First of all, for those not familiar with the term “Red-Eye” in this usage. Back in the day, airlines would refer to flights as a “Red-Eye” if they were scheduled to arrive very late, or the flight would entail flying all through the night. Being a passenger on such a flight would likely result in sleep deprivation, and therefore, red eyes. Hence, the term.
This is a continuation of a story arc that began in Issue 12. Snake-Eyes, the Eskimo Kwinn, and the evil Cobra scientist Dr. Venom had been trapped in a bunker on a small island that had been sunk by a missile strike. The bunker survived the explosion, and they tried to escape. Finally, in our last Issue, they opened a valve and flooded the bunker to equalize the pressure. Kwinn pried the door open while underwater. Snake-Eyes and Dr. Venom swam up and away. But Dr. Venom hit Kwinn in the head with a wrench as they swam away. Toward the end of Issue 14, Dr. Venom mentioned that Kwinn was dead. Dr. Venom and Snake-Eyes were taken into custody by Cobra mercenaries disguised as Sierra Gordo revolutionaries.
The mercenaries briefly debated on a course of action:
a) Shooting them and dragging their bodies to the airfield.
b) Marching them to the airfield, then shooting them and flying their bodies back to Cobra HQ
c) Just showing Cobra Commander their heads
Thankfully, they chose option B, which brings us to this issue.
On to the issue.
Author Larry Hama employs a back-track literary technique. So instead of marching through the jungle like we saw at the end of Issue 14, the Mercenaries have Dr. Venom and Snake-Eyes at gunpoint at the water’s edge. Dr. Venom is groveling for their lives. The mercenaries mention none of their remaining members know how to fly, and Dr. Venom mentions he is an excellent pilot. The mercenaries are wary of Dr. Venom, as he might fly them somewhere HE wants to go, where bad things will happen.
Suddenly Kwinn rises from the water and kills all the mercenaries with his Browning machine gun. I assume water must not impact the machine gun’s operation in any way, at least for purposes of this issue.
Snake-Eyes initially pushes Venom out of the way, so they aren’t collateral damage. But when the threats are neutralized, Snake-Eyes is holding Venom’s head under the water. Kwinn forces Snake-Eyes to let him up so he can fly them away. Kwinn saw the situation as a binary choice: Let Venom fly them away or remain in Sierra Gordo and hope not to get killed. He didn’t consider the tangential option that there might be a pilot at the airfield that they might be able to bribe or coerce into flying them away.
After a momentary truce, they make it to the airfield, take out a few guards and take off in an old WWII British Avro Lancaster bomber. One of the four engines does not start initially, which could prevent their takeoff.
There are some tense moments where the revolutionaries are shooting at them, but they finally get the last engine to turn over and fly away. But the landing gear is lost in the process. That could be a problem…
In the process of getting airborne, Snake-Eyes takes out some fighters parked on the ground to prevent them from being chased.
Venom seems tense, and has Kwinn fly for a bit. He comments he can’t call Cobra for help on the radio, since they tried to kill all of them. But he sends a message by tapping Morse code through the radio.
Shortly after there is an old British Spitfire WWII Era fighter is peppering them with machine gun fire. Snake-Eyes took out the fighters on the runway, but there was a fighter in the hangar. They do some nifty flying ad get into some darkness made even darker by the absence of moonlight. Venom waits a few moment for the fighter pilot’s eyes to adjust to the darkness, then he has them turn on all the running lights. The pilot is temporarily blinded and crashes since he was in the process of diving right behind them. Venom and Kwinn pull the Lancaster out of the dive. The Spitfire pilot did not and crashed.
Meanwhile, over at Cobra HQ, Destro and the Baroness bring Cobra Commander the news that Dr. Venom is alive and has a serum that will stabilize the plague toxin virus. (Last issue it killed the “volunteer” that the Baroness had injected.
Dr. Venom asks Snake-Eyes to check on the bomb bay doors, as he thinks there might be loose or open. But when Snake-Eyes gets back there, he opens the door and Snake-Eyes falls out!!
Kwinn runs back to rescue him, Dr. Venom tries to kill them both by once again hitting Kwinn in the head with a sizable wrench. Despite all the mayhem, the plane continues to fly. Kwinn loses his temper and picks up Venom. He is ready to throw him out. But Venom begs and reminds him they still need to fly the rest of the way to Florida. So he is allowed to keep breathing again. Why Kwinn didn’t break both of his legs so he could do them no more harm, I will never know. Perhaps he figured if Venom passed out from the pain and went into shock, then they would crash and all die. At any rate, they flew on.
We digress from the action for just a few panels. Hawk, Scarlett and Stalker are discussing the intelligence from the Vermont operation. They had some vial remnants that may have held toxins, but everything was destroyed by fire. The only thing that survived that they noticed was printer’s ink. This will be important in the future, so tuck that away in your mind for now.
Then a few panels at Cobra HQ where the Baroness and Destro have departed and a new character arrives to meet with Cobra Commander. His eye patched visitor is none other than the evil Major Bludd.
Cobra Commander is no fool and figured out he needs to get rid of Destro. He believes Destro is a threat to his leadership. And Destro is also somehow involved with the Baroness. He plots with Major Bludd on how to kill Destro. In a shadowy room or hallway elsewhere, Destro and the Baroness are whispering to each other while standing VERY close to one another.
Back over the ocean, our trio flies over a fishing boat. Dr. Venom suggests they strafe it. Kwinn objects, stating they have done nothing wrong. The “fishermen” remove a tarped machine gun and open up on the bomber. Evidently, they were not fisherman but were smuggling. The Lancaster springs a leak and begins losing fuel and oil. Some of it falls over the boat while they are still shooting. This catches fire and blows up their boat. But now the group are nearly out of gas.
They throw stuff overboard and begin cutting the panels off the Lancaster’s body with an emergency fire axe to lighten the weight and increase their slim chances of making it to land.
There are a few panels of a lawyer for Cobra getting deployed. He could be a predecessor of the Crimson Guard which will not be seen until much later.
There are a few panels of an old couple on Miami Beach commenting on how low the plane is flying, as a crowd of beach goers rushes away from the beach. He calmly tells her it brings back memories from WWII. (It is actually quite philosophical and historically interesting.)They end up crash landing right on the beach and the old couple remarkably survive. Dozens of police cars surround the scene. The old woman complains her drink is ruined by all the sand. The husband replies and asks her if she wants him to call a cop?
After a few pages of ads, we see the three being taken to booking where Snake-Eyes and Kwinn are locked up. But Cobra’s lawyer was already waiting for them to arrive. He has a court order releasing Dr. Venom into his custody. Dr. Venom wishes the others well in the license plate shop. (Evidently, at some point in history, the United States forced prisoners to work on manufacturing license plates.)
Issue 15 holds a special place for me, as it was my first G.I. Joe comic. I found it at a corner general store while visiting my grandparents during summer break in a tiny unincorporated town in Michigan. I had Joe figures, and I had watched the cartoon, but I really had not delved into comics, as there weren’t any in the stores I frequented with Mom and Dad. After I got this issue, I knew I had to find out what had happened before, and what was going to happen next. I found a literal pile of Issue #1 on clearance at Target, and that was my second comic. After that I could not find any for a while again. I think I got some issues in the 20’s or later 20’s. Then I got a 2nd Print 3-pack of #2, #26, and #27. After I got a job, I was able to start collecting back issues.
Now You Know – a little more about the “Red-Eye to Miami!” Next week will be Issue 16, “Night Attack” Feel free to leave a comment or give your thoughts AFTER THE JUMP.