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#50- "The Battle of Springfield"
Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Rod Whigham

Summary:
Serpentor rallies the remaining Cobra troops and forces Stalker's team back to the airport. Hawk's team attacks the nearly deserted Museum, recuses Rip-cord, and sends the Dreadnoks running away. Storm Shadow crawls out of one of Dr.Mindbender's specimen tanks and seems to have the same memories as Serpentor. Zap (dressed in the "laser trooper" gear. They STILL can't get it right) descends below Springfield and sees a giantic system of tunnels-- big enough to move planes, tanks, etc.

Destro goes around evacuating Springfield, getting all Cobra pesonnel and their families to the Springfield High School football field. What the Cobras can't carry, they destroy, leaving no trace of the organization. The Cobras detonate their tunnels and alll fly away to Cobra Island. Destro and the Baroness swing by and pick up Serpentor and his troops. The Joes are left with no proof that Cobra was ever there. The Jugglers call Hawk, upset that the team has just attacked a seemingly normal American town.

The Dreadnoks and Storm Shadow arrive at their gas station in New Jersey (first seen in issue 30). Zarana pops out to greet them

G.I. Joe Special Missions preview: "Best Defense"
Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Herb Trimpe

Summary:
Hawk, Stalker, Beachhead, Flint and Lady Jaye thwart a terrorist plot to crash a hi-jacked Russian airliner into a chemical weapons plant in Beringovskiy. Hawk and Stalker investigate the group (the Leon Trotsky Brigade of the Fourth International), while the other three sneak into the plane and take out the terrorists, Steven Seagal style (or would that be Kurt Russell? Whatever that movie was from 1996 with a hi-jacked plane).

Notes:

  • First giant-sized issue since #1. 1.25 cover price, still cheaper than #1's 1.50
  • The Springfield battle is a bit of a letdown, as no real combat is shown. We know that the entire Joe team is there, but many of them are depicted as regular Army guys. The back-up feature saves this book's rating.
  • In a scene that always made me sad, an evacuating Cobra family has to shoot their dog. Wanna' make me feel sappy? Throw in a dog death scene.
  • The mascot of Springfield High School is "Vipers"
  • Whigham's pencils are looking really weak in this issue, too. His figures look very stiff and his vehicles appear as little more than boxes with wheels on them.
  • Duke is not seen or mentioned in the entire story. Hawk's back in full command and Duke's push has died (thankfully). I always had the sense that Hama didn't care for the character of Duke much.
  • Serpentor is a Cobra with actual charisma. He can cut a great promo, helps his wounded men in battle and even charms the Baroness.
  • Cobra Commander picks up on Serpentor's appeal and realizes that his DNA was all from famous military leaders. He becomes paranoid and instantly considers Serpentor a threat.
  • Some tension develops between Destro and the Baroness. She talks about scheming to take over Cobra again, but Destro remains loyal to his commitments and doesn't feel the need to betray the Commander anymore. They still haven't addressed how Destro was able to end his grudge from the "swamp saga", circa issue 28-30. Or Firefly, either.
  • The Special Missions back-up has a completely different feel from the main comic. It strives to be more "adult", with self-contained military commando/black ops missions. It's more like an action movie. The promise was that all of the stories in the bi-monthly "Special Missions" would be self-contained. For the first few issues, Cobra isn't even mentioned.
  • Trimpe handles all the art on the back-up and his pencils have improved drastically since his first stint on the book. He still draws weak faces, though.
  • Lady Jaye shows off her buns when chaging into a stewardess outfit. Spank-bank material for all losers. Combined with her un-zipped fatigues, Lady Jaye was (and still is) viewed by many fans as a tramp.
  • Interesting scene where Beachhead, Flint and Lady Jaye talk about the history of Stalin and Trotsky (inlcuding the latter's famous icepick assassination in Mexico City).
Appearances:
Characters (figures):Hawk, The Entire Joe Team, Dr. Mindbender, Cobra Commander, Destro, Baroness, Torch, Ripper, Buzzer, Firefly, Storm Shadow

Characters ("comic-only"): The Leon Trotsky Brigade of the Fourth International

Vehicles and stuff (toys): AWE Striker, Vamp Mark 2, Mauler, Silver Mirage Motorcycle, MOBAT, APC, Wolverine, Cobra HISS, Cobra Stinger, Cobra FANG
Vehicles and stuff (not toys): Cobra transport helicopter/gunship. USAF fighters, Russian MIGs

Firsties:
Characters:Zarana, The Leon Trotsky Brigade of the Fourth International
Vehicles: none

Rating: Rating: 3 Flag Points

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