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#81- "Pilots and Tracts"
Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Marshall Rogers

Summary:
After testing at Aberdeen, the ground-based Battleforce 2000 guys (and Mutt), head over to the Jersey shore to follow-up on the recent Dreadnok activity. Some state troopers get involved as the two factions battle it out in the middle of the night. The Dreadnoks lose their pursuers by hiding in a seemingly quiet and abandoned town. Out of frustration, Knockdown shoots down Zanzibar's air skiff... which crashes right onto a state trooper's crusier. The trooper arrests all the BF2000 guys.

While all this was happening, Zarana managed to sneak all the Cobra personnel and families into the newly named town of Broca Beach. The real estate seminars have allowed Cobra to acquire another town to use as a front. Just like that, Cobra's back to hiding in plain sight, again.

Notes:

  • Broca Beach is mainly used to house all the Cobra families. Wives, kids, etc. Cobra Island remains the main military base for Cobra, for a few more years.
  • A little curious that, as soon as the cartoon and Serpentor faded from the agenda, Marvel moved Cobra back to another "nice little town". I'm kinda' thinking that the whole "Cobra Island" concept was entirely Hasbro's idea.
  • Shockwave is shown as a shooting target in the Broca Beach carnival midway. Yet he STILL hasn't appeared.
  • As mentoned back in issue 39 or so, "Broca" is another anagram of "Cobra". You'd THINK the Joes would've been suspicious of a town suddenly being re-named with that moniker. Although... they never knew that "Broca" was the last name of the original Fred on Staten Island (issue 30). Wade Collins never told Stalker and Snake-Eyes about the name, either.
  • Mutt is furious that the Cobra Legal Troopers got the Dreadnoks off, scot free, after the events of issue 79.
  • Junkyard's okay. He's shown with a bandage around his tummy. Awwww.
  • Rumbler's here, again... but this time out he looks like Hot-Seat, the driver of the Raider, who had yet to debut.
  • With this issue, "GI Joe" returns to a monthly format. When Marvel boosts their top-selling comics to bi-weekly in the summer of 1989, GI Joe will have fallen WELL down the list. The stories continue on with no noticeable differences, but the franchise begins to lose its popularity around this time. Most of the kids who grew up on GI Joe were in their teens at this time. More significantly, younger kids (6-12) were now drawn to two other widely popular toy franchises, over GI joe: Real Ghostbusters and TMNT. There was a move to more "cartoony" toys in the late 80's...a big break from the somewhat "serious" nature of early 80's toys. The popularity slide actually began about a year earlier, in 1987... but from now on, the downsloping grade increases on a monthly basis.
  • So if you've been wondering: "when did the GI Joe Comic Jump the Shark?".. it would be the Cobra Civil War, or after issue 76. There's still some good stuff on the way, though. It's just not as popular or well-known as the earlier stuff.
Appearances:
Characters (figures):Mutt, Junkyard, Blocker, Knockdown, Dodger, Avalanche, Duke, Roadblock, Lift-Ticket, Doc, Rumbler, Zarana, Torch, Ripper, Buzzer, Thrasher, Monkeywrench, Zanzibar

Characters ("comic-only"): Capt. Cohoe the State Trooper

Vehicles and stuff (toys): Eliminator, Marauder, Dominator, Sky-Sweeper, Cobra Mamba, Cobra HISS, Cobra Ferret, Dreadnok Cycle, Zanzibar's Air Skiff, Cobra Maggot (cameo)
Vehicles and stuff (not toys): none to speak of.

Firsties:
Characters: none
Vehicles and stuff: none

Rating: 2 Flag Points

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