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G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #1

Marvel | Back To G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero | June 1982 | Volume 1 | USA
1st Print

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June 1982
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    Dr. Adele Burkhart, after accidentally creating a Doomsday weapon, has taken a pacifist stance and refused to participate any further, even testifying about the secret weapon in public hearings designed to render it useless. Unfortunately, this makes her a target for Cobra (a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world!) The Baroness escapes with Burkhart in the space of half a page, at which point the action quickly cuts to The Pentagon, where General Austin makes a veiled reference to excrement hitting the fan before activating his response to the crisis…With an exfiltration the only rational option, Austin’s colleague, General Flagg opts to activate his team, Special Counter-Terrorist Group Delta, Codenamed: G.I. Joe! The Thirteen members of G.I. Joe (14, if you count the obscured Shooter, a profile that was originally an in-joke referring to Marvel EIC Jim Shooter, later spawning an untold tale that takes place behind the scenes of this issue) are notified of their activation in another brilliant sequence by Hama, as Joe topkick Hawk is driven into their headquarters by transport specialist Clutch…

    Hawk calls his soldiers together, allowing Hama to deliver quiet characterization (and also a few shots at Burkhart’s pacifist stance from Stalker) and setting up the comic book equivalent of a heist movie, with the team splitting up to sneak into Cobra’s island headquarters. Though this is clearly NOT the Joes first mission, it is their first tangle with Cobra, as they are shown “the only known photo” of Cobra Commander before breaking down the gig, throwing in some more pointed social commentary (Hawk refuses to consider a bombing strike because “we’re the good guys”, for instance) before the team goes wheels up. Breaker and Flash, tasked with jamming communications, discover their task to be a bit harder than expected…At the same time, Snake-Eyes and Scarlett stealthily make their way into the castle stronghold, tasked with taking out the power generators, sowing confusion and deactivating the electric fences…It’s important to know that they’re not ninjas quite yet, or at least not textually speaking, making this mission a tense tightrope walk by the Joes. Hama uses his knowledge of military tactics and comportment to make the team’s over-the-top antics still seem grounded in Army-type realism, or at least Army-type movie realism as practiced by Chuck Norris, John Wayne and Rambo. Cobra Commander wasn’t always an ineffectual lisping weirdo with a snake-fetish. In these pages, he is cunning, ruthless and utterly without scruples. The issue doesn’t shy away from death, either, as the Joes find that Cobra has decimated the small village on the island, followed by Rock N’ Roll tearing a Cobra battalion apart with the gatling gun in his sidecar. (It’s called the “RAM – RApid-fire Motorcycle,” bee tee dubs. You’re welcome.) Unfortunately for the Commander, Snake-Eyes and Scarlett are still inside his fortress, and as for Adele Burkhart? She may be a pacifist, but she is in no way cowardly. Before they can take the Commander into custody, the rest of the team busts in, and Cobra Commander sets off a time-bomb designed to bring the castle down around them. Fortunately, his helicopter still works, and bazooka trooper Zap has flight training. Aaand KaBOOM! Dr. Burkhart apologizes the Joes for her assumptions about soldiers, and they realize that her questions about security don’t make her a traitor, and a good time was had by all. The backup story in this issue shows off the pencils of another comic book workhorse, Don Perlin, in a story that puts Rock N’ Roll in the spotlight as a hero on a desperate mission that may mean Scarlett’s death.
    (263 Review)

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