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GI Joe #173

Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Ron Wagner

GI Joe 173

Summary:

In Benzheen, the Joes and the former Oktober Guard engage in what appears to be an urban tank duel. In reality, they're actually competing against each other with paintballs, to see which country will get a contract with the Emir of Benzheen. When the exercise ends, a frantic Emir tells them that neighboring Trucial Abysmia is once again invading; this time to back the indigenous opposition to the Emir from within Benzheen.

Both teams contemplate leaving, but upon seeing helpess Benzheenis, decide to stay and fight against the invaders. Once again, Trucial Abysmia is being backed with Cobra armaments, as we see a battalion of HISS tanks approaching.

Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes sneak into Cobra Commander's quarters in Broca Beach and present him with the dead body of Billy. They ask CC for help in tracking the Blue Ninjas. CC is seemingly grieving upon seeing Billy's body.

The two Joe ninjas and the Middle Master then meet up with a sensei named Sensei Moskivina. From Finland, Moskivina is an old friend of the Middle Master and former member of the Blue Ninjas; he's even a cyborg like them. Moskivina says that as people move up the Blue Ninja clan, they slowly become less and less human.

In two other scenes, a guilt-stricken Sneak Peek visits his senile mother in a nursing home. On the USS Flagg, Flint and Lady Jaye dismiss any "feelings" after their last mission, while Darklon tries to needle them.

Notes:

  • The Joes are using a basic US Army Abrams tank for the demonstartion. Took me awhile, because I spent half the book trying to decide if this was a Mauler or MOBAT. It's neither.
     
  • Nice to see Wild Card back. For once, he doesn't break anything.
     
  • Return of the Emir of Benzheen to the title for the first time since issue 115. His hair's gotten gray and he seems just as slimy and whiny as ever.
     
  • Two brand- new Oktober Guard guys debut: Colonel Chikatilo and Malyenkiy. From his rank and way he's presented here, Chikatilo seems to be the new head cheese of the group.
     
  • Chikatilo mentions that they're "no longer the Oktober Guard". It'll be hard to break the habit of referring to them with that name. Until another team-name is given.
     
  • Going back to the old stereotypes of the Guard, Malyenkiy is seen munching on onions and drinking vodka.
     
  • I'm not sure what type of vehicle is leading the HISS tanks on the last page. It looks like Destro's Dominator from the early 90's. But it's apparently the 2005 "Direct-to-Consumer (DTC)" HISS. There have been so many variations and new toys released in the last 10 years that I could be completely off.
     
  • I'm getting a bit of a "Three Kings" vibe from the Joes' decision to stay and help people. Also a bit of a modern Northern Africa vibe with the citizens rising up against their leader.
     
  • Sneak Peek's mom is called "Mrs. King" by the nursing home staff. Meaning that this is the original Sneak Peek and not that weird second version that popped up about 10 years ago. Of note: the rumor is that the original Sneak Peek was named "Owen S. King" after Stephen King's son, who was a huge fan of the line.
     
  • Hama includes a bit of political commentary via Flint. Darklon complains about American "torture" techniques (such as waterboarding) and how these are hyprocritical of the values the US strives for. Flint retorts that they could just toss him to the international court and have him tried.
     
  • The scene with Cobra Commander is interesting. How will he react? Will he storm off after the Blue Ninjas, or will he simply hate Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes all the more. With the way Cobra Commander projected the blame of his brother's death onto Snake-Eyes in the original series, I'm guessing the latter.
     
  • IDW's been going crazy with the variant covers for each issue. I wanted to cite this one because it's part of their "photo cover" gimmick, using GI Joe figures, pictured above. I thought it was odd that the Roadblock, Duke, Scarlett and AWE Striker toys are all modern re-releases, but that the Stalker figure appears to be an old-school 80's figure. No "Swivel-Arm Battle Grip", either!
     
  • I've really enjoyed these last two issues and I'm actually excited to see what happens next. Isn't that what comics are supposed to do?

Appearances:

Characters (figures): Snake-Eyes, Storm Shadow, Flint, Lady Jaye, Cross-Country, Steeler, Wild Card, Cover Girl, Sneak Peek, Dusty, Cobra Commander, Darklon

Characters ("comic-only"): Daina, Billy (dead body), Middle Master, Colonel Chikatilo, Malyenkiy, Sensei Moskivina, Emir of Benzheen

Vehicles and stuff (toys): USS Flagg, Sky Striker (cameo), Cobra HISS, HISS DTC
Vehicles and stuff (not toys):Abrams tank, Russian T-90

Firsties:
Characters: Colonel Chikatilo, Malyenkiy, Sensei Moskivina
Vehicles and stuff: Russian T-90, HISS DTC

Rating: 4 Flag Points

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