Cobra Commander escapes from a portable fortress in the Rockies, with some help from Storm Shadow.
A team of Joes, led by Duke, and their prisoner, Cobra Commander, are parachute dropped from a C-130 onto a plateau high in the Park Range of the American Rockies. Two crates are then dropped, carrying a pre-fabricated fortress and Duke tells the prisoner he will help assemble it.
In Cobra Headquarters Destro is about to shoot Major Bludd because of the Baroness' death, only for the Baroness to enter alive and well. She explains that Bludd rescued her and that Cobra Commander tried to kill Destro. The three discuss how to take over Cobra now that the Commander is a prisoner. Meanwhile at McGuire airfield a Cobra spy reports the return of the C-130. Aboard a Cobra bomber Storm Shadow and a Trooper try to determine where it delivered its cargo in the time available, and orders a course for the Rockies.
On the plateau the fortress has now been assembled and Duke and Cobra Commander debate fortification tactics with the Joe sergeant explaining that the base can only be taken by infantry who will have to parachute in, and there are installed weapons to take out both aircraft and parachutists. One crate is still sealed but Duke refuses to reveal its contents. At Cobra Headquarters the Baroness notes that Storm Shadow is searching for Cobra Commander, and Major Bludd reveals he secreted a homing device in Storm Shadow's sword, thus allowing them to locate the Commander. He and the Baroness introduce Wild Weasel, "Cobra's best pilot", and Firefly, who is "guaranteed" to deliver results if he can be got to the target.
At the fortress the Joes try to use the lure of coffee to get Cobra Commander to remove his helmet, but the Commander produces an access straw and explains his helmet is booby-trapped with plastic explosive. However he does not mention he also has a short range radio receiver in the earpieces. In the air Storm Shadow and the Trooper study satellite images and confirm the location, only ten miles away. Storm Shadow suddenly leaves through the open door and radios to the Commander that a rescue is imminent, asking him to get into the open.
Cobra Commander asks to get some fresh air and is escorted outside by Grunt and Rock 'n Roll while the other Joes play cards. Outside the Commander knocks over his guards as Storm Shadow suddenly flies up on a C.L.A.W. The ninja grabs his commander and flies off, but not before Roadblock races out and fires, hitting one fuel tank. Duke rushes out and starts opening the other crate as Grunt explains Storm Shadow must have flown under their radar.
Over a pine forest the Commander tells Storm Shadow they don't have enough fuel to reach the plane unless one of them stays behind. Meanwhile Duke has opened the crate to reveal a Sky Hawk and takes off in it, ordering Roadblock and Gung-Ho to follow on the ground to collect the Cobras. Meanwhile the C.L.A.W. has landed and Cobra Commander tells Storm Shadow he is confident the ninja will be able to escape and Troopers will be sent back for him. The Commander flies off solo on the C.L.A.W. and is soon pursued by Duke, so Storm Shadow radios that he will shoot the Sky Hawk down. Storm Shadow climbs a tree but is spotted from afar by Gung-Ho and Roadblock who launch a shell to bring the tree down before the ninja can fire. On the plane a Trooper detects the explosion and two F.A.N.G.s are dispatched to help.
Gung-Ho and Roadblock follow Storm Shadow's tracks until they stop by a tree. Suddenly the ninja leaps down, slashing Gug-Ho with his sword. Roadblock throws himself at the Cobra, who drops the sword. In the sky the Sky Hawk comes under fire from the F.A.N.G.s so Duke turns it and destroys them with two missiles. However this gives Cobra Commander the time needed to reach the bomber and escape. Duke returns to the fortress at the same time as Roadblock, who carries Gung-Ho and drags a subdued Storm Shadow. Roadblock tells Duke that Storm Shadow has not revealed anything but curiously had a mail receipt in his pocket from sending something to Chokoloskee, Florida.
At Cobra Headquarters Destro, the Baroness and Bludd communicate with Firefly and Wild Weasel, who have traced the homing signal first to a post office in Chokoloskee, then to a seemingly deserted shack in the Everglades. In the headquarters Cobra Commander suddenly enters and tells them that he knows the occupant of the shack "and not only is he at home, he's quite upset about trespassers on his property!" The screen shows Firefly and Wild Weasel confronted by a hooded man with two guns!
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
- None yet.
- Destro's chest is the colour of his mask (not the first time this colouring error has occurred, but the first time it's been consistent rather than just a panel here and there).
Items of note
- First appearance: Firefly, Wild Weasel, and the Sky Hawk.
- First appearance of Zartan and the Water Moccasin, but only in cameos on the final page.
- First issue in which the ninja, and Storm Shadow's status as one, are explicitly mentioned. This will become a major storyline element.
- The art was done by noted military artist Russ Heath, who also did character designs for the animated series.
- This issue was reprinted in the G.I. Joe vol. 3, G.I. Joe: The Best of Larry Hama and G.I. Joe: The Best of Storm Shadow trade paperbacks.
- No references.
Footnotes and References