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Marvel Comics - GIJoe Special Missions #1

  Review & pics by Steve B. Bala

Special Missions #1 1986
"That Sinking Feeling"
Written by Larry Hama
Art by Herb Trime

Joes: Cutter, Torpedo, Shipwreck, Deep-Six, Wet-Suit
Cobras: Baroness, Firefly, Cobra Soldiers, Cobra EELs
Oktober Guard: Colonel Brekhov, Daina, Horror-Show, Schrage, Stormavik
Supporting Cast: Captain Bulgakov
Vehicles: Cobra Fang, Cobra Hydrofoil, GI Joe Sharc

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(click image for larger view)

Plot Summary:
A Russian Hind-E helicopter circles a large Swedish fishing ship named the Christina. Daina of the Oktober Guard is piloting the helicopter. She tells Colonel Brekhov that she believes it might just be an innocent fishing ship. Col. Brekhov knows better. He spots Deep-Six of the GI Joe team on the deck. Torpedo and Cutter are at the helm. Torpedo tells Cutter that Brekhov and Daina are flying the helicopter. Before anyone can react 3 Cobra Fang mini helicopters appear and attack the Russian helicopter. As a pitch air battle ensues Shipwreck walks on to the deck of the Christina and says, "Chow's on. Ain't you lubbers hungry?" The Russians easily take out 2 of the Fang copters. The last Fang is piloted by the Baroness. With her final missiles she knocks out one of the Russian copters turbines. They shoot one back at the Baroness and score a hit. Both helicopters leave with their tails on fire, as the joes just sit and watch from the deck. Deep-Six says it's time for his mission to start. The Russian helicopter lands on the deck of its own ship, piloted by Captain Bulgakov. Col. Brekhov tells Bulgakov that the rumors must be true, an American submarine must be damaged at the bottom of the Baltic sea. Brekhov wants to take on the Joes and get the lost Sub for Russia. Captain Bulgakov tells the colonel that since the Joes are flying a Swedish flag they must be carrying Swedish paperwork for the ship and that if they attack it may start an international incident. Colonel Brekhov responds, "You are too cautious Bulgakov, that's why you never got promoted to admiral". Meanwhile the Baroness is picked up by a Cobra Hydrofoil steered by Firefly. She tells him and the EELs that they must hold off both the Joes and the Russians so that Cobra can get to the American sub before anyone else does. Deep-Six takes the GI Joe mini sub, the Sharc, into the water to record video footage of the lost submarine. The Joes run a cable from the Sharc up to the Christina, transmitting the image of the sub. Horror-Show and Daina of the Oktober Guard put on wet-suits and dive into the water. They splice the cable and transmit the signal to their own ship. Daina sets off to sabotage the Cobra hydrofoil and Horror-Show goes to check out the Sharc. Cobra sends their own divers, the Cobra EELs, to the Russian ship.

Once they board they overhear the Russians talking about the video footage of the downed American sub. They radio the Baroness telling her the Joes have found the sub. The EELs start a gunfight with the Russians. Daina boards the Cobra Hydorfoil and throws a grenade into the helm. Destroying its controls. As Horror-Show goes to the GI Joe Sharc only to find it's pilot missing and a VCR hooked up to the cable going up to the Christina. Deep-Six knocks out Horror-Show by beaning him on the head with a large wrench. At this time the Cobra Hydrofoil, with it's controls gone, is heading straight into the Russian ship. The Baroness and Firefly jump from it onto the Russian Ship. The Cobra EELs are already aboard and they set up a crossfire with the Oktober Guard caught in the middle. Torpedo and Wet-Suit gear up and dive off the Christina and sneak onto the Russian Ship. Captain Bulgakov greets them both by name. While the Russians and Cobras shoot at each other, a Cobra sub appears. Destro comes onto its deck. He tells them all to cease firing. Stunned both teams demand to know why. Destro replies, "You never saw the sub, the video image was a prerecorded tape of a model in a fish tank. They expected you to splice into their line". Colonel Brekhov asks why, why would they Joes go through all that trouble? Destro points to Capt. Bulgakov. The captain tells everyone that he is defecting to America. He explains that he and his wife were always loyal party members. That her family fought in the Russian revolution. That her family had fought for Moscow in World War 2. They only thing they loved more then the USSR was each other. But she was a Jew. And when she realized that the husband of a Jew would never be made an admiral, "she stopped wanting to live. She died in January..... And with her my loyalty to the party". The Joes extract Bulgakov by plane, using a harness attached to him around the waist. Wild Bill flying the plane turns to General Hawk and says, "Some mission, eh Hawk? The Joes never fired a shot". Hawk smiles and replies, "That's what I call a perfect mission".

Cover: The cover boasts, these are the missions we couldn't talk about until now. The cover art is well done, a lot of action on it. It doesn't give much detail into the actual story, but it was made to grab the attention of a comic customer and it does. On a scale of 1 - 10 i give it a 8

Special Missions #1 gets it right. The story has all the markings of greatness. It has action, intrigue, and a wonderful plot twist at the end. In my opinion this issue is what Special Missions is all about. It highlights the Oktober Guard more then GI Joe or Cobra. It plays into the whole anti-Russia cold war feelings of the 1980's. Colonel Brekhov is shown as a smart, tough, gritty leader who's main concern is for the greater good of his country. He tells Capt. Bulgakov how he wants the USA's sub for the advancement of Soviet technology. Daina is young, a little naive, but she still shows how she earned her place in the Oktober Guard. She snipes a Cobra EEL, and throws a grenade into the helm of the Cobra Hydrofoil. Horror-Show isn't his usual Russian muscle-head self. He is taken out of action pretty early in the issue. And as always Schrage and Stormavik are hardly used. On the Cobra side, the Baroness is what you expect. She full of fight and anger, but when the moment suits her needs she tries to convince the Joes that they should both team up. The Joes don't go for it of course.  The only other major Cobra in the issue is Firefly. His presence doesn't add or take away from the story. The could have used any Cobra ranking officer as a fill-in and it wouldn't have changed the story either way. But it's always nice to see Firefly. The Joes are just there to get the job done. The only reason they used all the Navy Joes, was because the story took place on the Baltic sea. The only Joe to really stand out is Shipwreck, and that's because he has that sarcastic wit to him. And the ending still blows me away. Larry Hamas use of real world events and real world commentary is just amazing. It shaped the person i am today. I think todays writers fear that kind of realism, thinking it's readers will object. This was a beautiful cold war story that makes you understand the USSR's feelings about Jews and makes you glad to be an American. This is a stand alone issue that doesn't affect the Joe continuity. You can pick up the issue and enjoy it without ever understanding the history between Cobra and GI Joe. This is what Special Missions was meant to be, just good story telling starring the Joes you've come to love! On a scale of 1 - 10,  I give the story a 9.

(click image for larger view)

All the interior art work is done by Herb Trimpe. His art never really grabbed me. It's a little to undetailed for my taste. And to many characters are standing in the shadows. I do like the fact that no one is overly good looking. All the characters have a hard, gritty look to them. Which how real battle worn soldiers should look. A lot of times when an artist draws Daina, they make her overly sexy. I like it idea when she looks like an actual soldier. On a scale of 1 - 10 i give the art a 6

Overall Rating: 7.5



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