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GI Joe #188

Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: SL Gallant

GI Joe 188


The Joes track a group of pirates, to the Aden Explorer freighter off the coast of Kalingaland. Led by Abdi Ali, the brother-of-law of Prince Ngoto, the pirates also captured a boatful of protesters. Among the protesters was none other than Dr. Adele Burkhart.

As the Joes board the ship, they encounter unfamiliar troopers in red gear, who appear to have less regard for their own personal safety than expected. Ali loses control of the Explorer to the Black Major and his Red Shadows, who Ali had brought along as his "trump card". The Shadows try using their Muton robot to fight the Joes, but Torpedo is able to slap it with a wad of plastique. With the help of the Tomahwak, the Joes boarding party is able to push back the Shadows. As the situation deteriorates, the Black Major executes Abdi Ali and their hostage, Dr. Burkhart!

As the WHALE approaches, it is attacked by a red "flying skull".


  • Return of Prince Ngoto, who I don't believe we've seen since issue 82 or so, when he was toying with buying armaments from Cobra.
  • The big deal in this issue is obviously the "official" debut of the Red Shadows. They're dedicated to their cause, more ruthless and not afraid to die. That could be the big distinguishing factor in dealing with them, going forward.
  • Sure, the Shadows appeared in the pre-Joe "Battle: Action Force" comics in the UK and the DDP series in 2005, but this is their debut in "A Real American Hero" (Hama) chronology. Black Major and the Muton never appeared in the DDP series.
  • I don't think we'll see any of the 2005 DDP Red Shadows characters (Wilder Vaughn, Dela Eden and the Bam Bam Bigelow guy who painted Count Chocula pictures). I think they were all original characters of DDP... but you never know.
  • The "flying skull", the Robo-Skull is something of a favorite toy amongst collectors. One of the crazy, "UK only" toys that began to disappear around 1985 or so.
  • If you're a Joe fan, reading this issue or recap in March 2013, I can almost guarantee you'll do some Internets researching for Red Shadows stuff, either before or after you've read THIS page.
  • There seems to be an excessive use of sound effects in this issue. Might even be the unofficial record for "most sound effects in a GI Joe Comic". Since this issue is almost non-stop action, it's not unusual.
  • First issue we've had with no Cobras since the relaunch...and maybe since an issue of "Special Missions" in the late 80's. Only time they're even mentioned is when the Joes place mroe charges and Gung-ho says: "Cobras might not have fallen for that".
  • I'm torn on how to score the Red Shadow characters and vehicles, since they were not Hasbro and UK-only. I'll go "figures and toys", with a "UK" designation.
  • Shipwreck's "Polly" makes an appearance. His only line is, thankfully, "Squawk!"
  • If this is the end of Dr. Bukrhart (we don't see a body), it's a very unexpected way to go. Her death would just hammer home the point about how ruthless the Red Shadows are.
  • In a way, this almost feels like an old "toy jam" issue. New villains, new characters and even a new vehicle. It is March, which was usually when new Joe crap hit the toy shelves at your local store. If the Joes suddenly unveil a new or previously-unseen vehicle or characer, next month, it'll definitely be a "toy jam".


Characters (figures): Duke, Scarlett, Gung-Ho, Torpedo, Beach-head, Stalker, Lift Ticket, Wild Bill, Roadblock, Shipwreck, Cutter, "Polly" (cameo), Black Major (UK)

Characters ("comic-only"):Prince Ngoto, Dr. Adele Burkhart (dies), Abdi Ali (dies)

Vehicles and stuff (toys): Tomahawk, WHALE, Robo-Skull (UK)
Vehicles and stuff (not toys): none

Characters: Black Major, Red Shadows
Vehicles and stuff: Muton, Robo Skull

Rating: 4 Flag Points

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