|First published||September 19, 2012|
|Cover date||September 2012|
|Written by||Mike Costa|
|Art by||Werther Dell'edera|
|Colors by||Arianna Florean|
|Letters by||Neil Uyetake|
|Editor||John Barber and Carlos Guzman|
From his UN prison cell, Major Bludd thinks back on his life and on who he is.
Years ago, a young Sebastian Bludd is retrieved from a Russian jail by Colonel Shtern, who is furious that the mercenary has given his jailers Shtern's name, though Bludd points out that he inevitably would have eventually. Bludd was hired by the colonel to move a shipment of weaponry for him, but was found out and captured in the middle of St. Petersburg; Shtern insists that no man in the northwest of Russia would dare cross him, and so the leak must have come from Bludd's end of their agreement. Bludd knows who it must have been, and — armed with one of the rifles from the shipment — tracks down the culprits: his wife Catherine and her lover Danny, who betrayed him to take over his mercenary operations. On finding them, Bludd kills them both, and asks the dying Catherine why she betrayed him; but when he moves in to hear her answer, she takes a piece of broken glass and uses it to slash him across his face, blinding him in his left eye.
As a reward for providing intelligence to his G.I. Joe team, Flint has pulled strings to improve Major Bludd's accomodations, getting him fresh clothes, a haircut and shave, better food, and a cleaner cell. Bludd is still none too happy with his situation, but nor is Flint: though his intel was seemingly good, its destruction at the hands of Firefly means they can't verify that. Bludd insists that he had nothing to do with the mission's failure, but Flint already knows that: he couldn't possibly have gotten word out from his cell.
Growing up in poverty in Australia, Sebastian would dream of the opportunities afforded by America, the country where he was born. In Australia, however, his only "opportunity" was to join the army — specifically, the Special Air Service Regiment — as a way to get out of the country. Despite his lack of love for his nation, Bludd rises quickly to the rank of Major thanks to his ambition and hard work; he is soon deployed to "hellholes" such as Cambodia, where he surrounds himself with men willing to dabble in illegal business, providing security to local drug lords. Soon, however, half of his men are taking the local drugs, which eventually leads to the jumpy, paranoid soldiers assaulting a bus full of missionaries; Bludd responds by executing the perpetrators, setting fire to their camp and bodies, and going AWOL, making his way to eastern Europe. With his special forces training and contacts in southeast Asia, Bludd thrives as a mercenary, until Cobra comes calling; however, the Baroness, sent to recruit him, takes an instant dislike of him thanks to his attitude towards doing his own work. Despite being brought in to Cobra's inner circle, Bludd always feels out of place, with the other members of High Command looking down on him for his working class origins and businesslike sensibilities. Eventually, Bludd is assigned to run the Section Ten gulag, something that he assumes to be intended as a slight against him — but he just takes it as another opportunity, running it as efficiently as possible and even taking time out to spend with his new family.
Sitting on the floor of his cell, Major Bludd muses to Flint that, other than Cobra Commander, he was the only member of Cobra High Command with children; that, he believes, is why he was brought into Cobra even though he didn't seem to belong. He and the Commander shared the same values — they were businessmen, just wanting to work and provide for their families. Flint is unimpressed, seeing Bludd as just another killer, but the major points out his perceived hypocrisy: they're both killers, much the same as each other, as much as Flint denies it. Meanwhile, Chameleon trains with Lady Jaye in the Gemini's gym; while it goes well at first, Chameleon panics after Jaye pins her down when she has a flashback to Black-Out, bearing down on her with a knife. Trying to calm down in the shower, Chameleon is greeted when she emerges by Clockspring, who — after some fumbling attempts at small talk — tries to invite her to see a Las Vegas show with him; but Chameleon is too tired to recognise his advances, and asks him to come by her room the next day... to sweep it for bugs while she's out.
Flint compliments the security of the United Nations prison in which Major Bludd is being held, with its administrator bragging about how the military nature of the prison means that it cannot be compromised from within. Moments later, however, the building shakes as the prison comes under attack from the outside! Flint rushes to the prison's armory, relieving the guards' leader of command, but they have no time to respond when a canister of tear gas is thrown into the room. With the guards unable to see, the attackers make their way to Major Bludd's cell, where a man and a woman — dressed in military uniforms marked with a red star — take him with them back to see their leader: Colonel Shtern!
Characters in italics are shown only in flashback. (Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
|G.I. Joe||Cobra||Oktober Guard||Others|
"What happened here?"
"He wanted my wedding ring. Said he would chop off my finger to get it. I became annoyed."
"Good. One less person to have heard my name."
- —Colonel Shtern and Major Bludd
"I like to do my own legwork. You show me a man who runs his organization from behind a desk, and I'll show you a man who has no clue what's going on in it."
"That's very interesting. I'm here to introduce you to a man who sits behind the biggest "desk" you can imagine. I expect he'll find your folksy outback wisdom... charming."
- —Major Bludd and the Baroness
"Sorry, that sidearm you carry — what, that's from the new fall collection? The only difference between you and me is that I get to decide who I kill, while they pay you to kill who they say."
"They "pay" me, major, to protect the world from men like you, a duty I'd do for free."
"But you don't do it for free, do you? You're a working man."
- —Major Bludd and Flint
- In the second flashback, we see Major Bludd's farmer grandfather, originally seen in his spotlight story in Hearts & Minds #1. The narration seems a little confused, apparently referring to the man shown as Bludd's father, but Bludd's profile in the Hasbro Heroes Sourcebook would later establish that he was raised on his grandfather's farm. Also shown is Bludd's family from that issue, here revealed to be his second, after his marriage to Catherine didn't work out.
- Bludd's memories of Cobra High Command include all the contestants in the Cobra Civil War (other than Oda Satori), plus Serpentor and Xamot Paoli.
- Bludd was introduced running Section Ten in his first appearance, back in G.I. Joe vol. 1 #16. It seemed an oddly low-down position for a member of High Command; turns out Bludd agrees!
G.I. Joe references
- They aren't named in this issue, but the red star insignia and Russian connection instantly marks Bludd's "rescuers" as members of the Oktober Guard, Russia's counterpart to G.I. Joe from the '80s comics and cartoons.
Real life references
- When the Baroness asks Bludd if he's heard of Cobra, he responds by asking if she's heard of Keyser Söze. Söze is the main antagonist of the 1995 film The Usual Suspects, and is a legendary, almost mythical crime lord — "a spook story that criminals tell their kids at night", who may or may not even be real. As such, Major Bludd implicitly believes that Cobra is similarly mythical, though the Baroness doesn't get his joke, assuming that Söze is a business rival of Bludd's.
- Regular cover: Major Bludd among his fellow prisoners, by Antonio Fuso and Arianna Florean.
- Cover RI: Scarlett, Lady Jaye, Flint and other Joes battle Cobra, by Robert Atkins and Simon Gough; combines with the RI covers to G.I. Joe #17 and Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow vol. 2 #17 to form a larger image.