Alessandro Verdi --
Alex to his friends -- is the son of a former United States ambassador
to Italy. He was born during one of his family's extended periods of
time spent overseas. Growing up traveling through Europe, Alex
developed a love of language, and being fluent in three by age nine.
When his family returned to America permanently, he began studying
languages formally and made his way to Harvard where he graduated from
with full honors. He eventually joined the Army as an interpreter,
hoping he could work for peace within the military, despite being an
avowed pacifist. He is also extremely well-read, and over the years has
authored over fifteen bestselling books.
took a position as a translator at the Pentagon, where he began working
with General Lawrence Flagg
initial formation of the G.I. Joe team
then he had picked up the nickname, "Sparks
Sparks' skills reached beyond simple translation into the realm of
information technology and communications, and his skills proved
invaluable in assisting Flagg in finding suitable candidates for the
new team. Steeler, in particular, owed his inclusion on the team to
Sparks' recommendation. Sparks also played a part in uncovering
evidence that a corrupt General had paid mercenaries to attempt to kill
" Abernathy who had recently been
court-martialed. Flagg and Sparks used that evidence to blackmail the
General into dropping the charges against Hawk, freeing him to become
field commander of the Joe team. Sparks is also one of the few people
who know of the existence of the team's top secret fourteenth member,
the late Shooter.
Sparks was eventually given a permanent reserve
position as the Joes' liaison to the Pentagon. He never served in the
field, but worked behind the scenes during all incarnations of the
team. He occasionally spent time at the team's original headquarters
, where he met the Joe jungle
. Always somewhat of a
loner, Recondo struck up a friendship with Sparks when he recognized
his name, having read many of his books. The two friends would often
spend time discussing and debating great literary works.
Sparks continued his work for the Joes even during
the years they were decommissioned. When the latest incarnation of the
team was established, Sparks chose to relocate all operations to the
team's new headquarters, The Rock, under the command of General Joe Colton
. Now that the team
operates with a smaller roster, Sparks' job includes coordinating with
the various reserve members of the team. He is also responsible for
maintaining the team's Data Desk database.
During one mission, the team encountered mercenary Major Bludd
, who boasted about recently having
killed a Joe. After confirming the whereabouts of a number of missing
members of the team, only one missing Joe remained: Recondo. Sparks
decided to head out into the field to find his friend, and made his way
to a Tucaro village in Sierra Gordo, where he was told Bludd fought
with and killed Recondo. The saddened Joe returned to headquarters, but
he soon received an e-mail message from Recondo. The postscript of the
message included a personal reference to one of their private literary
Recondo was still alive. He explained that he asked the Tucaros to lie
to anyone who came looking for him and asked Sparks to record him as
officially dead in the Joe team's records, allowing him to secretly act
. Sparks has presumably kept the
information to himself, and is the only person besides the Tucaros who
knows that Recondo is still alive.
Sparks was at The Rock when the base was invaded by
the Phoenix Guard
, a team of U.S.
commandos that turned out to be Cobra agents in disguise. Sparks did
his best to purge the Data Desk to prevent it from being accessed by
the invaders before he sustained number of
injuries, including severe damage to his left leg.
defeated the Phoenix Guard, but several Joes were injured and many
members of the Joes' support staff were killed. Sparks is currently
recovering from these
wounds, but still serving the team in his usual capacity during his
Following the incident,
Colton ordered the Joes to go on leave to recover from their ordeal.
Since Sparks was too far from home for a short leave, he was invited to
stay at the home of Joe Colton and his wife, Jane.
first appeared in only a few episodes of the original G.I. Joe cartoon
series, and did not appear in comic books until Special
Manhattan, more than twenty years
later. An action
figure based on the character was released one year later.