and bunker into oblivion. This is important because 3 fairly important characters were still on the island at the time:
• The G.I. Joe masked commando Snake-Eyes
• The Eskimo mercenary Kwinn, working for Cobra at the moment
• The evil Cobra scientist Dr. Venom
Breaker, Gung Ho and Stalker are floating on the debris from the boat they had been on. The Baroness destroyed their boat as well. Someone must have woke up on the wrong side of the secret underground base. Tsk, tsk, so much violence Baroness. The dialogue of the 3 Joes gives us a recap of the previous issue’s finale, and cements the idea that the entire island was vaporized. Their friend was gone. Or was he??
They don’t have time to mourn, as the Baroness circles back to check on her handiwork. The Joes hold their breath and dive under the water to avoid detection. But the infra-red scanner picks up their heat signatures. Cobra Commander Skypes them (again well ahead of his time with the video calling). He refuses the Baroness when she requests one more pass for a strafing run to finish off the Joes. But the Commander has other plans.
The Joes swim to shore, counting their blessings, when Stalker is attacked by an alligator. Oh, wait! A Crocodile. While battling with the crocodile for the next several panels, we get a science lesson and ongoing witty repartee from Lonzo Wilkinson, code-name Stalker. He goes through the order, phylum and sub-phylum like a high school biology teacher covering the zoology chapter. Stalker wrestles the croc and finally kills it with his knife. Although it was self-defense, PETA did not send Stalker a Christmas card that year. Stalker collapses on shore, badly wounded.
When he awakes, he is next to a campfire Gung Ho and Breaker made to keep him alive. But he is ungrateful and criticizes them for giving away their position, while putting the fire out. They enjoy some toasted croc while considering their next moves.
Gung Ho had left Breaker with Stalker, and had hopped a ride in the back of a local’s truck. The locals didn’t know he was riding in the back with their pigs. They also look like caricatures of Laurel and Hardy, although a Latin American version of them. Gung Ho apologizes for the ride and offers to pay them for the ride and their Sombrero with his Marine Corps lighter. The hat, along with a serape provides him a disguise to walk around town.
There is a little interlude hopping over to Cobra HQ with Cobra Commander, Scar-Face, the Baroness and a mysterious, shadowy figure discussing why they left the Joes off the hook in Rio Lindo.
Meanwhile, Stalker and Breaker have been busy preparing traps, trenches and deception to help with defense, as they believe they will soon be attacked by somebody.
And some evil forces are spying on the station from afar. Presumably revolutionaries or counter-revolutionaries who are trying to make a buck on whatever Cobra may have left behind before they departed.
Meanwhile, Gung Ho is at a radio station, hoping to get a message out. The person in charge complains he smells like a truck load of pigs, which is funny because of his ride into town. They exchange pleasantries, Gung Ho shoots 2 guards and punches out the leader. Then he gets a message to Hawk in Joe HQ, back on Staten Island.
Hawk gets a Joe rapid response team ready to go in 10 minutes, and Scarlett questions him because he mentions 3 Joes need extraction, when 4 had gone on the mission. Hawk is extremely sensitive in his response as he barks at her to get on the plane and prepare for a briefing enroute.
Over at Cobra HQ, we see Cobra Commander can’t be all bad. He has built a sweet diorama in his war room with scale foliage and little burnt out buildings. The artist makes a nice segue way as the Cobras argue about the best course of action. The page transitions from the diorama model to the actual Joes Breaker and Stalker in the clearing at the old research station ruins.
The Joes parachute into the area to start working on a rescue but they are far from Stalker and Breaker. Gung Ho is forcing a taxi driver to drive him back to the abandoned research center, and some mercenaries are looking through binoculars planning the best way to attack Stalker and Breaker. They are concerned there might be more, and don’t want to wait until the paratroopers are arriving.
The Joes land and start to get situated. Another band of mercenaries joins up with the first group. But they are reluctant to join one another.
A new Joe Navy S.E.A.L. code name Torpedo swims to the bottom of the river and notices that the bunker seems to have survived the explosion from the previous issue, but is sitting at the river bottom. He has a rope line and swims to the bunker and taps on the outside. But there is a tug on the rope, and he swims back to the surface to see what the Joes up top need.
He never hears the reply to his knocking: Tap, tap, tap.
Up top, Doc points out that the new group of mercenaries is systematically killing the first group, one by one.
Nearby at the airfield, Scarlett, Rock ‘N Roll and others are in a firefight to take control of the airfield long enough for the plane to land and extract the wounded, as well as them.
At the research station, Gung Ho uses a bulldozer to get from one point over to Stalker and Breaker. They all ride the bulldozer to the taxi, where the driver is waiting patiently since Gung Ho took his keys.
They make a break for the airfield where other Joes are shooting it with the locals. The mercenaries, or the 2nd group of mercenaries who are really working for Cobra, fall into Stalker’s punji stake pit traps. Aiiiyyyyeeeee! ‘Nuff said.
The transport plane only plans to touch down briefly, as the Joes all pile into the taxi and throw hundred dollar bills at the driver. The transport plane drops the ramp, they drive up the ramp with way too many human beings in the taxi, and get away.
Stalker hands Hawk a letter he found at the research station, with a microdot on it. Feel free to read more about how microdots were used in the past, prior to the takeoff of better digital technology and encryption.
The final few panels fill us with hope, and sadness. There is tapping coming from the underground bunker. We are left to wonder if Kwinn, Dr. Venom or Snake-Eyes could have survived, been close to a rescue attempt by Torpedo, only to be left behind in the Joe team’s rapid departure from Rio Lindo.
Now You Know – a little more about the “Last Plane From Rio Lindo.” (Although in a few issues, there may or may not be ANOTHER plane out of Rio Lindo. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.) Next week will be Issue 14, “Destro Attacks!” Feel free to leave a comment or give your thoughts AFTER THE JUMP.