Cobra II Part 2: Scales

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G.I. Joe: Cobra II #2
"Cobra II Part 2: Scales"
Publisher IDW Publishing
First published February 17, 2010
Cover date February 2010
Written by Mike Costa & Christos Gage
Line-art by Antonio Fuso
Colors by Lovern Kindzierski
Letters by Neil Uyetake
Editor Andy Schmidt
Assistant editor Carlos Guzman

While Chuckles refuses to come back to G.I. Joe, Erika Le Tene is questioned about her role in his infiltration of Cobra.


It took five months for Hawk's new recruit to hunt down Chuckles. She started off by tracking phony visas he'd been given by old buddies from his mercenary days, which led her to two more ex-associates of his that she had to kill. After riding atop a Trans-Siberian Railway train for 58 hours to Khabarovsk Krai, she found the trail starting to go cold... until she overheard a local cop talking about a westerner who'd been busted. That led her straight to the prison where Chuckles was being held. Now, her target is staring at her, babbling in disbelief that his dead lover Jinx is still alive...

Eventually though, he snaps out of it and realizes that she isn't who he thought. Introducing herself as Chameleon, she informs Chuckles that she's been sent to rescue him. However, Chuckles tells her that he doesn't want to be rescued and demands that she go back lest he ruin everything he's trying to do. While Chameleon assumes Chuckles is delusional and being crushed by guilt over the things he was forced to do while undercover, he forcefully informs her this is not the case. Chuckles didn't get himself locked up to atone for anything, he did it because he found out there's a former bodyguard to Cobra High Command locked up in there. Chuckles has been spending his jail time buddying up to this bodyguard, the only one who managed to leave his job behind without getting killed, and he believes it won't be long until he gets enough info out of him to fully understand Cobra's leadership structure. Chameleon, however, is undeterred and continues picking the lock of Chuckles' cell, telling him that his work is done for now. Trying to reason with her, Chuckles asks if she'll wait a week. If she just does that, he'll not only go with her willingly, but serve Cobra up to her on a silver platter as well. Chameleon takes Chuckles up on his offer and agrees to meet with him in a week after he breaks himself out of prison.

At the estate where Cobra High Command is meeting, Erika Le Tene emerges from her shower to find Xamot waiting for her inside the bathroom. Caught off guard by him, Erika asks that her boss give her some privacy. Not paying much mind to her protests, Xamot informs Erika that they and his brother Tomax have been summoned to answer for the incident at the Dubai facility with High Command. After Xamot leaves, Erika dresses herself and prepares to depart but is stopped by Max, who informs Erika that he's been asked to escort her to the meeting. As the head of cyber-banking and accounts security for Cobra, Max is less there to protect Erika and more to ask her some questions about what she'd like to happen to her money should she be "terminated" from Cobra. Since she has no beneficiaries to transfer the money to, Max informs Erika that her money would go right back into Cobra, something he assures her the organization will be happy to hear.

As she arrives at the meeting, Erika finds the conference room surprisingly empty given that she's supposed to be answering to High Command. Tomax informs her that they're far too busy to concern themselves with her, so they've sent along Crystal Ball, master of psychological tactics and inquisitor general, to represent them in this case. Staring her down, Crystal Ball introduces himself to Erika and warns her that there is to be nothing but truth spoken in this room, as lies and threats are for other, lesser men. Getting down to business, he relays to Erika that he knows that, at the Paolis' request, she seduced an undercover G.I. Joe agent who went on to sabotage an important R&D project and escape with his life. Grabbing her hand, Crystal Ball asks if Erika did anything to help Chuckles in either of these efforts. Though she remembers dropping a loaded gun somewhere within his reach that could have helped him escape the Dubai facility, Erika still denies having helped Chuckles. Running his clawed fingers over her hand, Crystal Ball senses fear in Erika, a fear that's been with her for as long as she's lived. He detects she lost something once, a long time ago, and has never found anything to fill it. Now, he believes she fears whatever she eventually finds to fill that hole. With that, Crystal Ball clears Erika of having had anything to do with the incident in Dubai, though he does warn Tomax and Xamot that she's of weak spirit and is thus potentially dangerous to keep around. With that, Erika is granted permission to leave.

With the deadline he set with Chameleon approaching, Chuckles plays sick to attract a guard over to his cell before stabbing him with a sword that Chameleon gave him and stealing his keys. Grabbing a couple of AK-47s, Chuckles releases his ex-Cobra contact and tells him he's springing a jailbreak. After shooting their way through the guards, Chuckles and his "buddy" come to the outer perimeter wall, which Chuckles plans to blow up using explosives he made with fertilizer, cleaning agents, and rendered down urine. When the ex-Cobra asks where he learned how to make things like that, Chuckles plainly tells him "G.I. Joe" and snaps his neck, needing his corpse for the next part of the plan. After blowing the wall, Chuckles escapes and eventually rendezvous with his other Cobra contact: Max. As they drive through the woods towards a camp Max had set up for his old boss, he asks what's next and Chuckles plainly tells him nothing, he's through with him. Max is quite taken aback by this, having helped Chuckles in the first place because he wanted out of Cobra and was promised asylum if he did so. Given his engineering skills, Chuckles is sure Max will have no problem getting out of Cobra sooner or later but refuses to involve him in his mission any more than he already has.

Two days after the deadline he set with her, Chameleon still hasn't seen or heard anything from Chuckles. Checking out the prison, she discovered that the shootout and explosion left so many mangled bodies that they have no way of knowing Chuckles got away. While she's certain that she could pick up on his trail and find him again, Chuckles did give her something that makes her hesitate. From the location he asked her to meet him at, Chameleon spots a helicopter out on the horizon, one that bears the logo of Cobra... and is landing at the mansion High Command is meeting at!

Featured characters[edit]

Characters in italic text only appear in photos. (Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

G.I. Joe Cobra Others
  • Ex-Cobra bodyguard (8)


"You think I'm here because of displaced guilt? I can leave any time I want."
"You just mistook me for a dead woman. You're delusional from dehydration, malnutrition, and isolation. I'm not taking your word for it."
"You listen to me. I am here because there is a man one wing over who was bodyguard to Cobra High Command. They usually "retire" these people with a bullet to the head. He's the one guy that escaped. I've spent the past three months gaining this man's trust. We've been trading war stories. I'm on the verge of getting the entire picture of Cobra's top level. You think I failed my mission, started crying in my beer and got in a random drunken fistfight in Vladivostok? I never lost track of these people."

-Chuckles feels he deserves a fair bit more credit than Chameleon is giving him.

"So you are the famous Erika Le Tene. I know so much about you. There are no threats in this room. Threats are for the stupid and the weak. And there is only truth here, because lies are for the desperate and the lost."

-Crystal Ball introduces himself to Erika.


Continuity notes[edit]

  • It's revealed that, as he vowed at the conclusion of the first Cobra miniseries, Chuckles has been continuing his mission to take down Cobra on his own ever since it seemingly ended in failure.
  • Max first appeared in the the final issue of G.I. Joe: Cobra, where he was Chuckles lab aid on the B.A.T. program. It seems he's gotten himself a nice little promotion or two since the last time we saw him!
  • As flashed back to, Erika left a loaded gun behind within Chuckles' grasp, which aided in his escape and survival. Whether or not she did it as an intentional favor for him is unclear, but intentional or not she certainly knows what she did.

G.I. Joe references[edit]

  • Gaze into his... him, because Crystal Ball makes his IDW debut this issue! Originally part of the 1987 range of G.I. Joe figures, Crystal Ball is Cobra's resident hypnotist... and was widely maligned by many Joe fans due to his (even by Joe standards) strange, decidedly non-military character and the pegwarming nature of his toy. He's been given an overhaul here, going from a musclebound Vincent Price cosplaying as Kraven the Hunter to a more menacing figure who resembles writer and known occultist Alan Moore.

Other notes[edit]

  • Xamot totally has a foot fetish.

Covers (3)[edit]

  • Cover A: A woman who is probably supposed to be Erika with Tomax and Xamot, by Howard Chaykin and Edgar Delgado
  • Cover B: Erika and Chuckles, by Antonio Fuso
  • Retailer incentive cover: "Virgin" version of Cover A