The Dreadnoks seek to rescue Zartan, but can they outrun the new Joe vehicle?
At a gas station in the New Jersey Swamplands Zarana leads the Dreadnoks inside where they meet Zartan's other sibling, Zandar, who has a habit of being forgotten and overlooked. Zarana then shows the Dreadnoks the garage, where Thrasher has been fixing vehicles, including the Swampfire and the Thunder Machine. Buzzer tells Zarana that Zartan is being held prisoner at the Pit and Zarana devises a plan, producing dossiers on several Joes.
Later Zandar and Zarana, disguised as Lady Jaye and an officer, take the Swampfire to Fort Wadsworth where they talk their way through the gates and into the Pit. Zandar poses as an electronic interrogation specialist from Fort Belvoir who has come to run tests on Zartan. The prisoner is brought out of his cell, cuffed, and Zandar asks for a more private area so Sgt Slaughter tells them to go to the staging level. The disguised Dreadnoks take Zartan up on the hydraulic lift and free Zartan, who changes into Sgt. Slaughter while Zarana disguises herself as Scarlett, at the same time confirming Zartan's suspicions that she wants some of the gold he stole from South America. Meanwhile Storm Shadow climbs out of the engine housing, unseen by the others, and leaps down the elevator shaft. Thunder discovers a com-link module is missing from the electronics locker and realizes Zandar has taken it. Slaughter puts the Pit on alert but upstairs Tollbooth waves "Slaughter" and "Scarlett" though, together with Zandar in a changed uniform. A new vehicle and Joe - Cross-Country - arrive and Zarana tries to talk her way out, but Cross-Country has just left the real Scarlett and knows he is talking to a fake. The Dreadnoks activate the Swampfire's rotor blades and fly away.
At the McGuire Air Force Base, Hawk receives a call from Slaughter and explains that the com-link-module will allow Zartan to monitor all communication channels and bypass codes. But he won't know it can be traced and Slughter detects the co-ordinates in the marshlands. Hawk dispatches a team under Flint to intercept, whilst Wild Bill flies Hawk to the Pentagon. In the marshlands the Swampfire meets the Thunder Machine, carrying the other Dreadnoks. Zartan decides to head to the gas station and they agree to take separate routes with Zarana and Zandar taking the Swampfire and the rest the Thunder Machine. Meanwhile Slaughter races out of the pit and joins Cross-Country aboard the H.A.V.O.C., leaving Thunder in charge.
In the swamps Flint's team catch up with the Swampfire and attack, rapidly capturing Zarana and Zandar. Zartan observes this from nearby and orders the Dreadnoks to go back. The Thunder Machine charges its guns demolishing the Mauler, and knocks the Striker over. The two siblings are rescued as they have the com-link-module. Flint and Roadblock right the A.W.E. Striker and radio Cross-Country. The H.A.V.O.C. arrives and faces the Thunder Machine in a head-on charge.
The Dreadnoks lean over to the right, causing the Thunder Machine to tilt onto two wheels and narrowly miss the H.A.V.O.C. (although they knock off Slaughter's hat). Both vehicles head through a refinery, failing to trick each other into crashing, and then charge towards a moving train. The Dreaknoks shoot their way though a boxcar, leaving the H.A.V.O.C. stuck on the other side of the tracks. Slaughter launches the utility flyer unit from the H.A.V.O.C. and flies over the train, but all he can find is a remote gas station. The man on duty tells him the Thunder Machine headed on down the road. After Slaughter has gone, the man reveals himself as Zandar and comments nobody ever remembers him.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Featured Vehicles & Equipment
Thrasher (after being told Cross-Country is matching him move for move): Yeah? Well, I've got one advantage over him. I'm COMPLETELY NUTS!
Almost immediately followed by:
Torch: You're nuts!
Thrasher: That's what I said! You deaf or something?
- Monkeywrench appears on the cover, instead of Torch.
- Trip-Wire has a rather odd conversation with himself (page 6, panel 2). Presumably the last sentence of the first speech bubble should be coming from either Sgt Slaughter or the phone.
- If Hawk and Sgt Slaugher know Zartan can monitor their communications, why do they discuss this fact before switching frequencies, and therefore, presumably on one of the channels that's been compromised? This is especially problematic if the second panel of page 8 (where Sgt Slaughter discusses tracking Zartan) is before they actually switch, which it almost has to be. (True, Zartan and company haven't figured out that they have this ability yet, but the Joes have no way to be sure of that.)
Items of note
- The events in this story take place after the events in the first five pages of the next issue.
- First Appearances: Cross-Country, H.A.V.O.C., Swampfire, Thrasher, Thunder, Thunder Machine, Tollbooth, Zandar
- Zarana disguises herself as Lady Jaye and Scarlett.
- In the United Kingdom the story was reprinted in Transformers #166, #167, #168 & #169.
- Cross-Country chases Thrasher through an "Axxon" oil refinery.
Footnotes and References