Option 38 Stuff

G.I. Joe #7- "The Walls of Death"
Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Herb Trimpe

Summary:
Cobra Commander takes the RTV and its cargo and leaves behind two officers named "Rattler" and "Copperhead" to slowly execute the Joes and October Guard. Clutch uses the remote control machine guns on the VAMP to waste the two Cobras. The teams decide to team up until they track down the plane. Breaker placed a homing beacon in the RTV, enabling them to track it to Cobra's fortress in Iran. After blowing away an Iranian border patrol, the teams sneak into the stronghold. Stalker, Flash and Scarlett encounter several death traps on their way in, similar to Indian Jones stuff. Crumbling walls, rushing water, snake pits, etc. The October Guard arrives at the RTV first, but Cobra Commander again takes control as both teams are surrounded at gunpoint. Suddenly, Clutch, disguised as a Cobra slugs Cobra Commander and sets the teams free. Taking a page from Dr. Doom's book, the "Commander" was simply a decoy with a loudspeaker. The real Commander is babbling on a giant screen. The Joes quickly hop into the RTV, shoves the Rooskies aside and haul out of the complex. They arrive in Pakistan, where Hawk informs Stalker that the team was simply a decoy-- the REAL plane had already been transported out of Afghanistan days ago. They were just transporting a crate of junk. Oooo... another switcheroo plot.

Notes:

  • Yes, Hawk himself was radio-ing Cobra, last issue. It was not a doppleganger or spy. It was all part of Hawk's plan to send a decoy through Afghanistan. Depsite this, for years some fans believed that it was a doppleganger Hawk and a forgotten plotline. Every now and then, someone would say "whattabout that duplicate HAWK from issue 6?!!" It wasn't a duplicate Hawk. The quick tie-up to this storyline left many fans in the dark, since Hawk didn't address his little radio stunt.
  • This was the first multi-part story for the comics.
  • The October Guard was a big hit with fans. Yet, they wouldn't return for a few more years. It took them over 20 years to get "official" action figures, too. As a kid, I would pick up some of the crappy GI Joe knock-off figures, like "American Defense" or "General Patch" and make them my "October Guard".
  • Steeler had a big part in these last four issues (#'s 3-7). He was rarely used after this. When he was, it was usually as a background character, driving his tank.
  • Clutch also had a big part in the same issues, but he remains a prominent Joe for the next two years or so. It wasn't until the fourth wave of Joes (late 1985) that he was pushed to the back. He has a lot of personality and was an early favorite among fans. Mostly due to his comic relief, sleazy pick-up lines and flirtations with Scarlett.
  • Herb Trimpe's pencils were never fantastic, but they absolutely go into the shitter during the last few pages.
  • In the Cobra stronghold, the Commander has another of his Nazi-style rallies. He uses a live cobra, coiled aorund a globe. When he hears the Joes have arrived, he tosses it to a flunky. The cobra quickly snakes around the flunky. Funny, because Cobra had apparently found a rare species of snake that not only acts like a king cobra, but also a boa constrictor.
  • The Cobra uniforms become a bit more standardized in this arc. They're no longer the "Blue HYDRAs", as they begin to resemble their official toy counterparts. But they stil have primarily yellow suspenders and belts, not black.
  • "Rattler" and "Copperhead" were just one-shot names for two non-descript flunkies. But I supppose that would make the driver of the Cobra Water Moccasin "Copperhead II".
  • The quick wrap-up (half a page) kinda' ruins the pace and short-changes the entire story.
Appearances:
Characters (with figures): Scarlett, Clutch, Breaker, Steeler, Stalker, Breaker, Flash, Hawk, Cobra Commander. Cobra flunkies.

Characters (no action figures, or "comic-only" characters): October Guard.

Vehicles and stuff (toys): VAMP, JUMP jet-pack
Vehicles and stuff (not toys): RTV, October Guard's "Kremlin Kiddie Kar"

Rating: 3 Flag Points

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