Issue 63 continues the story arc of the ill-fated mission in Borovia. Billy is reunited with Storm Shadow who is unmasked and wearing a suit. Cobra seems to be onto Joe operations in Utah and the Presidio. And we are briefly mourning the loss of Scarlett and Snake-Eyes. But that seems to be a trick of some sort that might get sorted out in the future issues. Feel free to check out the review of Issue 63 in case you missed it. (You can catch up on other “Now You Know With YorktownJoe” reviews there as well!)
The cover of this issue shows Battle Armor Cobra Commander (or Fred VII), Baroness and Serpentor arguing or perhaps “Maneuvering for Position.”
On to the issue
Fred VII is a Crimson Guardsman whose previous post was in a robotics lab disguised underneath an automotive service station in Denver, Colorado. In the past issues, he helped provide Cobra Commander’s son Billy with an advanced prototype prosthetic leg. He also shot Cobra Commander in the back and buried him in a shallow grave with his accountant/avian trainer Raptor. Raptor followed Jinx and Billy from Denver to San Francisco. Fred VII drove from Denver to Galveston to make a bold move. He chartered a fishing boat with a Vietnamese Captain Minh to sail him into the middle of the Gulf of Mexico near Cobra Island.
Now Cobra Mamba attack helicopters are shooting at the fishing boat…
Captain Minh is freaking out, but Fred VII dons the Commander’s Battle Armor and climbs into a Cobra Pogo attack flight pod. He admits he lied to Captain Minh and doesn’t care that the Captain was about to die.
The Pogo engages in a dogfight with the Mambas and shoots one down.
When they get close to Cobra Island, Serpentor orders the ASP system gun batteries to shoot the Pogo intruder down. When they mention the Mamba is too close, he orders them to shoot them both down.
Of course they miss and only take out the Mamba.
Fred VII climbs out of the Pogo and makes the outrageous claim that HE is actually Cobra Commander.
Back in Utah…
The new Joes who were introduced back in Issue 60 are brought into the Quonset hut above the secret entrance to the Pit.
Chuckles, Falcon, Sci-Fi, Psyche-Out, and Law & Order are escorted in by Crankcase, driver of the A.W.E. Striker.
Some other Joes argue whether the new members are cleared for heading below or not.
But back on Cobra Island…
Serpentor has been quizzing the battle armored man claiming to be Cobra Commander. The Dreadnoks and Cobra soldiers began chanting for them to fight it out. The bloodthirsty masses want to see one of these two kill the other.
But as luck would have it, Baroness and Dr. Mindbender arrive and Zartan offers an alternative. The Baroness knows what the real Cobra Commander looks like. So she will go with him privately to confirm or deny the claims of the new arrival in spiffy battle armor.
Snake-Eyes, Scarlett, and the Blind Master get off a ship. They survived their land mine incident in Grenada. And they traveled in disguise to Europe. One of the ship’s crew informs some sketchy locals that the three Americans had bribed an officer on the ship to smuggle a valise (a small duffel bag) aboard.
They speculate whether it is cash, drugs or diamonds. At any rate, they figure it is worth stealing.
The Blind Master is informed they are being followed. He opens his little bag of tricks to reveal firearms, a hammer, and grenades.
The Blind Master jumps from one vehicle to the pursuit car like a man possessed. He smashes the window with a hammer and throws a grenade in.
The car chase comes to a brief close with a crash, all the while Blind Master is counting, since he knows how long the fuse was on his own grenade. We have seen Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow cut off hair or earrings off would be muggers. For the Blind Master – he issues the death penalty with extreme prejudice.
Scarlett is relieved the Blind Master took his train ticket to Borovia with him. She feels confident that the mysterious elder ninja has the skills to continue using explosions and pyrotechnics to take care of business and regularly fakes his own death to disappear.
Back on Cobra Island…
Fred VII takes off his helmet for the Baroness and reveals he is an impostor.
He explains that Cobra Commander brought Billy to him for help, and then lies that Cobra Commander went off with Billy to build a new life.
Fred VII knows he shot Cobra Commander in the back and had Raptor help him dump the body.
Fred VII believes the Baroness will bring him out and have him killed. But instead she tells him to put the helmet back on and continue the charade. She is going to run the organization and use him as a partner. Or in this case, a shill.
Back in Utah…
Psyche-Out and Chuckles sneak out at night and take a walk around the surface perimeter and observe large tread marks and other strange things they can’t explain. When they return to sneak back into the Quonset hut, they see lights on and hear lots of noise.
There are lots of Joes milling about and they are welcomed back in. But they have no idea who the others are, or where they came from. And with that, the story is “To Be Continued…”
On the letters page there is a profile of Larry Hama, so you get a bonus!
Issue 64 had Scarlett, Snake-Eyes, and the Blind Master travel to France incognito. They are working on a rescue plan to bring back Stalker, Snow-Job and Quick-Kick who were taken prisoner back in Issue 61.
Fred VII is still plotting, and now is in cahoots with the Baroness. But we will have to see about that as well.
Hope you enjoyed this review!
Tune in soon for Issue 65.
Now You Know – a little more about:”MANEUVERING FOR POSITION” Feel free to let me know what you thought of this issue in the comments or on Twitter or Instagram @yorktownjoe.