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#100- "Calm Before the Storm"
Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: M.D. Bright

Summary:
Cobra Commander arrives in Millville in a very public way, inviting all the out-of-work citizens to work for him. Most agree and enter into three special trailers to "sign all the papers". They're really being brainwashed by econo-Brainwave Scanners into becoming loyal Cobra zombies. Additionally, Cobra cuts all outside communication and seals off all the roads.

Spirit, Mutt and Junkyard hijack a HISS II and try to radio the Joes. They make it back to Uncle Jeff's place, only to find that Jeff has been brainwashed and is turning them in.

Out in Utah at the Pit III, Zarana leads a Cobra team in a python-ized STUN to activate their sleeper agents (Clutch and Rock n' Roll) with a remote signal. Dusty and Lady Jaye lead a group after Zarana's little battalion. They blow them away, but Zarana manages to escape in a python-ized suit. Clutch and Rock n' Roll were activated...but instead of going into a berserker rage as Cobra wanted, they simply pass out. Psyche-Out sums it up: "even with post-hypnotic suggestion, it's almost impossible to force someone to commit an act they ordinarily wouldn't do! It's typical of the criminal mind to believe that all others are just as unprincipled as they are"

Notes:

  • THAT was the pay-off to the big "brainwashed sleeper agents" plot?! They're activated and they simply pass out. Very lame ending to something that had been given a big push the last four months or so. It was even included on the cover teaser for issue 99.
  • Clutch is wearing a shirt that sez: "K-otics. World Tour 1987". The K-otics were a side project jam-band that Hama was in.
  • Clutch's beard has switched with each issue. One issue he has his usual, messy 5 o' clock shadow, the next he has a full beard. Blame the artist switches. Or, No-Prize it by saying: "his hair grows very fast and he shaves a lot".
  • More art switches: last month, Cobra left for Millville in their transport copters...this month they arrive in the more familiar transport/gunship copters (with the shark teeth on the front)
  • Spirit and Mutt, despite being in Millville for leave, walk around in their usual combat fatigues (sans guns, though).
  • Cobra Commander has some great lines in here. While talking to the people of Millville: "I'm as American as apple pie and motherhood! I believe in Free Enterprise, because that's the American way!! I'm not offering you handouts and welfare! I'm offering you honest work for good wages and I promise a crime-free environment!"
  • With stuff like that, it's too bad that Cobra never got directly involved in politics throughout the series. (Remember: that was one of the original intents of the Crimson Guard program, as detailed in issue 29). Hama would've had a ball making the political undertones of the book the main focus.
  • The Freds all take the place of the Millville police squad. Several are named, but from this point on, it's ridiculous to track all the Freds we see.
  • The cartoon had been gone for a few years, but this issue has some VERY catoony elements. Roxy and Tiff are still around, but the pilot of a Python Conquest EJECTS. Flint also decides to punch a Cobra solider, instead of using all the ammo he's always carrying.
  • In the letters column, Hama comes clean on the demands of the old TV commercials and the Hasbro marketing slant. He says: "I got stuck with Serpentor, Tomax, Xamot and a host of silly characters. I did my best to make them work.... I drew the line at Cobra-La and a few others".
  • Cover Price is 1.50 and this is a "Giant-Sized Issue". First extra-sized story since issue #1! #50 was extra-sized, but it had two stories. Same for #1 (the 8 page back-up). Thus, this issue is the longest continuous Joe story published in one comic.
Appearances:
Characters (figures): Clutch, Rock n' Roll, Mutt, Junkyard, Spirit, Lady Jaye, Flint, Sci-Fi, Dusty, Wild Card, Muskrat, Steamroller, Backblast, Repeater, Psyche-Out, Mainframe, Cobra Commander, Zarana

Characters ("comic-only"): Roxy, Tiff, Uncle Jeff, Lou (gas station owner in Utah, close to the Pit), Mr. Terraciano (Jeff's neighbor), an un-named vet in Millville (opposes Cobra. Helps Mutt n' Spirit)

Vehicles and stuff (toys): Mobile Command Center, Mean Dog, Desert Fox, Silver Mirage, Cobra HISS II, Cobra FANG II, Cobra Condor, CObra Python STUN, Cobra Python Conquest
Vehicles and stuff (not toys): Cobra transport/gunship copter

Firsties:
Characters: Lou, Mr. Terraciano, un-named vet in Millville
Vehicles and stuff: none

Rating: 2 Flag Points

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