|Cover Date: January,
|Script: Larry Hama
|Pencils: Rod Whigham
|Inks: Andy Mushynsky
|Editor: Denny O'Neil
|Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Summary (by Russ Humphress):
It was a dark and stormy night.... at "The Wall," the Vietnam Veteran's
Memorial in Washington, DC, as a man recently identified as Wade
Collins (see previous issue), now a Cobra Crimson Guard holds Stalker
and Snake-Eyes at gunpoint. As Wade forces the two Joes to drive him to
New York, He goes over the final LRRP mission, where Snake-Eyes,
Stalker and Tommy (Storm Shadow) thought that wade and the other two
team members had been killed. As it turns out, Wade survived, and
spent a long time in a VC POW camp. He holds Stalker and
Snake-Eyes responsible for not "finishing him off" before they left.
Meanwhile, near Springfield, Candy, sometimes known as Bongo the
Balloon Bear, is having trouble with the vehicle Buzzer stole (see last
issue). She hitches a ride with a guy in a station wagon, as we
cut to Buzzer, who is just getting off of a freight train in
Springfield. He runs into Firefly and Scrap Iron, as we cut to:
The Springfield Police station. Picking up from last issue, the
Soft Master has managed to decimate the SPD pretty well, leaving only
one officer conscious to preform a computer search, on the name "The
Meanwhile, in a station wagon east of Springfield, Candy finds the Soft
Master's suitcase, and the driver, Chuck, remembers that he dropped off
the suitcase's owner at the Springfield Police station. They
decide to loop back to return the case, and Candy takes Chuck up on his
offer of "special" coffee.
We cut back to Stalker, Snake-Eyes, and Wade, who tells how his release
from the POW camp, and subsequent homecoming were less than he had
dreamed. Upon arrival he was served divorce papers, and he was
unable to find a job, because no one wanted to hire veterans. After
wandering for a while, he fell in with Cobra, climbing through the
ranks, and then became a Crimson Guardsman. Stalker begins trying
to convince him that it's not too late to turn his life around, and we
The Springfield police station, where the Soft Master has just learned
the identity of the Hard Master's killer, when he is interrupted by the
arrival of several more of Springfield's finest. He manages to elude
them and steal a patrol car from in from of the station just a Buzzer,
Firefly and Scrap-Iron show up and they follow him.
Ten miles east of springfield, Billy has been riding with two nuns, who
drop him off as he is on his way into Springfield. The next car
to come along is the station wagon carrying Candy and Chuck.
Back in Springfield, the Soft Master manages to avoid a brace of
missles fired by Firefly by driving under a truckload of frozen
turkeys. Just down the road, Chuck has been hitting his "special"
coffee, actually mostly brandy, and billy sees a vision of death and
At that point the paths of the Soft Master and the three travelers in
the station wagon converge at a railroad crossing, just as a freight
train cuts off the pursuit of Firefly and the other Cobras.
Unfortunately, a struggle in the station wagon results in it crashing
and bursting into flames. The Soft Master turns back to help as
Scrap Iron climbs a phone pole to survey the situation above the still
passing freight train. Scrap Iron fires, and the Soft Master
jumps in front of the missile in an attempt to save the three in the
wreck, and is killed. Scrap Iron then fires his second missile
into the wreck at a signal from Firefly.
Later, in Staten Island, Stalker and Snake-Eyes arrive with Wade at his
home, where he tells his family that they're going away where Cobra
can't find them. Then they drive off into the sunset as Stalker and
This one is impressive from the very
beginning, as it has one of the coolest covers in the entire 155 issue
run. We come so close to finding out the Hard
Master's killer this issue, and we say goodby to The Soft Master, Candy
(aka Bongo), and apparently, Billy (like the Terminator, he'll be
back.) Also new in this issue is Scrap Iron, who is one of the more
Cobra characters. Cobra, at least at this early stage, didn't
as much from the huge influx of new personalities as the Joes did, so
have to wonder why Scrap Iron drops out of site in only a couple more
(For an interesting theory on this, look in the archives of the Joe
list at yojoe.com. 'Nuff said.) The back story about the LRRP team is
to those like me who like the whole Snake-Eyes thread. This story keeps
recurring throughout the series, and each time we find out more about
happened in South East Asia on that LRRP mission.
I want to preface the following by saying that I am not a veteran, but
several of my family members were. I wasn't around at the end of
Vietnam, but several of my family members were.
From all I've read and heard, the depiction of Wade's
this issue was dead-on accurate. Returning vets really were spit
on and cursed, by those who believed we had no business fighting that
war.Well, maybe not. But those veterans were doing their duty.
They didn't make policy, and whether or not we should have been there
not (or should not have been) the issue. A lot of good men paid the
ultimate price, because they were defending freedom. In return, they
got not gratitude, but scorn. And that's the real travesty of Vietnam.
Thank you Larry Hama for not pulling any punches. Your accurate
portrayal of all the aspects of the military are what made this series
transcend its medium. To all those who complained back then that GI Joe
wasn't real enough: look closer.
- Action Force #42 & 43 (December 19th & December 26th, 1987). A Marvel
UK series featuring the UK's
Joe reprints this story in two parts, alongside an original story.
references to "G.I. Joe" were changed to "Action Force".
- G.I. JOE: Volume 5 (2002). A trade paperback collection from
Marvel. Includes issues #42-50.
- Classic G.I. JOE:
(November 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. Includes