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Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Ron Wagner
Serpentor and Dr. Mindbender send the new cybernetically enhanced Star Viper to Utah (they suspect it's the GI Joe base from the satellite photos a few issues back). The Star Viper sneaks into the base by hiding under the new GI Joe Desert Fox. He steals a super-duper high-tech black box from the Defiant and esapes into the desert on an AWE Striker. After a brief vehicle chase, the Star Viper meets up his rendezvous: a BAT in a tractor trailer. The trailer is blown up, but not before the Star Viper launches away in the Cobra Stilleto.
- Another "toyjam" issue, with its own commercial. The commercial incorrectly depicted the debuts of two more new vehicles that were not seen in this issue: the Cobra BUGG and the GI Joe Warthog (with Sgt. Slaughter, no less).
- Offical kick-off for the seventh year of GI Joe (1988). We're now exactly six years removed from the debut issue.
- The seventh year made it hard for me to grow up. I had severely cut back on buying every new vehicle that came out, but the figures for this wave were some of the best. Most importantly, Hasbro made a new Storm Shadow this year. A figure WITH his sleeves rolled up so we could see his Arashikage forearm tattoo! With the cartoons no longer being produced, I saw this as a huge bone thrown to the comic fans. It's like they were saying: "okay, the COMIC is where all the main action is, now"
- The Star Viper wears civilian garb... jeans and a simple black t-shirt that says "AC/DC". He also has dark hair... so he's essentially dressed like Butt-Head of "Beavis & " fame! Funny coincedence.
- Three new Joes arrive at the new Pit in their new vehicles. Getting back to some of the old concepts of the book, two of them are given actual personality quirks: Skidmark is a perfectionist neat freak and Wild Card has the wacky habit of breaking everything he touches. First time in years that they've tried to develop traits in any new Joes.
- The entrance to the new Pit is still very simple: a wooden hatch in the floor. Spirit sits on top of the hatch, on his Indian blanket, meditating. He would be the de facto "guardian of the hatch" for the rest of the series.
- The Star Viper's enhancements give him enhanced reflexes, like a supervillain. He can also plug stuff into his forehead and receive data from it. Think of him as having a USB port on his right temple.
- The BAT is wearing a mask and is driving...you guessed it, an ARBCO Moving Co. truck.
- Dumb nighttime scene. The Joes are all asleep in one big room, like "nap time" in preschool. But Lady Jaye and Flint are above ground, making out in the hut.
- This issue is a lead-in to the big "Cobra Civil War" that soon begins. Serpentor orders the mission in hopes of a victory, and to gain leverage over Fred VII and the Baroness
- In a brief scene on Cobra Island, Croc Master finds evidence of an intruder. Which turns out to be Captain Minh, who has been living there for a few weeks.
- Surprisingly, there's no Hawk in this issue.
Characters (figures):Skidmark, Windmill, Wild Card, Iceberg, Spirit, Flint, Lady Jaye, Cross-Country, Gung Ho, Dusty, Tunnel Rat, Fast Draw, Mainframe, Recondo (?), Outback, Sci-Fi (hands only), Beachhead, several more Joes as faceless background cameos, Serpentor, Dr. Mindbender, Baroness, Croc Master
Characters ("comic-only"): Fred VII, Captain Minh
Vehicles and stuff (toys): Mean Dog, Desert Fox, AWE Striker, Defiant, HAVOC, Persuader, Wolverine (cameo), Cobra Stellar Stiletto
Vehicles and stuff (not toys): Goodfellow's seaplane
Characters: Skidmark, Wild Card, Windmill
Vehicles and stuff: Mean Dog, Desert Fox, Cobra Stellar Stiletto
Rating: 3 Flag Points
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