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|“||This is what you really want! Larry Hama continues his original and ground-breaking G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero saga with the VERY NEXT ISSUE (but, you know, 15 years later). G.I. Joe has closed its doors, leaving Cobra to pillage, burn, and plunder!||”|
—The description as originally solicited by IDW Publishing.
Zartan stands in the Commander's bedroom, and he demands to know how the Dreadnok got in. Zartan replies that he shifted into a Crimson Guard, and suggests Cobra Commander upgrade to retinal scans. Cobra commander demands to know what was important enough to wake him, and Zartan replies that he has good news: the Broken Star Liberation Army, a phony terrorist group Cobra set up, launched a coordinated attack, claiming the Capitol building, the Statue of Liberty, and Mt. Rushmore. The landmarks were retaken in short order by only a minimal armed forces team, but Cobra Commander is elated, and asks if Phase II has gone into effect.
At the Pentagon, the Jugglers convene in secret. Cobra Commander appears on their viewscreen, saying that although the goals of Cobra had once been at odds with those of the Jugglers, the recent attacks are proof of how much the groups have in common. He says the country is in panic, and people demand order. The Jugglers say they've made sure the President's advisers have told him to ask Congress to declare martial law, and Cobra Commander reminds them to be ready to outsource internal security to Cobra.
Cobra Commander asks Destro whether the BSLA's weapons or funding can be tracked back to Cobra, and Destro assures him it cannot. Zartan reports the rumor campaign started on the internet is gaining traction. The Commander gleefully orders all operations unrelated to Phase II cancelled, and calls for Dr. Mindbender.
In Trucial Abysmia, Baroness leads Storm Shadow and Billy through an Agricultural Research Facility. Blast doors open, and a squad of Revolutionary Elite Guards open fire on the trio. Storm Shadow and his apprentice evade the gunfire, cutting down the troops, while Baroness takes care of the survivors. Her cellphone rings, and she's shocked when she learns that the mission has been cancelled.
Two days later at the Silent Castle, Cobra Commander is testing out his upgraded battle armor against a pair of B.A.T.s. Suddenly an unidentified aircraft approaches, flying below radar, and the guards launch anti-aircraft missiles. The pilot dodges at the last second, and Destro recognizes the maneuver; the helicopter is flying Trucial Abysmian colors. The Baroness lands, and Billy leaps from the helicopter, attacking his father. Cobra Commander incapacitates him, and sends him for a session in the Brainwave Scanner.
As Billy undergoes his procedure, Dr. Venom's face keeps flashing on the screens. Billy's memories include his attempt to assassinate his father and the loss of his arm and leg in a "mysterious explosion." The Baroness excuses herself, and Destro follows.
In the hallway, Destro tries to get Baroness to overlook Cobra Commander's lack of tact, but that's not what's bothering her. She realizes that if the BWS input is wearing off for Billy, it must be wearing off for her, as well. She wonders how long until she's the one in the machine, and whether Destro will be the one strapping her down. The arms dealer has no answer for her, and she walks away.
Dr. Mindbender gets Destro's attention, revealing a Trojan Horse virus in the Brainwave Scanner. The virus was left behind by Dr. Venom, and Mindbender has no idea what it does. He asks Destro to use his M.A.R.S. resources to help debug the BWS and reprogram Billy before the Commander finds out. Storm Shadow watches all this from the rafters, and as he leaps to the floor, a Tele-Viper enters, revealing himself as Zartan and promising he knows how to keep a secret.
With Billy's session an apparent success, Cobra Commander orders the escalation of the plan. All around Washington DC, phones begin to ring, giving the codeword to activate sleeper agents.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
"Rise and shine! Time for all sleepy-heads to wake up!"
- --Cobra's phone message to the undercover Siegies.
- On page 3, a character with the Crimson Guard uniform is colored blue.
Items of note
- This issue was distributed for free on the industry's annual "Free Comic Book Day," always held the first Saturday in May.
- Baroness uses a cellphone, suggesting the new continuity takes place "now," rather than picking up immediately where the Marvel series left off.
- Dr. Mindbender was originally an orthodontist - thus his implanting a subconscious desire to floss into Billy.
- The issue contains an introductory letter from editor Andy Schmidt, filecards for Billy and the Brainwave Scanner, and Larry Hama answering questions from IDW forum members.
- Baroness' ringtone is "Variations in D Minor" by Bach.
Footnotes and References