The Joes, on assignment as military advisers to the country of Wolkekuckuckland, infiltrate the country of Darklonia, where Cobra is testing a new system to make their vehicles and troops invisible to radar.
At the border of Wolkekuckuckland and Darklonia, a group of obnoxious American tourists are turned back by a border guard, who explains their army are carrying out manoeuvres. Hawk expresses his uncertainty to General Liederkranz and his assistant Wolfgang for demonstrating the new surplus American armoured vehicles he has acquired in full view of Darklonia but Leiderkranz wants to show them off to Darklon, who tried to sell him surplus Cobra hardware. On the other side of the border, Darklon is berating Destro for selling him the unwanted items and is unimpressed by his revealing his new closer relationship with Cobra. However, he changes his tune when Dr. Mindbender offers an upgrade that will make the vehicles invisible to radar and infrared.
Meanwhile, the tourists have retired to a bar and try to get the two owners to tell them how they smuggle in Darklonian weapons. The smugglers pull guns on them...but the "tourists", in reality Flint, Lady Jaye, Scarlett and Snake-Eyes, quickly outgun them and announce they have a Camaro parked out the back.
The Joes and their Wolkekuckuckland allies watch as the border monitoring system pick up both a Darklonian Stun and a X-30 Conquest sold to a friendly country that was then subject to a coup with the new rulers selling them on to anyone: Neither violates the border but the Joes fail to pick up on the fact the X-30 is being piloted by Destro. Darklon confirms to Cobra that the smugglers know a way across the border but won't share it with anyone. Mindbender announces he is ready to start pythonising the equipment.
Flint's group are driving the smugglers to the border, wanting to know how they get across. Snake Eyes removes his (normal face) mask which is enough to make them talk. One of the smugglers says he'll show them their method: He leads Flint to the early warning systems command trailer and bribes Wolfgang into turning the system off for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, Darklon and Cobra are crossing the border in the other direction using pythonised Stuns and Vipers wearing anti-radar suits. They pass the Camaro and Darklon realises it must be the smugglers, wondering if the Camaro is somehow radar resistant. The Joes similarly recognise Cobra Commander and Baroness among the Darklonians and realise they must have another way to avoid the early warning system. They prepare to turn back but the smugglers ask to be let out first, concluding that no man's land is safer than staying with the Joes.
Hawk and Leiderkranz find the early warning system turned off; Wolfgang claims it is a strategy to trick the Darklonians into making a mistake. Hawk turns it back on and picks up the Camaro...but then the Python Patrol attack, aiming to capture Leiderkranz and embarrass him into buying off Darklon. Hawk, Roadblock and Skidmark grab Leiderkranz and lead Cobra to where a group of MBT Maulers and Slams are waiting in ambush. Destro's plane is damaged and forced to withdraw, with the Cobras are left fleeing on foot. Baroness notes that she knows a way across the border in the village.
Darklon races for the border with lights off only to collide with the Joes' Camaro. Snake Eyes tackles Darklon to the ground but when Hawk and Leiderkranz arrive, Leiderkranz orders him released: He is impressed by his ability to evade the detectors and wants to make a purchase. The Joes look on in disgust.
The next day, Destro and Darklon drink a toast to their success. Darklon apologises for leaving the others behind but Destro is confident Baroness will find a way out. Cobra Commander, Baroness and Mindbender offer the smugglers double to get them across the border but the smugglers have another request: A Camaro.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
"I wonder if it would be easier to wheedle secrets out of the smugglers? At any rate, it would be less silly..."
- --Is Larry Hama expressing his feelings for the Python Patrol through Darklon?
- On the cover, Cobra Commander's helmet is colored dark blue, and bits of Darklon's mask are colored like skin.
- What happened to Tony Salmons' artwork? It was okay in his previous issues, but this may be the worst-drawn issue of G.I. Joe up to this point. Hardly any of the characters look like themselves, except maybe Roadblock.
Items of note
- The Python Vipers are identified as wearing "wraith suits."
- Darklon's only goal in invading Wolkekuckuckland is to embarrass them into buying more weapons? Way to dream big, fella!
- Wolkekuckuckland currency is pink.
- The lickspittle Wolfgang looks like Peter Lorre.
- The smugglers' names are homonyms for "rat" and "weasel."
- Darklon says he doesn't like the Camaro ever since they changed the front grill. The third generation Camaro was introduced in 1982.
- "Wolkekuckuckland" comes from wolke (cloud) kuckuck (cuckoo) - a reference to Aristophanes' 414 B.C. play Ornithes (The Birds), in which the city Cloudcuckooland (Νεφελοκοκκυγία) is built in the air above Greece.
Footnotes and References
- ↑ No relation.
- ↑ But the previous version's front grill does bear some resemblance to Darklon's ridiculous mask.
- ↑ Cloudcuckooland's ruler thought he'd created a Utopia, but it was actually a brutal totalitarian regime. Today someone who is "living in cloud-cuckoo-land" is naive, unaware of reality or deranged in holding such an optimistic belief - such as Gen. Liederkranz's belief that having all his forces respond to every border alarm was a good idea.