Billy's trial. Storm Shadow breaks him loose and escapes. A troop of Joes head to Sierra Gordo to rescue Dr. Adele Burkhart. An additional group of Joes invade a house in Staten Island.
In Cobra Headquarters in Springfield, Cobra Commander presides over a inquest into Billy's attempted assassination of him, attended by all the senior Cobras. Film of the incident is replayed and Destro declares that Billy clearly had help from someone who knew the program for the rally, had access to exotic weaponry and had something to gain, but Billy refuses to reveal them.
Meanwhile in the snack bar at Fort Wadsworth Ripcord bemoans his relationship with Candy to Gung-Ho when Stalker and Roadblock arrive and tell them they have a mission. Hawk tells them they are going to Sierra Gordo, which has collapsed into political chaos since Cobra pulled out. Their job is to rescue the sole survivor of a group of would be American arbitrators - Dr. Adele Burkhart - who is held captive in the mountains.
In Springfield Zartan proposes subjecting Billy to the Brain Wave Scanner and Cobra Commander accepts. Meanwhile the Joes are dropped over Sierra Gordo. Some of the team are unhappy given Burkhart's extreme political and anti-military views, but Stalker asserts they are fighting for freedom of opinion and that's all that matters. Back in Springfield a series of images are discovered in Billy's mind, but he blocks the images of the conspirators by dredging up older memories of his father forming Cobra. Cobra Commander orders the machine stopped as this is classified information and has Billy removed to a detention cell. Over at the Pit a squad of Joes led by Duke set off in the A.P.C. and V.A.M.P. for a local mission, but do not take the front gate. The Joes in Sierra Gordo have now landed and are met by a mysterious man.
In Springfield Billy declines his dinner and remains sullen, whilst Storm Shadow sneaks into the detention block. Meanwhile Duke's squad leaves Fort Wadsworth via a back entrance disguised as a brick wall and set off to visit an undercover Cobra agent based on Staten Island who set up the ambush at the circus. In the Sierra Gordo jungle the mystery man is joined by three Tucaro Indians, all armed. In Springfield Storm Shadow overpowers the cell guard and flees with Billy only to encounter Destro.
On Staten Island the Joes reach a residential house and surround it. Lady Jaye and Duke approach the door only to be fired on. In the jungle Stalker finally recognizes the mystery man as Recondo, a jungle trooper. In Springfield Storm Shadow charges Destro and knocks his gun so it shoots out the lights, then flees. Meanwhile on Staten Island Mutt, Junkyard and Snake-Eyes enter the house at the rear. A grenade is thrown but Junkyard picks it up and drops it down the sink.
In Sierra Gordo the Joes reach a cliff directly above a former Cobra bunker which is heavily defended against ground attack. Recondo explains that the soldiers guarding it don't expect anyone to climb down the cliff. In Springfield Billy and Storm Shadow reach the surface. The ninja tells Billy to head for the next town but Billy is determined to stay and fight. Storm Shadow says it is always better to run when the advantage is with you, and Billy asks what he will do. The ninja agrees and leaves with Billy.
The battle on Staten Island continues with the house slowly being destroyed. Suddenly a Ferret charges out, ridden by Tomax, Xamot and a Crimson Guardsman. They fire missiles at the Joe vehicles, destroying them. However Cover Girl shoots for Flint to get clear in time. Mutt and Snake-Eyes emerge with Cobra uniforms and equipment found in the basement. Suddenly Bongo the Balloon Bear's van pulls up and Candy jumps out. She reveals this is her father's house!
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
"Ol' Cobra Commander's gonna make an example out of this one! Show everyone that even his own kin got to pay the price for betrayal!"
- --It would take 22 years, but eventually the Cobra Trooper would be proven right.
- Mutt calls Junkyard "Mutt".
- Another footnoting mistake - a note on page 3 says Stalker and Gung-Ho were in Sierra Gordo in issue 15, but it was actually issues 12 and 13. The only Joe who's still there for even part of issue 15 is Snake-Eyes.
Items of note
- Except for one panel, which may actually be a shadow, Major Bludd is not wearing his signature eyepatch. His eye appears normal.
- Some Cobra Commander's life history with Billy and the creation of Cobra is revealed.
- Several elements from earlier issues are brought back - in addition to ongoing storyline elements like Billy and Candy, we have the return of Dr. Adele Burkhart from issue 1, the brainwave scanner from issue 10, and the fictitious country of Sierra Gordo from issues 12-15. To a lesser extent maybe Recondo's presence counts as a callback to his blink-and-you'll-miss-it debut in issue 32.
- Storm Shadow rescues Billy, thus becoming a traitor to Cobra.
- We learn that Candy, a.k.a. Bongo the Balloon Bear, has a father who works for Cobra.
- Introduction of the Tucaros, South American Indians & Friends of Recondo & The Joes.
- The Crimson Guard escaping with Tomax and Xamot is the first appearance of Professor Appel.
- Ripper and Torch are at the inquest, but Buzzer isn't (having been captured at the end of issue 35), the first time we've seen the original Dreadnok trio split up for more than a few panels.
- This issue was reprinted in the G.I. Joe vol. 4, G.I. Joe: The Best of Cobra Commander and G.I. Joe: The Best of Storm Shadow trade paperbacks.
- In the United Kingdom the bulk of the story was reprinted in Action Force #33 & #34 and #41. Curiously the title was not anglicised to "Judgements". Changes made were as follows:
- The third page of the original featuring the snack bar and briefing was excised.
- The fourth and fifth pages of the original were reversed.
- The four pages involving Storm Shadow freeing Billy were not reprinted until issue #41 where they were combined with material from "Walk Through the Jungle" and "Ties That Bind", under the umbrella title of "Shadows of Death!"
- No references.
Footnotes and References