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#76- "All's Fair"
Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Ron Wagner

Summary:
The Cobra war continues as both sides launch counter attacks, while Destro sits and waits. Captain Minh leads the Joes out of the airfield's sewer through a tiny sluice gate.

Psyche-Out, Tropedo and Recondo arrive on the island via ...holy crap... the LCT (last seen in issue 1!!) with the Joes' heavy armor. Ghostrider launches his new Phantom X-79 stealth jet and takes out Fred VII's radar. With the reinforcements, Serpentor's forces (with Hawk's team) punch through Fred's defenses and seemingly have them on the run.

Zartan takes matters into his own hands, grabs his high-powered bow...and promptly launches an arrow into Serpentor's head, killing him (YAY! DEAD! Zartan FINALLY did something cool. Now do Duke! Do Duke!). With his boss dead, Dr. Mindbender immediately runs to Fred VII and offers to join up with him. Mindbender gives full control to Fred, so they can bump Destro off the Island. But Destro motors in and says that he just wants the Baroness. Fred agrees, gives him the Baroness, and Destro leaves. Since the Joes made their deal with the late Serpentor, they're told to go home. Once again, some slimy deals have rendered all the fighting moot.

Notes:

  • Ron Wagner's art looks rather sloppy and sketchy in this issue. I blame that on the new inker Fred Fredericks and the sloppy color blocking effect.
  • Everyone's disgusted when Mindbender starts dealing with Fred. Roadblock: "momma always told me to never trust anybody in a cape".
  • The LCT is described as a relic, but it delivers the LONG overdue debuts of both the Slugger and the Bridge Layer. Stuff from years three and four, respectively. Debutting the same time as stuff from year SEVEN. If I remember correctly, a lot of new toys are skipped over from this point on, and never make it into the comics.
  • The Cobra BUGGs also make their first appearance, although their tracks had shown up on photos back in issue 73.
  • Croc Master makes a quick appearance, on Seprentor's side. A bit weird, since it was established that the Baroness gave him his job, back in Yearbook#4. No Prize Explanation: after botching his security job in Yearbook #4, Baroness and Fred bitched at him...so he was pissed and jumped to Serpentor's side, afterwards.
  • Zaranna begins flirting with Fred VII; for her own purposes of course, but also out of her rivalry with the Baroness.
  • A special scene is included for the Bridge Layer to actually lay a bridge. The Joes are rumbling though a swap and need to cross some quicksand.
  • The BAT with the TV camera is discovered by Serpentor and promptly blown apart.
  • Serpentor foreshadows his own death at the last minute. He relates it to "The day the Norman knights took the field at Hastings...and the Saxon king, Harold, was laid low.... by an arrow!" THUNK!
  • Sergeant Major tells Destro that it's amazing how they accomplished their goal, without firing a single shot. But the AGPs were shown shooting stuff down, last issue.
  • Ghostrider is simply referred to as "ol' what's his name", and the running joke was that nobody in the comic could remember his name or what he looked like. For the rest of the series, he's never named. Part of it was the gimmick--see, he flies a stealth fighter. But fans have also speculated about possibe legalities or Marvel red tape over the name "Ghostrider".... i.e: Johnny Blaze.
  • The Phantom was a pretty cool toy...but I never picked it up, due to growing up and the fact that I was running out of room. The deck of my USS Flagg was already cluttered with the Skystriker, Conquest, Dragonfly, Tomahawk, Sky Hawk, Skystorm X-wing Copter, and the Vector.
  • I'm keeping all the Joes from last issue in there as "appearances", since there are a lot of indescript background figures. I pulled Hard Top and some of the wounded out, though.
Appearances:
Characters (figures):Hawk, Roadblock, Clutch, Crankcase, Breaker, Fast Draw, Leatherneck, Beachhead, Duke, Lowlight, Airborne, Doc, Sci-Fi, Wild Bill, Crazylegs, Lifeline, Blocker, Knockdown, Maverick, Dodger, Blaster, Avalanche (not seen), Cutter, Mutt, Stalker, Junkyard, Shipwreck, Short Fuse, Falcon, Gung Ho, Dial-Tone, Tunnel Rat, Spirit Iron-Knife, Sneak Peek, Torpedo, Recondo, Psyche-Out, Cross Country, Tollbooth, Flint, Layd Jaye, Keel Haul, Rumbler (?)

Cobras (figures): Baroness, Serpentor (croaks), Dr. Mindbender, Destro, Zartan, Zandar, Zarana, Torch, Ripper, Buzzer, Thrasher, Monkeywrench

Characters ("comic-only"): Fred VII, Captain Minh, Sergeant Major, Gen. Hollingsworth (shadowed profile).

Vehicles and stuff (toys): Vector, Vindicator, Marauder, Eliminator, Dominator, Sky-sweeper, AWE Striker, Phantom X-79, Slugger, Bridge Layer, Mauler MBT, Rolling Thunder, HAVOC, Destro's DEMON, Destro's AGP, Cobra HISS, Cobra Maggot, Cobra Stinger, Cobra ASP
Vehicles and stuff (not toys): LCT

Firsties:
Characters: Ghostrider, possibly Rumbler the Rolling Thunder driver
Vehicles and stuff: Bridge Layer, Slugger, Phantom X-79 Stealth Jet, Rolling Thunder, Cobra BUGGs

Rating: 4 Flag Points

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