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. Feel free to check out the review of Issue 65 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 a scene of the 3 captured Joe’s facing execution, Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow lurking outside the window ready to save the day, and barbed wire between us as readers and the action. Nice depth to the cover. And spoiler alert: If you let the ninja sword brothers dynamic duo inside the fence, it is not going to end well for the bad guys.
On to the issue
The issue begins with Storm Shadow and Billy dressed in white ninja garb discussing philosophy and finger knitting symbols.
Jinx interrupts their training to give an update on the makeshift rescue mission.
She brings them actual intel and photographs from Borovia showing Scarlett. Storm Shadow believes that implies both she and Snake-Eyes survived and are “in-country” ready for action.
Two Borovian goons somehow watch a circus practice. I’m not sure if this was intelligence gathering, recreation, or just a convenient mechanism for giving us a back story of the White Clown and his lost love Magda.
Sgt. Mosiev and Corporal Olga are quite the pair of Eastern European losers. I think causing psychological pain to the White Clown may have interrupted their normal past-times of torturing pets or shooting random prisoners. Losers with a capital L.
Despite having to fake their deaths and spending months of comic issues time to get to Borovia for Snake-Eyes and Scarlett, Storm Shadow, Jinx and Billy magically appear as if they took a private jet there. Just magic!!
The six of them gather and prepare for the rescue operation by getting in the right mindset. The diminutive circus assistant spies them in wonder.
They discuss the letters in their mystical ninja preparation to clear their mind of distractions to focus on nothing but the mission ahead. It is pretty intense!
Meanwhile, back at the prison camp…
An escape attempt happened in a rainstorm. Sgt. Mosiev, the self-proclaimed sniper champion, is eager to go hunting. He leaves Corporal Olga to discipline the remaining prisoners.
As Sgt. Mosiev leaves the front gate in his jeep, the rescue team appears. They have been waiting for someone to open the gate briefly so they could slip inside.
Yeah, it is not going to be a good day to be a Borovian prison guard.
The front guards are cut down silently, while Corporal Olga is murdering people inside the barracks.
Boris, the prison snitch informant, lies that the escape was planned by the Joe’s. Olga sees through his lies and orders him to be taken out.
Olga has the guards haul Boris away to be beaten to death. Evidently, that is how she relaxes to go to sleep.
Just after Boris dies, the rescue team arrives to dispatch the guards. Readers are spared further gory details as Scarlett uses a crossbow bolt to take out the only light in the room.
Olga mistakes the noise of the guards being horribly slain by the ninja team. She thinks the guards are still beating Boris. The rescue team bursts into the barracks with the weapons they took off the guards. They provide the weapons to the prisoners so they can use them to escape and resist further oppression.
Stalker vouches for them.
The rescue team and the Joe’s move to escape, and the prisoners say they are going to join the underground to help restore a rightful government to Borovia.
But first they have some unfinished business. I think Corporal Olga is about to have a nightmare…
Sgt. Mosiev returns in his jeep with the dead prisoner tied to the front bumper. No doubt, he planned to use the grisly display to intinidate the prisoners with the hopes of deterring future escape attempts.
But he is angry that the gates are open and the guards are missing.
When he finds all the prisoners gone and all the guards and Olga dead, he reloads his Dragunov sniper rifle and gets back in the jeep to pursue the escapees.
He called and warned the border guards that escapees might be coming, so they ramped up security. The Joe’s and the rescue team are looking for alternatives, when the White Clown and his assistant Orlovsky arrive.
The border guards report to Sgt. Mosiev that there have been no sightings, but maybe the artillery on the bluff might have spotted them. But it isn’t artillery. It is the circus cannon used for the “Human Cannonball” performances. They have been launching the escapees and the rescue team across the river.
I’m not sure how the badly injured Quick-Kick and Snow-Job could possibly have survived that type of an escape, but let’s go with more Marvel magic. It’s not like the force of being propelled through a cannon into an icy river wouldn’t instantly put an already damaged human into catatonic shock. Right!
Just as Sgt. Mosiev is about to fire, a border officer knocks his rifle away claiming they couldn’t afford another international incident, since the prisoners were already across the river.
He recovers quickly and takes aim at the prisoners on the bluff. In a scene that could have been taken from a movie, Stalker and Sgt. Mosiev sight each other in…
A final duel between righteous Lonzo and the evil Sgt. Mosiev.
Yeah. Kind of saw that coming…
The White Clown gives a speech about why they helped and how it honored his beloved Magda’s view of standing up against evil and holding to the good.
And that brings us to a conclusion of this story arc, with only a need to repatriate the rescued Joe’s, and for Snake-Eyes and Scarlett to resurface from the dead. And that can wait until next issue!
Issue 66 was an interesting and satisfying end to the grisly Borovian captivity arc. We had ninja action, bad guys meeting justice, prisoners being rescued and final judgment being passed by Stalker. He definitely “had the high ground” both ethically and physically.
Hope you enjoyed this review!
Tune in soon for Issue 67.
Now You Know – a little more about:”THE TENTH LETTER” Feel free to let me know what you thought of this issue in the comments or on Twitter or Instagram @yorktownjoe.