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The plot to assassinate Cobra Commander reaches its climax while Spirit finds more than he bargained for when shopping.
At the Pit the Joes are preparing for the opening ceremony and are visited by General Austin. However none of the cooks or mess personnel have clearance for entering the Pit so catering is a problem. Duke promises the general that food will be provided with every spare man working in the mess. In the infirmary Scarlett visits Snake-Eyes, Airborne and Spirit. Rather than resting Snake-Eyes is cleaning his Uzi while Airborne reads the Encyclopedia Brittanica, though Spirit just sleeps. Scarlett has been talking to the Soft Master who has told her a few things about Snake-Eyes and now the pair need a chat. Airborne takes the hint and climbs out of bed, but when he tries to rouse Spirit he finds the Joe has gone, leaving pillows in his bed.
In a nearby shopping center on Staten Island, Spirit is hobbling on crutches, accompanied by Ripcord and Blowtorch in regular uniform. Spirit wants traditional medicine that requires particular plants. While at the florist he suddenly sees the spitting image of Fred Broca, the Crimson Guardsman who died on the mountain. The Fred lookalike is taking Broca's family for a trip, but the children keep asking what's happened to their real father as they can't be told he was a Cobra agent. Spirit confronts the new Fred to ask him some questions but Broca's wife attacks him with a heavy handbag. All three Joes pursue him.
In Springfield Billy is being put through final preparations for assassinating Cobra Commander by Major Bludd, while the Baroness goes to check the stadium's security. En route in a tunnel she is encountered by Destro who reminds her they used to have "a trust". She responds that he has never trusted her. As proof of his intentions Destro removes his face mask and the Baroness faints at what she sees. In the mall the Brocas reach their car and drive off, with Mrs Broca producing a grenade from her handbag to destroy the V.A.M.P. as they leave. A van for "Bongo the Balloon Bear" pulls up and the driver, dressed as a bear, asks if they can help. The Joes ask Bongo to pursue the blue car, with Blowtorch donning his battle suit.
In the Springfield stadium Storm Shadow reports the security measures to Cobra Commander and reminds him that he is only concerned for the Commander's safety as long as he's convinced the Commander really knows who killed the Hard Master. Up in the seats Destro tells the Baroness that he is uneasy about using a child to assassinate Cobra Commander, but the Baroness responds it's too late to change that and if they try to halt the action Bludd will likely reveal their hand. On Staten Island the Broca's car is pursued through the streets by the van, but Fred activates a missiles launcher in the car boot and fires a missile at the pursuing vehicle. However Blowtorch uses his flame-thrower to ignite a clothes bin and it attracts the heat seeker. The van cuts across a car park and comes level with the car and Ripcord climbs onto the car roof. Fred shoots through the roof but misses, then hits the brakes but Ripcord grabs the car bonnet as he is thrown forward and starts attacking the radiator. Mrs. Broca fires through the window but Spirit knocks the gun from her hand, then grabs Ripcord as the van passes the car. At a junkyard Bongo drops off to avoid the danger and asks them to bring the van back when they are finished.
That evening in Springfield the rally is under way and Cobra Commander delivers a speech in the stadium. The Cobra Youth Brigades march forward, including Billy with the gun hidden in a bouquet of flowers. In the seats Destro suddenly recognizes the child. Storm Shadow wonders why the child is sweating as Destro races forward. Billy produces the gun but Destro reaches him and makes him drop it. Cobra Commander orders the boy be taken away and disposed off, but Destro tells him to take a closer look and explains one thing he cannot tolerate is patricide. Cobra Commander stares and Billy and suddenly recognizes the boy, who likewise acknowledges "D-d-dad??"
On Staten Island the three Joes have lost the car so decide to return to the Pit where the opening ceremony is starting. General Austin is about to begin a "short speech" so there is great relief when suddenly the lift lowers to reveal Spirit, Ripcord and Blowtorch with Bongo's van, from which they release hundreds of balloons. Austin willingly rips up his speech to provide confetti. Later in the mess hall he makes an announcement that Breaker, Zap, Grunt, Short-Fuze, Stalker, Flash, Scarlett and Rock 'n Roll are all being promoted and will be entitled to wear the Presidential Unit citation if and when G.I. Joe's activities are declassified. Scarlett notes that he has promoted all the original Joes bar Snake-Eyes and Austin explains Snake-Eyes will remain operational while the others are put in charge of administration at the Pit as G.I. Joe is now being made self-administrating. However none of the troops are pleased and Hawk explains they are field troops who want to be in the action not behind a desk. Austin tells Hawk he is now the full commander of the team and must relegate field command. Hawk picks Duke.
At the house outside the main gate the Broca family arrives home. Fred has got them lost for hours. They don't see the van emerging. At the junkyard Ripcord picks up Bongo and asks if there's anyway to provide compensation. Removing the bear mask to reveal she is a woman, Bongo asks for dinner. She asks Ripcord his real name but he can't give it so she gives hers as "Bongo."
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
"We may have some differences of opinion and even hostility between us but there are still some things I will not abide by. Patricide is one of them."
- --Destro begins to show his particular honor code.
- Surely the Baroness had seen Destro's face before. She even commented on his mask when he was just "The Specialist."
- Scarlett says General Austin named all the original Joes, but he only mentioned eight of them: Clutch, Grand Slam and Steeler were omitted.
- Cobra Commander is wearing his ceremonial hood on the cover but appears in his battle mask in the comic itself at the moment depicted.
Items of note
- First Appearances: Candy Appel (Bongo the Balloon Bear)
- Destro's head is not shown when he is unmasked. His face would not be revealed for many years.
- General Austin says he's prepared a short speech, but is carrying what looks to be an entire ream of paper. The party goers had better hope they were given chairs.
- Billy is revealed as Cobra Commander's son.
- This issue was reprinted in the G.I. Joe vol. 4 and G.I. Joe: The Best of Destro trade paperbacks.
- In the United Kingdom the story was reprinted in Action Force #25, #26 & #27.
- Seems odd that Cobra Commander wouldn't be wearing his "ceremonial hood" during this celebrated occasion. (Guess he was a little more paranoid than usual).
- No references.
Footnotes and References