Issue 49 introduced us to the more “science fiction” strand of the G.I.Joe legend and mythos. Synthesizing DNA harvested from various decaying corpses is not something we can do now, let alone in the 1980’s. But Larry Hama proves ahead of the curve on human cloning as a viable possibility for a story arc. Feel free to check out the review of Issue 49 in case you missed it. (You can catch up on other “Now You Know With YorktownJoe”reviews there as well!)
On to the issue
This issue begins with the Joes and Cobras in a complete fire-fight battle in the town of Springfield. Springfield has been the scene of a lot of Cobra activity, and was first introduced to us back in Issue 10. Most of the residents are Cobra agents and their families. After the introduction of Serpentor in Issue 49, Cobra is attempting to evacuate Springfield and move everyone in the town to safety on Cobra Island. The title page indicates the battle has been raging since Issue 49. Recondo and Scarlett appear injured. Readers of the continuing series of A Real American Hero might notice a parallel. Scarlett carried Snake-Eyes out when he was injured in the late 150’s or early 160’s.
Stalker and Spirit are pinned down and taking fire from Serpentor’s forces. They are attempting to hold ground and let the undercover Cobra “town residents” escape. Spirit radios Hawk to let them know the situation.
Hawk tells them they need to hold the forces at bay, while they assault another part of town.
If you read this entire issue from a Cobra perspective, you would think these were freedom loving Americans being abused by an alternate reality hard-lined government bent on using tanks and terror to instill civil obedience.
Serpentor begins to display his leadership by rescuing a Cobra trooper who gets hit, and then rallying the troopers to follow him. The speeches Serpentor gives are each little masterpieces from author Larry Hama.
Nearly the entire town of Springfield is undercover Cobra operatives, and their families. They are all ordered to burn any evidence of Cobra propaganda. The disturbing scene of a Crimson Guardsman killing his dog in front of his children should dispose of any ideas that Cobra might be the “good guys” being abused in this issue. The moral high ground just went out the chimney with the ashes of Cobra literature…
Serpentor continues to attack the Stalker’s team of Joes, including preparing for a suicidal frontal assault directly into the Joe’s gunfire! He is trying to hold the Joe’s busy long enough for the rest of Springfield to escape. They begin to rush the Joes and he leads from the front shouting “COBRAAA!!!”
Hawk coordinates trying to secure the airport and highways in and out of town. But at the museum that had served as Dr. Mindbender’s secret lab, the Dreadnoks are making their own plans to escape. They don’t have leadership, since Zartan is currently in custody in G.I.Joe’s headquarters. Buzzer is sharing he knows the whereabouts.
Ripper pulls Storm Shadow’s sword out of the tank holding his body. I’m not sure why they would have put his sword in the tank holding his body. I’m not Dr. Mindbender. But it does help set up the drama that follows…
Ripper is certainly going to be looking for replacement jeans after this exchange… Storm Shadow has seemingly risen from the dead.
The Baroness mistakes Destro’s motives and believes momentarily that he plans to overthrow Cobra Commander in the turmoil following the evacuation to Cobra Island. Destro displays integrity and loyalty, and appears disappointed if not disgusted by the Baroness’s complete lack thereof.
As with most direct frontal assaults, there are casualties. Serpentor is hit in the arm. With his injury, the spirit of the Cobra squad wanes.
But Serpentor proceeds to place his knife in the fire of a burning vehicle, then cauterizes the wound by placing the glowing blade against his wound.
Not only does he endure this pain, he almost seems to enjoy it. And just like that, these troops will follow him to the end.
While Serpentor is performing DIY emergency surgery, Snake-Eyes hot wires a Springfield garbage truck. Recondo and Scarlett are loaded in the truck. Stalker drives with Quick-Kick on one side and Snake-Eyes on the other. They need to get the wounded medical attention, and they take advantage of the brief lull in the battle to make a break for it.
Storm Shadow rises with his sword in hand, staring down all three Dreadnoks who by now ALL need a wardrobe change.
Storm Shadow is confused since he doesn’t feel alive or dead, and doesn’t understand what happened to him.
Over at the airport, Flash is checking out empty hangars and takes a hydraulic lift down. He finds a hidden tunnel system, as well as a self destruct device connected to a timer.
The EELS are completing their “sapper” work connecting explosives, blasting caps, wire, and timing devices. Firefly must have trained them well.
When the detonation begins it creates a series of explosions destroying the underground tunnel system and the evidence of Cobra involvement in and under the city.
While the explosions are happening, large helicopters lift off from the Springfield football field under cover of darkness. The Baroness tries to convince Destro to leave Serpentor to be captured or killed by the Joes.
Meanwhile, the garbage truck with the wounded Joes rallies to the airport to get them medical attention. There are about 4 pages of a clever ruse Cobra uses to trick the Hawk’s Joes at the airport into thinking something is happening while the rest of the helicopters escape.
Destro rescues Serpentor and his men, as well as Dr. Mindbender and Firefly who were with him. The Baroness takes credit for coming to the rescue, and Destro can’t believe it, since she told him to leave them just a few pages back.
Cobra Commander should be happy that the evacuation of Springfield to Cobra Island is so successful. But he realizes that the “ultimate warrior” is really going to end up being the “ultimate leader.” He is concerned Serpentor will usurp his power and take Cobra away from him.
In all the confusion, Storm Shadow and the Dreadnoks slink away to Zartan’s secret lair. It is currently configured as a service station.
They are met by an unexpected visitor. It is Zarana, who claims she is the sister of Zartan.
And that will be continued in Issue 51: Thunder Machine!
Issue 50 is an over-sized issue that also contains an intro to a spin-off comic series – G.I.Joe Special Missions. These are supposedly the most secret of secret missions. A direct quote from the first page indicates: “There are some missions so secret, so sensitive, that even the Joes who go on them are told only the bare minimum, on a strictly need-to-know basis. As far as the other Joes are concerned, these missions never existed. These are the G.I.Joe Special Missions.”
This story is also by Larry Hama. Most of the Special Missions series were “one off” missions with a limited number of Joes involved. A few had a brief arc. And very few intertwined with the main series. They were very interesting.
This brief mission involved Joes rescuing a hijacked Russian passenger plane. The plane was flying from San Francisco, went to Anchorage where the Joes snuck on. The flight was being hijacked to Eastern Siberia. There was also an American chess team aboard.
There is a brief panel with Lady Jaye changing from her uniform into a flight attendant uniform.
The Joes successfully rescued the passengers before the terrorists blew them up and before the Russian air force shot them down. I encourage you all to purchase the issue, or pull out your own copy and take a stroll back to the 80’s!
Hope you enjoyed this review!
Tune in soon for Issue 51.
Now You Know – a little more about: ”THE BATTLE OF SPRINGFIELD” Feel free to let me know what you thought of this issue in the comments AFTER THE JUMP.