Cobra Part 2: In the Grass
|"Cobra Part 2: In the Grass"|
|First published||April 15, 2009|
|Cover date||April 2009|
|Written by||Mike Costa & Christos Gage|
|Line-art by||Antonio Fuso|
|Colors by||Chris Chuckry|
|Letters by||Chris Mowry|
Chuckles makes a friend.
At a "gentleman's club" somewhere in the Balkans, Chuckles slips into the back room for a private dance... with Jinx, who has taken a job there to allow them to meet safely. After the two share a kiss, Chuckles gives his report, explaining that over the past three weeks he has done little but act as driver and bodyguard for his mysterious employer, "Mr. X". The undercover agent knows he's on the verge of something big, but for now has nothing solid. As they leave the private room, Jinx reveals that this was their last meeting, and that all further communication will occur via Chuckles' SR receiver. As he leaves with his colleague Semyon, who has been distracted by another girl, the undercover Joe thinks back to several months ago...
Chuckles wakes up from what he understood was shoulder surgery, only to learn from Hawk that he has also been implanted with a "skeletal resonance receiver", a crude radio device that will allow the undercover operative to receive Morse code transmissions as a mildly painful buzz, and transmit them by biting down on metal foil. Chuckles is not pleased with this unexpected development, but Hawk advises that he suck it up and get used to it.
The day-to-day grind is getting to Chuckles, who has wound up spending most of his time either driving about alongside Semyon, or half-overhearing X's duplicitous dealings. Some excitement comes when X assassinates the Latvian Foreign Minister, but all Chuckles is there for is the clean-up. Four weeks after the final meeting with Jinx, the routine is broken when Skelton, rather than Semyon, meets him in the car, and explains that they are to collect X in the city center. En route, however, a pedestrian pulls a pistol on Chuckles whilst they wait at a traffic light, and although the undercover Joe is able to pull away with just a broken windshield, it immediately becomes clear they're in the middle of a full-blown ambush.
The attackers, perched in a building ahead, quickly shoot Skelton dead, whilst another lifts a rocket launcher. Chuckles accelerates, then leaps from the moving vehicle moments before a rocket hits, and the car's momentum sends its wreckage flying into the assailants. The undercover Joe worries about how he'll explain this to Mr. X, but on meeting with his employer learns that the ambush had been a test, and that Skelton's job is now his. But first, he must face an "etiquette test": accompanying X to a dinner party that evening.
At the dinner, the Crimson Guard is on full display as X mingles with high society. Chuckles is struck by the arrival of a beautiful woman, who Semyon explains is Erika Le Tene, rumored to be dating somebody higher up their organization's food chain than even Mr. X. During the dinner, Chuckles retreats to the kitchen to throw up the bizarre delicacy of ortolan, and encounters Le Tene. The pair tease each other for a minute before being interrupted by X, who has a task for Chuckles: blowing up the country's federal reserve, which is temporarily home to 2.1 billion in new bank notes. The dinner, attended by all the local bank presidents and Secretary of the Treasury, has in truth been a distraction.
In the pouring rain, Chuckles detonates 40 pounds of semtex, destroying the archaic treasury building in an explosion that X watches from across the city. Arriving back at X's building, the undercover Joe finds Erika enjoying the rain, which, she explains, reminds of her early life in Vietnam. When Chuckles brings up the man she is supposedly dating, however, Le Tene insists that he shouldn't believe everything he hears... and the two embrace in a kiss.
Characters in italic text appear only in flashbacks.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"So you're X's new thug."
"Actually, I prefer "goon.""
- —Erika and Chuckles debate semantics
G.I. Joe references
- As with each issue in this mini-series, the title is a word or phrase frequently appended to the word "snake". "Snake in the grass" is a turn of phrase referring to a traitor and hidden danger.
- "Semtex" is misspelled as "semtec".
- Cover A: Erika and Chuckles, by Howard Chaykin and Edgar Delgado.
- Cover B: Erika and Chuckles surrounded by other members of the cast, by Antonio Fuso.
- Cover RI: Virgin version of Cover A.