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GI Joe Mighty Marvel Storybook: Operation: Disappearance!
Credits: B.S Watson
Produced by Marvel Books, circa 1982-1983, these "Mighty Marvel Storybooks" are something of a rare bird. Along with GI Joe, I believe Marvel also produced exclusive stories for the Hulk, Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. Measuring roughly 4" x 5", these bound volumes were usually sold in toy stores, next to the connect-the-dot magazines, Little Golden Books and other kiddie lit of the day. So they're full of stupid dialogue and no words longer than three syllables. They're not exactly paperbacks either, as each interior page is illustrated with full page bleeds and printed on higher quality paper. I only have two of them (this story, plus "The Spy Eye"), but I used to consider them "auxiliary comics" and would read them along with my regular GI Joe comics whenever I went on a reading binge. Continuity-wise, I suppose they could fit in with the regular 1982 stories. They're definitely set in the tone of the early comic stories; Hawk's the main character, General Flagg is the head honcho and Cobra's pretty much "The Evil Army that Attacks Ya".
General Flagg briefs Hawk, Scarlett, Flash and Breaker on a rash of disappearing fighter planes. The Joes are air-dropped into the middle of "the sea" to investigate. Donning SCUBA gear, they immediately encounter a battalion of Cobra frogmen. Breaker and Scarlett are captured, but Hawk and Flash escape...only to be picked up by a Cobra sub.
Scarlett and Breaker are brought before Cobra Commander in his undersea base who, like any good villains, monologues about how he's been capturing fighter planes. Using a special tractor beam, he's been zapping random planes from his submersible base. He plans to brainwash all the pilots and use them to attack their own countries.
Hawk and Flash were able to overcome the pilots of the Cobra sub and crash Cobra Commander's party. After a fire fight, Cobra Commander escapes, but set the base to ....*gasp* the old 80's uber-villain cliche'-- SELF-DESTRUCT! The Joes quickly free the other pilots and everyone flies home.
- Sayyyy...didn't we see a similar plot in.... I dunno, the James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me"?! Cobra's base even looks similar to Karl Stromberg's "Atlantis". Only difference is that Cobra is catching planes, not subs. Oh... there's also no Barbara Bach hotness and the main characters don't get it on.
- Since the Joes were parachuted into the ocean by a transport plane and we aren't shown how they leave the Cobra base, you have to fill in some blanks and No-Prize yourself an explanation. C'mon..it was a kiddie book for poop's sake!
- Breaker is shown blowing his usual bubble gum, which indicates this is closer to "Marvel Joes" than "Hasbro Joes"
- Scarlett is tied up and used as a hostage, briefly, by Cobra Commander. Another 80's cliche'-- villain grabs the girl and threatens her.
- To overcome his captors, Hawk releases "stun gas from a hidden pocket on his belt". So he's sorta' like Batman with the special utility belt.
- Flash gets the climactic fight started by sliding down a cable in the middle of the control room. There's a cable there for such a purpose-- just deal with it!!
- The Cobras also use their old neo-Nazi salute. They also wear their old yellow suspenders as they did in the early issues of the comic.
- I suppose you could say this somehow relates to Cobra's base in issue 8. But that's a big stretch.
- The illustrations are fully painted. The close-up shots are especially detailed. A nice break from the usual penciled lines of regular comics. Sorta' Alex Ross, years before Alex Ross.
- John Romita (Sr.) is the only Marvel name I recognize in the credits. Romita was either a story consultant or did the breakdowns. Earl Norem definitely did the finished paintings. Norem was a pretty busy dude back in the early 80's, as he also did a lot of the painted artwork for the early Masters of the Universe toys and books.
Characters (figures): Hawk, Flash, Breaker, Scarlett, Cobra Commander
Characters ("comic-only"): General Flagg
Vehicles and stuff (toys): none
Vehicles and stuff (not toys): GI Joe Transport Plane, Cobra sub, Cobra base
Rating: 2 Flag Points
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