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Special Missions #4- "No Holds Barred"
Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Herb Trimpe
Wild Bill, Roadblock, Leatherneck and Lifeline are carrying a Firebat in the hold of an Army PBY (Catalina) plane, when they're shot down by the Oktober Guard's HIND. Both teams crash in the jungles and race to recover the Firebat's black boxes. Lifeline refuses to fire a weapon or take any offense, infuriating Leatherneck. The Joes and the Guard are captured by a group of.... PIRATES!?! Yup, like something out of a Conan book. The Pirates make Lifeline fight Horrowshow. Using Akido, Lifeline wins. Impressed with Lifeline, The pirates' leader lets both teams go and tosses the black boxes into the river.
- First time they've officially been billed as the Oktober Guard (note the K)
- I'm guessing Trimpe had a fondness for warplanes, as 3 of his 4 Special Missions issues have featured military aircraft of varying designs (the Condor, the YAK and now the PBY). Trimpe was a former enlistee of the USAF, so it's understandable.
- The story seemed to be moving along at an average pace, but went into the dumpster as soon as the pirates showed up. I mean... "Sarawak Sally"? She looks like a ringer for Conan's Belit (the "Queen of the Black Coast"). The story's also VERY predictable, as you know that the seemingly "worthless" Lifeline will end up redeeming himself. While Wild Bill and Roadblock seem okay with him, Leatherneck never warms up.
- Lifeline is a black belt in Akido-- a martial art that re-directs all opposing force.
- Lifeline's non-confrontational expertise is useful as he shows the team the correct way to dig out leeches (burn them off) and how to avoid an angry tiger (make no sudden movements and he'll leave).
- Conveinent how all the pirates around the South China Sea all speak English. Also, in a sloppy editting job, no asterisk is included to tell us that the Oktober Guard's speech is "* translated from Russian". Yes, the Guard were all fluent in English, but when they're alone and talking to one another, there's no reason that they wouldn't speak their native tongue.
- Lifeline's extreme pacificism is awkward to say the least. While I usually incorporated most of the comic's characteristics into my own little GI Joe "world", this was one that I completely ignored. Simply because Lifeline's figure wasn't too bad and looked pretty cool with an M-16 in his hands. Plus, his file card made no mention of the pacifism. His figure even came with a pistol and the figure's cover art showed him holding it.
- First time "Special Missions" has had a letters page ("Special Dispatches"). Most of the letters are from fans asking about the cartoon. Since this was well before the actual public Internets, the comics' letters pages had the unfortunate burden of being a forum for clueless cartoon fans. For instance, one fan complains about the team always hollering "Yo Joe", when it had been done ONCE, to date, in the comics (issue 49).
Characters (figures):Wild Bill, Roadblock, Leatherneck, Lifeline
Characters ("comic-only"): Col. Brekhov, Schrage, Stormavik, Horrorshow, Daina, Sarawak Sally (Pirate leader)
Vehicles and stuff (toys): Firebat
Vehicles and stuff (not toys): Army PBY (Catalina) plane, Oktober Guard HIND-E
Characters: Sarawak Sally
Rating: Rating: 1 Flag Point
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