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. Feel free to check out the review of Issue 64 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 an astronaut dangling perilously near a space shuttle being shot at by a bizarre alien looking craft.
On to the issue
The issue begins with an astronaut working on a satellite while connected to a standard space shuttle used by NASA.
These are supposed to be standard NASA astronauts, but in researching, the names have significance. In this comic, Colonel Prupis seems to be in charge of the mission. In real-life, Bob Prupis was the head of Hasbro’s toys for boys and was trying to bring back G.I.Joe with a secret plan for success back in the late 70’s early 80’s. Not ironically, the internal memos for the resurgence of G.I.Joe was called “Operation: Blast-Off.”
I kid you not. (Source: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/626 … rican-hero)
Another character in the comic was Lt. Kirk. (Lt. is the abbreviation for Lieutenant, a rank below Captain.) Of course, this could be a subtle nod towards the famous Star Trek character Captain Kirk. But in context, this is more likely referencing Bob Prupis’ corporate lieutenant, Kirk Bozigian. He was brought in to coordinate the efforts of the 3-3/4″ G.I.Joe line.
Now you know!!
But over on Cobra Island, the Baroness is looking a bit too longingly at the young impostor Fred VII. She is advising him to continue to pretend to know what is going on and to pay attention and follow her lead when he isn’t sure about details about certain operations.
Dr. Mindbender bursts in with important news. Did you ever have a co-worker burst in to a room where your boss was working on something or having a meeting and interrupt it? It is super rude, even if it seems to be important enough to interrupt the boss. Of course, he interrupted himself in the morning to floss instead of putting on a shirt. Yes flossing is important. But so is getting dressed completely.
Dr. Mindbender prattles on about their secret operation being blown and Fred VII agrees with him that they need to take decisive action. I think Baroness was concerned about the upcoming mission. Or perhaps she was filled with regret as she was hoping for a romantic moment with Fred VII.
Hawk arrives in Utah to get bad news from Mainframe. Evidently the Air Force/NASA mission has discovered something unusual going on. They are waiting for more details as to what secret interference has been going on with the satellites.
Serpentor seems insincere as he congratulates the Baroness on riding into space with Cobra Commander. I think he is hoping they have some type of accident, as space launches and missions are filled with danger. Or it could be a literary device used by Larry Hama to portray just how far over his head Fred VII was getting in with his charade.
And just like that, Cobra launches a shuttle mission from Cobra Island.
The comic introduces the new Joe code-name: Payload. He fills in Hawk and Mainframe that Cobra has launched a shuttle mission to intercept the Air Force/NASA mission. They were worried that it was a missile, or possibly a nuke. But now they have to protect the Air Force satellite mission.
The Cobra shuttle looks like an alien spacecraft. Or like what we might have imagined one in the 1980’s to look like. It arrives at the shuttle and appears to be ready to attack the satellite mission or the Air Force shuttle.
So instead of taking months or years to get a shuttle mission ready, the Joe’s in Utah bring up a secret launch platform of their own. They had fake ground on top of a hydraulic lift. Another new Joe, code-name: Hard Top brings up the launch complex and gantry to get the shuttle into position.
Hasbro sold the Defiant Shuttle Complex as a toy vehicle and play-set that remains a grail to many collectors still today. For those who missed out on the giant play-set, they released the Crusader shuttle as an option a year or two later.
This comic shows off the complex and the importance of getting the launch trajectory correct. I’m not sure how many toys this issue helped sell. If you were into space stuff, this really was an impressive sized vehicle/play-set. (No, I never had one. One friend had a FLAGG, but I never went over to anyone’s house as a young person to see a Defiant.)
Back in space…
The Baroness and “Cobra Commander” (Fred VII) are plotting. They are trying to capture a satellite to find out how much the government knows about their Terror Drome distribution project.
Also interesting, the crew seem to be Tele-Vipers, the under-rated communication officers of the Viper corps. I think the success of the space genre of G.I.Joe and Cobra, we later got Astro-Viper’s and similar Cobra-naut type figures.
The Baroness orders Scrap-Iron to fire missiles.
The Joe’s evidently broke all realistic time barriers and arrived in the same orbit with the satellite, the Air Force shuttle, and the Cobra shuttle. Not ironically, Sci-Fi is tasked with using his laser sniper skills to help out the precarious situation. They need to take evasive maneuvers to miss the rockets from Cobra.
Sci-Fi shoots loose the satellite from the Cobra bay door robotic recovery arm as well as a hit on the cockpit. Baroness hits her head and gets knocked out.
Not a real PSA: “Remember kids, if you go fight in a space shuttle war, remember to wear your safety helmet. You might get obliterated into smithereens, but at least you won’t hit your head or get a concussion.”
“Cobra Commander” (Fred VII) realizes how far in over his head he really has gone. He was relying on Baroness for tactics and plotting. Now everyone was screaming for him to give them directions. The panels of the page truly show someone in a panic.
The Joe’s recover the trapped astronaut who tells them that the Cobra shuttle didn’t want him, just the satellite. He just got caught in the way.
Fred VII has rebounded mentally and immediately starts barking orders and all the Tele-Vipers “Yes, sir” in reply.
The Joe’s are in trouble, but Hawk wants them to maintain their heading. Payload asks if they plan to ram the Cobra shuttle.
Fred VII wants to fire all of the rockets once the new coordinates are plugged in to Scrap-Iron’s computer.
Cobra destroys all the Air Force spy satellites, but leaves the Joe’s shuttle and the Air Force shuttle intact.
Meanwhile, over in Europe…
Snake-Eyes, Scarlett, and Blind Master are training with the circus in Eastern Europe.
Soon they will transition into neighboring Borovia. I’m not sure how countries like Borovia would be accepting outsiders into the country, even for entertainment purposes. Also, it’s risky for the performers. What if the government doesn’t let them back out?
At any rate, we’ll see if we get back to the Borovian prisoner rescue attempt story next time, in “the tenth letter.”
Issue 65 was an interesting space shuttle mission story. But in the end, we had Scarlett, Snake-Eyes, and the Blind Master working undercover as part of a circus act. They are working on a rescue plan to bring back Stalker, Snow-Job and Quick-Kick who were taken prisoner back in Issue 61.
Hope you enjoyed this review!
Tune in soon for Issue 66.
Now You Know – a little more about:”SHUTTLE COMPLEX” Feel free to let me know what you thought of this issue in the comments or on Twitter or Instagram @yorktownjoe.