G.I. Joe #11 "The Pipeline Ploy"
Writer: Larry Hama
Penciller: Mike Vosburg
The entire Joe team has been tracking Cobra activity along the Alaskan pipeline. Pinned down by Cobra forces, they receive reinforcements by helicopter, carrying new Joes Doc, Gung-Ho, Snow Job and the Battle bear snowmobile. Rock n' Roll, Hawk and Snake-Eyes join up with the three new Joes to pursue the Cobras. Meanwhile, back in Springfield, Cobra Commander sends in his new top field commander-- a shadowy guy in black leather.
Cobra is believed to be releasing a nerve toxin in the Alskan pipeline. The Joes break-in to a Cobra occupied pumphouse and are infected by the toxin. Snake-Eyes, Snow Job and Rock n' Roll take off on the Battle Bear to track down the antidote. Rock n' Roll is taken aback at Gung-Ho's grandstanding ways. Snow Job offers to set up Rock n' Roll with Gung-Ho's sister, a high-fashion model.
Along the way, the Joes are attacked by Cobra Viper hang-gliders, but new Joe Airborne arrives in his own Falcon hang-glider to make the save. They encounter a nuclear power plant and learn that Cobra has stolen a supply of plutonium. Zap and another new Joe, Wild Bill, fly down to another pumphouse to maintain quarantine on the working crew. The other joes catch up to the pumphouse and notice that the tracks of a Cobra HISS tank end at the pumphouse's garage. The "crew" are revealed as Cobras and the nerve toxin, while real and lethal, was a ruse. The real objective was to steal the plutonium and send it out through the closed-off pipeline. The shadowy Cobra field commander is on hand to explain all this, but suddenly Doc attacks him with a snowball and manages to grab the antidote. While Cobra's plutonium heist is thwarted, the field commander escaped. The infected Joes all receive the antidote, while Snow Job reveals that he was conning Rock n' Roll. Gung-Ho's sister really is a fashion model, but she's 9 years old. Snow Job was going to ask Rock n' Roll for 20 bucks to make the "date". Which is why he's called "Snow Job".
This issue essentially launched the second year of GI Joe. It also started a tradition, as every year there seemed to one issue that I called a "toy jam". An issue where they debut a whole buncha' new vehicles and figures. These were usually promoted with an animated TV commercial. The next "toy jam" probably occurs in issues 24 and 25.
The commercial for this issue can be found in ZIP format HERE
The shadowy field commander is only seen from the elbows down. Obviously, it was Destro, who always looked cool from
the elbows down and like an idiot from the elbows up.
Baroness metions that she's already met Destro, much to the surprise of the Commander.
Cobra Commander equates himself to General Flagg, and Destro to Hawk. So I guess Destro wasn't really brought in as the "Enemy Weapons Supplier". My bad. But since the HISS tanks arrive this issue, it's easy to fill in the blanks, behind the scenes, and assume Destro did indeed have a weaponry contract with Cobra.
The first half of this story reads like a battlefield issue of "G.I. Combat". Hawk orders Doc, Gung-Ho and Snow Job to relieve the men on the firing line. Alot of battlefield strategy, with base camps, troop movement and other stuff. Probably the closest G.I.Joe got to being a traditional war comic.
Doc is sent to the front line, but later he mentions that the Geneva Convention prohibits him from using a weapon. But...we didn't actually SEE Doc fire a weapon.
All five of the new Joes are having their first encounter with the team. However, about 10 years later, Doc and Wild Bill were retconned into being on the mission that scarred Snake-Eyes' face. A big error, since in this issue, Doc tries to lift up Snake-Eyes' mask and has no idea why he's wearing one. You'd think if Doc really had been on that early mission, he would've remembered that Snake-Eyes was blasted in the mug and disfigured.
Gung-Ho runs around, bare-chested, in the Alaskan snow. He also appears to have superhuman strength as he takes out a Cobra RPG squad with his fists. One of the first real "cartoony" elements of the book. The Joes started to become like the Smurfs in their second year: Gung-Ho was Hefty Smurf, Tripwire was Clumsy Smurf and I suppose Doc could even be Brainy Smurf. Of course, Hawk is Papa Smurf and Scarlett is Smurfette.
Wild Bill looks nothing like his distinctive apearance. He has a cowboy hat, that's it. When I first read this book, I thought he was just a "comic-only" character, used to fly a helicopter. After all, I remembered seeing a
"Wild Bill" figure with the smaller "Eagle Force" toys that I avoided. I was surprised when I opened up the new 1983 catalog and saw Bill was listed as an actual GI Joe figure with the Dragonfly helicopter.
Wild Bill's Dragonfly is nowhere to be found. The Joes fly around in regular Huey-ish helicopters.
Funny fact about this issue: for years, Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide has listed this issue as "intro:Airborne". Yet all the other listings of the book have no mention of any new Joes or Cobras. Funny how, out of all the hundreds of new crap that debutted, Overstreet felt that Airborne's appearance was the only noteworthy citation of all 155 issues! Airborne was never a big character and had maybe ten lines after this.
When Airborne meets the other Joes, he introduces himself as "William Talltree". Rock n' Roll asks if that's "Indian" and Airborne replies: "no, Native American".
The HISS tanks
make their first appearance. Immediately they're depicted as being larger than their toy counterparts. Six guys can fit on one and the cockpit looks to fit two. The HISS was a big, big item for the comics, cartoons and toys. They'll make countless appearances from now on.
Another Snake-Eyes Bad Ass Moment: Hawk mentions that he sent him to get the antidote because "Snake-Eyes ALWAYS comes back".
Appearances: Characters (with figures): The orginal 13 (most in background cameos). Snow Job, Gung-Ho, Wild Bill, Airborne, Doc, Cobra Commander, Destro (in shadows only).
Characters (no action figures, or "comic-only" characters): None. A few nameless techs at the pumping stations.
Vehicles and stuff (toys): MOBAT, HAL (cameos only, all blown up), Polar Battle Bear, HISS tanks, Falcon Glider, Viper Glider
Vehicles and stuff (not toys): The generic helicopters.