|G.I. Joe #84|
A history lesson regarding Cobra Commander and Zartan.
Storm Shadow delivers a eulogy on the nature of the void as a man in a camouflage robe walks up behind him with a raised sword. Storm Shadow catches the sword and flips him...but as they remove their cowls, it is revealed that the man in the "new urban camo-outfit" is Storm Shadow, with Billy having inherited his old ninja-gi. They hear footsteps on the fire escape and Storm Shadow identifies one of the two women approaching as a bound Jinx. The two men hide as the other women aims a gun at Jinx's head and threatens to shoot her if she doesn't see Billy. Storm Shadow leaps at her, sword raised, but Billy knocks aside both Storm Shadow's sword and the woman's gun, before telling his mother that he's not a prisoner. The woman is shocked at his eyepatch and false leg. Billy sarcastically asks if she was expecting a dream child and Storm Shadow backhands him, telling him not to address his mother like that. He and Jinx leave them alone. Billy tells his mother that his father told him she died in a car crash. He recalls his father insisting he was going to show big business and governments and recruiting early followers, noting his father never had time for him because he was obsessed with Cobra. Mother and son embrace.
On Cobra Island, a group of Crimson Guards and Vipers led by Cobra Commander and Dr. Mindbender approach Zartan's dwelling. Mindbender is unconvinced of Cobra Commander's scheme but Cobra Commander believes that with Zarana and Zandar away setting up Broca Beach it is the perfect time to arrange an "accident" for Zartan. He dismisses the fact Zartan's dwelling keeps changing shape. They enter to find that they appear to be walking on the ceiling. Two Red Ninjas drop "up" and easily capture Cobra Commander, with Mindbender and the others making only a token attempt to follow. Cobra Commander is brought to Zartan and the Red Ninjas remove his helmet. Fred panics, shouting about the anti-tamper devices, but Zartan says the Red Ninjas removed them a long time ago. Since he made his deal with the first Cobra Commander, he decides to explain his position to the new administration.
Billy's mother tells him, Storm Shadow and Jinx that Billy's father began to fall apart when his older brother Dan was killed in a car accident. Dan kept extending his stay in Vietnam so Billy's father couldn't be sent there. When he finally came back, he seemed to have a death wish, deliberately driving dangerously. He eventually caused a head-on collision with a car carrying a couple and their daughter, whose son had just returned from the war, killing all of them. Billy's father convinced himself that the family's son was to blame, and when she tried to remonstrate with him he disappeared with Billy. Storm Shadow notes that he could tell her the exact date and location of the car crash.
Zartan tells Fred of his first meeting with the original Cobra Commander: He had just won a pool game against a gang called the Devils. When they called him a hustler, he angrily told them he could have simply robbed them if he wanted and beat them up while Cobra Commander outlined his offer: to kill Snake-Eyes, the man he considered responsible for his brother's death. Zartan was initially dismissive until he learned his target was a challenge: A long-range-recon-patrol airborne ranger training with ninjas.
Zartan decided his only way to infiltrate the ninjas was through Professor Onihashi, the mystic swordsmith who was their official armourer. He camped out at his door every day for six months petitioning to be his apprentice. Onihashi realised his deceit but saw a challenge in making him honest. Zartan was won over by the beauty of the sword they made for the ninja clan and lost interest in his contract, but Cobra Commander threatened to expose him. He targeted Snake-Eyes by his breathing, only to instead kill the Hard Master, who was mimicking Snakes-Eye's breathing. Onihasi committed suicide because of the shame and Storm Shadow swore vengeance. Fred believes Storm Shadow had given up the vendetta but Zartan believes that is a ploy and intends to get him first, explaining he know where he will be the next day. He takes off in a helicopter, leaving Fred and a newspaper referring to artifacts being shown at the De Jong Museum behind.
Storm Shadow and Jinx muse on how they always wondered the motive behind Zartan's attempt to kill Snake-Eyes and now they know it was Cobra Commander's inability to handle his guilt. Billy's mother notes she always kept a room for him, unable to face the fact he would have grown up. Billy decides to go and live with her anyway and Storm Shadow says they'll send his things on. As Storm Shadow and Jinx are left alone, a paper boy delivers the same newspaper Zartan had.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
- None yet.
- When climbing the fire escape, Jinx is apparently barefoot. Inside, she's wearing shoes.
- On page 16, Fred seems to get about 20 years younger and lose about a third of his hair between panels 2 and 3.
- On that same page, a sai appears to come to a point. Most sais are blunt; they're meant for blocking or breaking weapons, not for stabbing.
Items of note
- Cobra Commander and Zartan both shown unmasked.
- A connection between Snake-Eyes and Cobra Commander is revealed.
- Zartan's first deal with Cobra Commander revealed.
- Cobra Commander's brother was the drunk veteran who crashed into Snake-Eyes' family, killing all of them.
- Cobra Commander blames Snake-Eyes for the death of his brother.
- Zartan is hired to kill Snake-Eyes.
- Cobra Commander steals Billy from his mother.
- Brief history of the start of Cobra.
- In order to infiltrate the Arashikage Ninja Clan, Zartan becomes Professor Onihashi's apprentice.
- Zartan helped make Snake-Eyes' first sword.
- Zartan is Professor Onihashi's assistant in the Arashikage family photo.
- Zartan has a change of heart, but Cobra Commander threatens to expose him.
- Zartan attempts to kill Snake-Eyes but accidentally kills the Hard Master.
- Onihashi commits suicide because of Zartan's dishonor.
- Young Billy had a 12" soldier toy while his dad was getting Cobra started.
Footnotes and References