Scar-Face reveals Cobra's plague plan and provides an antidote, allowing the Joes to draw Cobra into attacking a fake Joe fortress. Maj. Bludd rescues the Baroness.
Gung-Ho is supervising a group of unnamed Joes as they begin to assemble a pre-fab fortress beneath the motor-pool at the Chaplain's Assistant School at Fort Wadsworth, when he notices Doc and Snow-Job wheeling a gurney containing the heavily bandaged Baroness, who has been transported here after her injuries sustained saving Destro from an attempt on his life by Major Bludd. Meanwhile, General Flagg, Hawk, and Stalker discuss their other prisoner, Scar-face, who has revealed Cobra's plan of slipping an infected "Trojan horse" into their base, in exchange for their protection from Cobra.
While Stalker takes the antidote from Scar-face's hands, Flagg and Hawk discuss the ramifications of the Cobra attack; with the entire base undergoing a very visible quarantine procedure, Cobra would know their exact location, and be able to stage an attack. Hawk informs Flagg of his plan for the upcoming attack, following through with the public quarantine, allowing Cobra to think the base is within the motor pool, while protecting the real base, which is located deep underground.
Within their base, Destro informs Cobra Commander that satellite imagery shows the motor pool at Fort Wadsworth has shown heavy quarantine activity, at which point Cobra Commander celebrates the discovery of the Joes' secret base. He immediately orders a full scale assault, at which point he nearly reveals to Destro that Baroness is actually still alive, but covers it up by claiming he was about to say it was a good thing she didn't survive. Destro has his suspicions, but the Commander changes the subject, telling him to alert Dr. Venom of the impending attack.
Dr. Venom, however, has problems of his own, as Kwinn and Snake-Eyes crash through his skylight, and Kwinn prepares to take his vengeance. Dr. Venom hears the incoming Cobra choppers, and tells Kwinn that there will soon be more soldiers than even he can kill.
As Scarlet ushers the Chaplain's Assistants onto a bus for a supposed retreat in San Francisco, Clutch and Breaker take off on a patrol in the VAMP, passing the ambulances that are surrounding the motor-pool. Short-Fuse discusses the possibility that setting up claymore anti-personnel mines inside ambulances might violate the rules of the Geneva Convention, and Tripwire corrects him that they are setting them up beneath the ambulances, reminding him that most of the weapons used by American Police Departments violate those rules.
Meanwhile, Wild-Bill lands a Dragonfly with his prisoner, Major Bludd, who is handcuffed to the radiator in the office. On their patrol, Breaker asks if Clutch thinks the attack will come by land or by sea, to which Clutch replies "both."
Back at Dr. Venom's lab, Kwinn has ransacked the place looking for weapons, and has only a single Luger, while Snake-Eyes has uncovered something a bit more useful; a pair of S.N.A.K.E. armors. While Kwinn lays down suppressing fire, Snake-eyes dons the armor, only to discover it won't operate without an external command activating its power source. Kwinn tells Venom to activate it, and Snake-Eyes is promptly taken over by the control module, disarming and incapacitating Kwinn and letting Destro and his men storm the lab. Kwinn's unconscious body is put in the other suit, where he and Snake-Eyes will be used in the upcoming assault on the Joes' Base.
General Flagg instructs Doc and Cover Girl to bring Baroness up to the fortress in the garage level, overruling Doc's objections to bringing a critical patient into a potential fire fight. He orders that the remaining personnel are to report to the garage, and the rest of the Pit is to be sealed off.
Hawk and Steeler are finishing up the pre-fab fortress, which Hawk explains will be pushed up through the floor of the motor pool by hydraulic lifts, and orders that the prisoners be taken out until it is in place. Back on the surface, Clutch and Breaker cuff Major Bludd and Scar-face to the roll bar of the VAMP and go back on patrol, where they spot the expected Cobra attack in the form of a fleet of Cobra helicopters over the water. Breaker alerts Hawk, who orders Steeler to hit the switch activating the lifts, raising the pre-fab fortress into position, leaving the garage door open for the VAMP to come back in. Clutch and Breaker race against the choppers and their ordinance for the open door. Major Bludd notes that with his blindfold on, his hearing is actually better, and he poetically describes the sound of incoming missiles as the Angel of Death belching through a penny whistle just as the doors roll shut and the missiles impact the garage.
Destro reports the impact of the missiles and waits for the smoke to clear, and when it does, the fortress stands revealed, showing no significant damage. Destro orders a wave of F.A.N.G. choppers to make their attack run, planning on following it with an infantry and armor charge. The anti-aircraft batteries make short work of the F.A.N.G.s, and the infantry are decimated by the claymore mines beneath the ambulances, so Destro then orders the H.I.S.S. tanks to move in.
Doc, meanwhile, is shown in the brig treating Baroness as Major Bludd and Scar-face jab him verbally. Hawk orders Tripwire to unleash the newest weapon system, the mobile P.A.C.R.A.T.s, consisting of a missile launcher, a machine gun, and a flame thrower. The automated units disrupt the H.I.S.S. wave, at which point Destro orders Dr. Venom to send the S.N.A.K.E. armors into battle. As Cobra Commander questions the wisdom of sending in the suits containing two capable enemy warriors, Dr. Venom assures him that even if they were able to over come the control modules, their weapons cannot fire at anything painted Cobra Blue. As Stalker informs him that the S.N.A.K.E.s are making short work of the P.A.C.R.A.T.s, Hawk notices that one the suits has a familiar walk. Inside that suit, Snake-Eyes is being taunted by Dr. Venom, reminded of his previous attempt to resist the effects of the villain's mind-probing machine. Snake-Eyes eventually breaks free, as the doctor predicted, and fires on Venom's H.I.S.S. tank, only to watch the weapon miss, because the tank is painted in Cobra Blue, and Dr. Venom reminds him that his own armor is not, as he orders Kwinn to kill Snake-Eyes. Snake-Eyes manages to shoot the locks keeping Kwinn in the armor, freeing the eskimo, who then picks up the machine gun P.A.C.R.A.T. and kills Dr. Venom's driver.
Ace and Wild Bill bring in the air support in a Skystriker and Dragonfly, and Hawk orders the ground assault vehicles to drive a wedge through Cobra's attack. Kwinn, meanwhile, has grabbed Dr. Venom by his coat and informs him that the Weasel Spirit still lives in his belly, too deep to simply cut out, and explains that more drastic measures are called for, pulling the pin on a grenade with his teeth, comparing it to a bitter pill that the doctor must swallow.
As a F.A.N.G. lands on the roof and a Cobra sapper disembarks to set a time bomb, Doc gets momentarily distracted, allowing Major Bludd to knock him out. As Bludd uncuffs himself, General Flagg appears, gun trained on him. Scar-face kicks the gun from his hand, and Bludd grabs it, shooting the General. He wheels the Baroness out, leaving Scar-face cuffed to the cell door, explaining that there is only room for two on the F.A.N.G., and he shoots the sapper in the back, commandeering the chopper, and flying the still bandaged and unconscious Baroness to freedom. Doc quickly recovers and pulls Flagg from the cell, telling Scar-face that he has to leave him because Major Bludd took the handcuff keys with him.
Kwinn has an epiphany about not conquering the Weasel Spirit in others until you conquer it in yourself, and grants Dr. Venom mercy, saying his life is his to squander. Clutch and Breaker pull up in the VAMP as Snake-Eyes crawls out of the disabled armor, frantically pointing at Kwinn and Venom. Venom draws a pistol out and shoots Kwinn in the back. Kwinn turns toward him, and Venom taunts him about trying to strangle him with his last breath, at which point Kwinn says he's made his peace with the Weasel, and promises that he will not hurt him while he lives. He then dies, dropping the grenade he had been holding, and Dr. Venom dies in the ensuing explosion.
As the sapper's bomb ticks away its final seconds, a single figure is seen diving from the fortress, followed by a cataclysmic explosion. Doc looks up and exclaims that he couldn't stop the bleeding, and that General Flagg has died.
Cobra Commander triumphantly orders his troops to fall back, having achieved his desire to destroy the Joe's Base, and as the Joes watch them retreat, they explain how the victory for Cobra is actually a loss; they failed to actually destroy the real base, which was sealed beneath the garage, and in doing so they lost a great deal of material and personnel.
As the Joes celebrate, Doc, Breaker, Clutch and Snake-Eyes pull up in the VAMP. Hawk asks why the long faces, at which point Doc and Snake-Eyes present Flagg's dog tags, and Kwinn's Weasel skull necklace.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
- None yet.
- The climactic battle takes place on what seems to be a completely deserted stretch of land, but Staten Island is heavily populated. Physical details of Fort Wadsworth which have been seen in other issues, such as the water towers and barracks, are nowhere to be seen.
- Tripwire is mistakenly called "Torpedo" in one panel.
- The next issue box promises "an unusual tale by Larry Hama" - obviously the famous "Silent Interlude." But that was pushed back one month for some reason, and issue #20 wasn't written by Larry Hama at all.
Items of note
- First appearances: P.A.C./R.A.T.S.; S.N.A.K.E. battle armor; G.I. Joe pre-fab fortress (the toyline's Headquarters)
- Cobra weapons systems are pre-programmed not to fire at anything painted "Cobra Blue." That shows an unusual level of forethought on Cobra Commander's part.
- According to the filecard for Chameleon, that's not really the Baroness Major Bludd saves.
- Deaths of General Flagg, Scar-Face, Quinn, and Dr. Venom. (Every significant character who wasn't part of the action figure line at the time dies in this issue.)
- The image in the upper left hand corner of the cover is fill-in editor Linda Grant in an army helmet, surrounded by explosions.
- All the Marvel Comics books this month were part of "Assistant Editors' Month," and most had light, comical stories. G.I. Joe bucked this trend, going all-out for the conclusion of their first major storyline.
- With this issue, Marvel has now featured every character and piece of equipment from the first two years of the A Real American Hero toys (save for the F.L.A.K.).
Footnotes and References