|Scripter: Larry Hama
|Penciler: Herb Trimpe
|Inker: Bob McLeod
job is to follow orders...to do the impossible -- and
make it look easy."
During a press conference on a train traveling from
New York to Washington, D.C., Dr.
Adele Burkhart is captured by agents
of the terrorist organization Cobra
Command. The woman known as the Baroness
escapes with Burkhart to a helicopter bound for Cobra's island
In Washington, D.C., General Austin
briefs young General Lawrence J. Flagg
on the kidnapping. Burkhart has been an embarassment to the government
after she spoke out against the "doomsday project" she had developed
them. Flagg suggests they bring in his "Special Counter-Terrorist Group
Delta," code-named G.I. Joe.
Later, Colonel Clayton M. Abernathy, code-named Hawk, arrives at the Army Chaplains'
Assistant School at Fort Wadsworth,
driven by Clutch in the Vamp
jeep, warning him to slow down. He changes
his mind when Clutch mentions his orders were signed by General
Austin. Greeted by some of the Joes at the motor pool, the jeep
into the team's secret headquarters, the Pit, via a hydraulic lift that
Hawk interrupts the Joes' combat training and briefs
them on the mission
to rescue Burkhart from Cobra's Caribbean island. The Joes ask Hawk if
Burkhart is a traitor but Hawk tells them they are soldiers, and they
their job to "follow orders" and to "do the impossible and make it look
easy." On Cobra's island, Cobra
Commander and the Baroness are holding
Burkhart. The commander dispatches his army to meet the small force of
Joes who arrived by submarine. From the Joes' raft, Stalker attacks the
Cobras on the beach with a JUMP jet pack. Cobra Commander realizes the
Joes' attack was intended to lure the Cobra army away from the fort. Flash
and Breaker jam Cobras radar
as Scarlett and Snake-Eyes scale the fortress
walls. Grunt, Stalker and Short Fuse destroy the planes at
but they are only "dummy" planes and one light aircraft is intact. The
rest of the Joes land on the beach with the hydrofoil LCT (Landing
Tank) and the Vamp jeep, HAL laser cannon, RAM motorcycle and the Mobat
tank. They battle Cobra's army. Stalker's team finds Cobra has wiped
the native fishing village, but have no time to bury the dead. The
goes on and Stalker uses the JUMP jet pack to rescue Burkhart from a
leaving the fort. Stalker discovers "Burkhart" is really the Baroness
disguise. Scarlett and Snake-Eyes find Cobra Commander holding Burkhart
at gunpoint, and he reveals that the fortress will self-destruct soon.
He nearly kills Burkhart, but Scarlett injures his wrist with a
star. The other Joes blow up the door, but in the confusion, the
and Baroness escape through a trap door. The Joes load into a Cobra
and fly away as the island explodes. Dr. Burkhart realizes she may have
misjudged the government. Later, Cobra Commander and the Baroness leave
the island in a small plane bound for the secret Cobra base.
Commentary: The first G.I. Joe
story serves basically as a set-up
for the rest of the series. All the Joes are introduced, as is their
headquarters. This marks the only place where the G.I. Joe team's
name is mentioned: "Special Counter-Terrorist Group Delta." The story
also filled with the "army humor" that Larry Hama tends to fill his
with. Our first glimpses of Cobra for the next dozen or so issues
Cobra Commander's followers as brain-washed "Nazi" followers. The
acts like a militant activist with a poltical purpose, going as far as
to call Stalker "pig." These characterizations change a lot as the
goes on. Cobra Commander later comes off as a madman bent on taking
the world, and his character is later filled with humorous touches. The
commander we see here is a mastermind with more of a purpose. His later
"camp" quality seems to be hinted at with his line, "You will soon see
the distinct advantage of having no scruples whatsoever!" The legions
Cobra will seem more like regular soldiers and mercenaries. The
will later be in it for power.
The 13 original Joes seem to have their own
personalities in these early
issues, but many characters "disappear" as Hasbro creates more action
characters. Oftentimes in the entire series, there are hints of Larry
struggle to write quality stories while contending with a dozen new
every year. The story does, however, set-up the personalities of
that do stay around for the whole series. In this story we learn that
doesn't speak, and he uses sign language to communicate, an aspect not
mentioned in later stories. Hawk's character remains constant through
series. Stalker's rather cold dismissal of burying the natives killed
Cobra and continuing with the mission fits with the very realistic
attitude seen throughout the series. The series stays popular by mixing
the Joes' military effeciency with witty comments, balancing the
and humorous tone of the stories. Hama's "mature" touches are examples
of why people are such fans of the comic and what sets it apart from
TV cartoon series. The Joes have a secret base (deliberately set under
the most innocent of army installations, a chaplain's assistant school)
and are unknown to the public. Dr. Burkhart is more than a regular
victim. She's a controversial figure that doesn't like the military and
is actually an embarassment to the government. The Joes "debate" during
the briefing is evidence that this series has some thought behind the
Burkhart seems to be a throwaway character, but she later returns in
#39, and will play a major role in issues #77 and #78.
At various points in the story, the dialogue is at its weakest when
making sure the toys and figures are recognized by readers. At one
Cobra Commander says "...I shall now don my special combat helmet."
the beach assault, someone tells Stalker, "Hurry up and strap on that
-- Jet Mobile Propulsion Unit!" The Baroness and Cobra Commander's
is a little weak, when the elite special forces team misplaces the
to tend to Burkhart's wounded arm. And the self-destructing fortress
isn't too original. Still, the story remains a good set-up for the
- G.I. Joe team: Breaker, Clutch, Flash, Grand
Slam, Grunt, Hawk,
Rock n' Roll, Scarlett, Short Fuse, Snake-Eyes, Stalker, Steeler
- Cobra: Cobra Commander, Baroness
- Recurring Characters: General Austin, General
Flagg, Dr. Adele Burkhart.
- G.I. Joe Vehicles: HAL laser cannon, JUMP Jet
Pack, Mobat tank,
RAM motorcycle, VAMP jeep, LCT (Landing Craft Tank)
- Geography: The "Pit", Fort Wadsworth
Summary: Somewhere in the
middle east in Colonel Sharif's
Stalker and Clutch are sitting in a tavern, waiting for "the
from Scarlett, Snake-Eyes and Rock n'
Roll, who are trying to get the tape
safely through the desert. The tape contains information on how Cobra
bankrolling Sharif's army, the "Guardians of Paradise." In the desert,
Scarlett's team has defeated part of the army, but are expecting
Scarlett has been injured and orders Rock n' Roll and Snake-Eyes to
their weapons and ammo for her and deliver the tape on their own.
Scarlett is killed by the army, Snake-Eyes reappears, having turned
to save her. Rock n' Roll delivers the tape and rushes back with the
motorcycle to rescue Snake-Eyes and Scarlett. Rock n' Roll saves them,
but an air strike is called in. Just before the RAM is destroyed, Hawk
and Clutch show up in the Vamp and shoot down the plane. Meanwhile,
is undercover on a plane to Gibraltar to deliver the tape.
|Writer: Larry Hama
|Penciler: Don Perlin
|Inker: Jack Abel
Commentary: "Hot Potato!" is a
ten-page back-up story included
in issue #1. With this extra-large issue, it's obvious that Marvel was
hoping this series would be a popular one. The title refers to the tape
and comes from Hawk's line "that thing is like a hot potato," referring
the children's game where no one wants to hold it for too long. Cobra
just mentioned here, and one of the strengths of the series is
the Joes don't battle Cobra exclusively. In the cartoon series, it
that the Joes exist only to defeat Cobra. Their mission is broader
Here the Joes have a smaller, less sensational mission. The story is no
less interesting with the use of a tape filled with vital information
a often-used plot device. Also, the use of middle east fanatics helps
date this issue in the '80s (not that the middle east is much calmer
Some interesting aspects in characterization show up in
Scarlett is shown as the leader of her team, willing to sacrifice
to accomplish the mission. Not your typical female character in any
It also establishes that Scarlett and Snake-Eyes have a relationship
Rock n' Roll says he thought Snake-Eyes "had some feelings" for
and when Snake-Eyes disobeys orders to save her. Another aspect of
character is mentioned by Stalker when he says he's afraid Snake-Eyes
take the order "if somebody gets wounded, leave 'em behind" too
- Recurring Characters: Colonel Sharif
- Geography: Colonel Sharif's Emirate
- G.I. JOE: Marvel
Treasury Edition #1 (1982). Reprinted in larger format with
JOE Yearbook #1 (March 1985). Includes "Operation: Lady Doomsday"
and the diagram of the Pit.
JOE Fact and Yearbook (1985). From Ventura Books. Includes a
black and white reprint of G.I. Joe
Yearbook #1, along with other non-comic material. Find more
- G.I. JOE Comics
(December 1986). Digest format from Marvel Comics. Includes entire
issue excluding all of the personnel files except Scarlett's, and issue
- Tales of G.I. Joe #1
(January 1988). Reprint series from Marvel. Includes entire issue.
- G.I. JOE: Volume 1
(May 2002). A trade paperback collection from Marvel. Includes
"Operation: Lady Doomsday" only, and the entirety of issues #2-10.
- A version of the
issue including only "Operation: Lady Doomsday" was released by Hasbro
in 2004, packaged with comic-based action figures of Cobra
and a Cobra
trooper. All references to Marvel Comics were removed.
- Another version of the issue was released by Hasbro
in 2008, packaged with comic-based action figures of Hawk and Scarlett.
All references to Marvel Comics were removed. It features a new painted
cover, based on the original.
- Classic G.I. JOE:
(January 2009). A trade paperback collection from IDW Publishing. Aside
from some slight changes made to the cover, this is a reprint of the
earlier Marvel collection, including
"Operation: Lady Doomsday" only, and the entirety of issues #2-10.
- G.I. JOE: Best Worst of Cobra Commander (May
2009). Part of a series of reprints from IDW. Also includes issues #5,
16, 38, 55 and 61.
- G.I. JOE: Best Worst of Baroness (January 2010).
Part of a series of reprints from IDW. Also includes issues #13-15, 34