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#143 - "Dark Island"
Writers: Eric Fein (framing sequence), Vic Sutherland (rest of story)
Pencilers: Jesse D' Orozco (framing), Tom Mandrake (rest)

Summary:
In a flashback, Scarlett is training before her Cobra inflitration (issue 134). While talking with Hawk, she flashes back to another flashback...

In the first year of the team, Scarlett, Breaker and Rock n' Roll were sent to a Carribean Island, home of "Safe House", an international prisoner exchange joint run by Madame Umbra. Scarlett masquerades as a Russian prisoner to get them in.

With her cover soon blown, Scarlett teams up with a Russian infiltrator, who was also sent to stop Umbra's organization. He's quickly killed, but the egotistical Umbra recognizes Scarlett and wants to fight her one-on-one. Breaker and Rock n' Roll run in, and the three escape into Umbra's island. Umbra hunts them like a good Bond villain, but Breaker finally manages to get a signal to the Joe's sub. The calvary arrives while Breaker's time-delayed bomb blows up Safe House. Madame Umbra grabs the gun in Scarlett's hand and squeezes the trigger to kill herself.

Notes:

  • Supposedly, this story was actually produced in 1982. Tom Mandrake was quite embarassed of it and it sat in the bins for years. He was supposed shocked when it finally saw print.... but he kinda' laughed it off. His work is actually not too bad for 1982.
     
  • No mention of Cobra. Just that Umbra has been doing her prisoner exchanges "for a fee" and has been shuffling some of that cash to fund terrorist organizations. The cover mentions that this is "Cobra's Dark Island"..so draw your own conclusions.
     
  • As mentioned, this is more like a James Bond story. While it's set in the team's early days, it really doesn't fit them well. Possibly a reason it was kept in the vaults for over a decade.
     
  • When the Joe sub arrives, all of the reinforcements look like Sgt. Rock. No way to score these guys. Although one fires a bazooka, so I'll say that's Zap.
     
  • Hawk made Scarlett think about this early mission to psyche her up-- how she "overcame the odds". But in the flashback, Scarlett feels she "blew it", because she didn't prove herself and allowed Madame Umbra to get so close. Back in the present, she passes a training sequence and realizes she has to put the hard times behind her.
     
  • Scarlett's training sequence is a little too "X-men Danger Room-ish" for GI Joe tastes.
     
  • The story's framing sequence is all of three pages and takes place right before issue 134.
     
  • In both sequences, Hawk's hair is back to being blond.
Appearances:
Characters (figures): Hawk, Scarlett, Rock n' Roll, Breaker, Zap (?)

Characters ("comic-only"): Madame Umbra

Vehicles and stuff (toys): none
Vehicles and stuff (not toys): GI Joe sub

Firsties:
Characters: Madame Umbra
Vehicles and stuff: none (although this could retroactively be the first appearance of the GI Joe sub).

Rating: 2 Flag Points

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