Cobra Commander, Destro and Snake-Eyes all remove their masks - but for some that is more than just a physical face cover...
In the ruins of the Pit Destro and Cobra Commander locate an drill vehicle to escape. Up in Fort Wadsworth, Grunt signs his release papers and leaves to study at Georgia Tech. Meanwhile in the Terror Drome in Sierra Gordo Dr. Mindbender cannot understand why "Flint" doesn't respond to the Brain-wave Scanner or why there is no facial reaction at all. Envoys arrive with news of a counter-revolutionary attack nearing the Terror Drome, so the Baroness sends Tomax and Xamot to deal with them.
Back at the Pit, Destro and Cobra Commander board the dill and use it to bore a new tunnel. They come up in a deserted shopping center on Staten Island. On Cobra Island, Serpentor announces he intends to make Cobra a legitimate government and shows the Dreadnoks a model of what will be the New York Cobra Consulate Building - a 50-floor surveillance and communications base with diplomatic immunity. Back on Staten Island, Destro and Cobra Commander realize that with Serpentor usurping them they will have to lie low for a bit. They enter a fashion store and unmask to each other for the first time as they disguise themselves with hats, sunglasses, false facial hair and slightly retro clothing: Destro dons a fedora and thick beard, while Cobra Commander wears a trenchcoat and beret.
Meanwhile, in Sierra Gordo, Tomax bemoans how the country is awash with revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries, all looking similar and all calling themselves freedom fighters, but Xamot does not care. Suddenly he sees that the current counter-revolutionaries are being led by a G.I. Joe squad consisting of Stalker, Leatherneck, Beach Head and Low-Light. In the Terror Drome, Mindbender realizes "Flint" is wearing a rubber mask and pulls it off to reveal a revolting face that the Baroness identifies as Snake-Eyes. However, before they can advance the interrogation, a Tele-Viper reports that the counter-revolutionaries are breaking through the outer defenses.
To the west of New York, Cobra Commander and Destro drive in a yellow Corvette they have procured. Cobra Commander explains how he was once a used car dealer and knows how to fill out all the paper work to make the car legitimate. A state trooper pulls them over, but Cobra Commander has his actual driver's license with his real name, his dealership papers and perfect transit papers for the car. Back in Sierra Gordo the Joes and counter-revolutionaries advance, picking off Cobra Troopers who are the right sizes for them. Back to the west of New York the trooper confirms the papers are in order but comments that Cobra Commander's real name is unusual and familiar, as is his face. He thinks and suddenly remembers. "Billy!" he cries, shocking Cobra Commander. The trooper explains how a little over a year ago there was a flaming car wreck with only one survivor, a boy who crawled out with major burns. The only identification was his wallet with his name, but there were no records on him, and a photo of his father who matches Cobra Commander without the mustache and glasses.
In Sierra Gordo the Cobra Troopers retreat into the base and Mindbender orders to use of a helicopter as a gunship. The Baroness sends the newly returned Troopers to guard the prisoner but once there they knock out the existing guards and reveal themselves to be the Joes. Stalker tells the others that he is taking the mission very personally as he and Snake-Eyes served together in Vietnam where Snake-Eyes was badly hit in an ambush at their landing zone and Stalker opted to save the rest of the patrol by leaving him behind, something Snake-Eyes never held against him. However no-one else obeyed the orders and Storm-Shadow went to bring Snake-Eyes back while the others returned fire. Stalker now feels there aren't enough brave men to leave one behind. They flee the Drome and disable the helicopter as they return to the jungle, but Stalker is badly wounded. Stalker orders the others to leave him behind as he'll only slow them down and he owes Snake-Eyes not to let anything else happen to him, but Snake-Eyes orders the rest of the Joes to take Stalker to safety while he fights a holding action. Stalker protests but is wounded and thus Snake-Eyes, as the next senior man, takes over. As they head away they see and hear huge gun fire, grenades and launchers and wonder if they've seen the last of their comrade.
Back in the US, Cobra Commander and Destro have reached the hospital where Billy is being treated. A doctor explains he is in an extended coma but has every chance of adequate recovery. He has lost his right eye and leg below the knee joint. Cobra Commander tells his comatose son he has been a lousy father but is going to help him in any way he can. Crying, he wonders how Billy can ever forgive him. Destro comments that he can't change the past and should do something about the future as he leaves.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"We'll both have to compromise our respective tastes. I notice a lack of polyester suits in your size..."
"Hrmph! Fashion snobbery from someone who still wears a gold chain with an open shirt."
- --Destro and Cobra Commander get catty.
"What do you do, memorize eyebrows?"
- --Leatherneck is surprised anyone could see through his Cobra Officer disguise.
"If it was frags, that's the last we'll see of Snake-Eyes!"
- --Then I'm going to go out on a limb, Beach Head, and say it wasn't frags.
"You imprisoned him, outlawed him and even subjected him to Dr. Venom's Brain-Wave Scanner! You drove him into a nightmare existence--"
"Don't you think I know that? 'True villainy lies not in the commission of evil, but in the denial of it.' I should have loved him better... how can he ever forgive me?"
"You can't change the past... let it go. Do something about the future."
- --Destro and Cobra Commander view the comatose Billy.
- Dr. Mindbender says "Flint" is not showing any reaction to the Brain-Wave Scanner at all, but in the previous panel his face is clearly contorted into a grimace.
- While Baroness has seen Snake-Eyes' face before, it's been set on fire since then, which should have led to further disfigurement.
- When the Joes are viewed through Xamot's binoculars, Leatherneck appears to be a zombie or something. Later, when they rescue Snake-Eyes, he's back among the living but has somehow become black.
- Also when they rescue Snake-Eyes, Beach-Head's hair is white.
Items of note
- Grunt retires from G.I. Joe.
- Cobra Commander and Destro unmask for the first time, though neither face is clearly seen.
- Billy, Cobra Commander's son, is revealed to have survived the explosion that killed Candy.
- First mention of Cobra Commander's past as a used car salesman.
- Destro's undisguised face would eventually be seen, but not for years.
- This issue was reprinted in the G.I. Joe: The Best of Cobra Commander trade paperback.
- In the United Kingdom the story was reprinted in Transformers #191, #192, #193 & #194.
- The toys in the toystore at the abandoned mall include:
- A teddy bear
- A bird
- Baron Karza
- A scuba-diving hot dog
- The Flaming Carrot
- Astro Boy
- Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
- Mr. Potato Head
- As they near Springfield, Destro and Cobra Commander pass a 7-11, a Kmart and a Dairy Queen. With specific info like that, we should be able to determine where it is!
Footnotes and References