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GI Joe Annual 2012
Writer: Larry Hama
Pencilers: Ron Frenz, Ron Wagner, Herb Trimpe
A drill press operator is laid off from his job at "Wonder Widgets" in Ohio. More than a little peeved off at the entire system, he decides to retaliate. Turns out, he's actually a former Cobra Crimson Guardsman, Ted Bergendorf, one of the "Ted" series. He recruits some disillusioned youngsters and buys a ton of nitrate fertilizer to build a bomb. Cobra tracks the use of his credit card and determines that Ted plans to blame the whole thing on Cobra. Cobra Commander dispatches Zartan (and subsequently, the bored Dreadnoks) to eliminate Ted.
Ted and his cronies (now in their own Crimson Guard uniforms), head to the "America Land" theme park in St. Joseph, MO to detonate their bomb. The Joes had been watching Zartan's shack in New Jersey and begin trailing him. The Joes also piece things together about what's going on as, soon, all three parties meet in "America Land". While the Dreadnoks take out Ted's flunkies, Zartan uses his shape-changing to find their boss. Disguised as Scarlett, Zartan kills Ted with a throwing star, then escapes. Meanwhile, Mutt (and Junkyard) locate Ted's nitrate bomb and drive it into a lake, where it detonates harmlessly. Both Cobra and GI Joe acomplished their missions.
- This has a definite "GI Joe Special Missions" vibe to it.
- Where does this fit in? Well, since it's a self-contained story, it could fit in anywhere over the past year. It was released in between issues 175 and 176 and there are no issues with placing it in between those.
- Some might be confused at how Zartan, disguised as Scarlett with his holograms, is able to fling one of her throwing stars. Simple: Zartan has his own throwing stars. He also uses his trademark bow, earlier in this story.
- The "America Land" is sort of an allegory for all the things that Ted hates, along with what the Joes are supposed to be defending. Yes, the park itself is more than a little cheesy, but I feel that's part of the point.
- As we talked about in issue 176, there are several models of Crimson Guardsmen, as we've officially been introduced to the "Ted" series.
- Ted (Bergendorg) is bitter about everything; both of his former employers (Cobra and Wonder Widgets), immigrants in America, cops and the economy.
- Yes, it's something of a cop-out that they couldn't think of anything better than "Wonder Widgets" for a company name.
- As Ted scolds a convenience store employee about speaking English, the employee informs him: "I am speaking English all my life. In my county, everybody speak English, Hindi and sometimes many local dialect".
- For the first time I can recall, the Dreadnoks are rather vicious. Buzzer exclaims that he chainsawed out a "Siegie's" spine. They're still simpletons, and while they mention grape soda and doughnuts, it's a good reminder that they're supposed to be homicidal bikers with big-ass weapons.
- The Joes travel around tracking down Zartan and Ted in a van marked "County Landscaping".
- Scarlett's back to her trademark ponytail in this story. Just an artistic choice. I'll stop citing this, since it's a woman's perogative to change her hairdo frequently...
- As the credits might tell you, this story is something of a "jam session" between three famous old-school artists, with inks by Sal Buscema.
- The last 8 pages feature a "Black and White Art Gallery"; which is just uncolored versions of certain pages and nothing exclsuive. A bit of a bummer as I was reading this, thinking it was nice how it was all one story with no cheesy back-up features. Then I got to the end, thinking it was time for a pin-up or two. As such it fills like these pages were added to pad out the space.
- Also of note is that this thing has a bound spine; like a skinny Trade Paperback.
- Since this is the first-ever "Annual", don't call it a "yearbook". I'd imagine that, in the future, we'll just score these as "Annual 2012", "Annual 2013", etc. This allows them to skip a year if production's tough. While I've always liked numbering, I think years makes better sense for annuals, as they're never read one after the other. Plus, I remember Marvel screwed up the numbering of their Daredevil annuals in the late 80's.
- I also like the annual came out in February. That was usually the time when each year's new batch of GI Joe crap began filtering out to all the retails stores in the 80's. Just to get nostaligic for a bit, but that was a huge rush as a kid; walking into Target, K-Mart, wherever and seeing pegs full of nothing but NEW GI Joe figures. Such a thrill for me, every year, as I can still remember which "new Joes" I bought first, each year. 82: Breaker and Short-Fuze, 83: Doc and Gung Ho, 84: Recondo, Blowtorch, Mutt and Scrap-Iron, 85: Footloose and Cobra Eel...
Characters (figures): Scarlett, Gung Ho, Mutt, Junkyard, Wild Bill (cameo), Lift-Ticket (cameo), Cobra Commander, Dr. Mindbender, Zartan, Torch, Ripper.
Vehicles and stuff (toys): none
Vehicles and stuff (not toys):Joe transport copter
Characters: Ted Bergendorf (croaks)
Vehicles and stuff: none
Rating: 3 Flag Points
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