Cobra Part 3: Oil
|"Cobra Part 3: Oil"|
|First published||May 13, 2009|
|Cover date||May 2009|
|Written by||Mike Costa & Christos Gage|
|Line-art by||Antonio Fuso|
|Colors by||Lovern Kindzierski|
|Letters by||Neil Uyetake|
Has Chuckles passed a point of no return?
For the first time in weeks, Chuckles rests peacefully, after sleeping with Erika Le Tene. The next day, it's business as usual, and the undercover Joe continues to carry out his assignments, disrupting, stealing or redirecting illicit weapons shipments to benefit the organization and all the while reporting back to G.I. Joe. On one occasion, he and Semyon intercept a prison transport to extract Anatoly Naryshkin, a dissident scientist, but with no picture of their target, they're quickly faced with multiple prisoners claiming to be the man. Suddenly, one of the impostors, a man who the real Naryshkin exclaims was brought aboard in an unscheduled stop, reveals a suicide belt, and Chuckles is thrown back by an explosion...
Chuckles awakens in hospital three days later, and spends the next three weeks recuperating, with Erika making frequent visits, showing affection only when they are alone. Over this period, the Joe comes to realize that his SRR has been damaged by the explosion, cutting him off from Hawk and G.I. Joe. Shortly after leaving hospital, Chuckles is summoned by Mr. X, who explains that the suicide bomber was a Chechen rebel seeking to kill Naryshkin and his rescuers. In short order, X reveals that the undercover agent will no longer be "wasting" his talents in the Balkans, and is being reassigned to their central office in Dubai, to serve as Erika's chief of security and as "head of special projects".
In Dubai, Chuckles' new role entails everything from combat operations, prisoner interrogation, training Crimson Guards, and arranging terrorist attacks. The Joe is uncomfortable with his actions, but consoles himself that they're a necessary sacrifice to get as close to the top as possible. Meanwhile, Le Tene attends weekly meetings with an enigmatic "commander", perpetually hidden from view. Erika's behavior leaves Chuckles thinking there was truth in the rumors of her relationship with the man in charge, and he ponders how he can use that to his advantage. One night, he wonders aloud to her when the "special projects" he was promised will materialize, but in return she questions whether his heart is really in the job... Does he want this?
A month after the move to Dubai, Chuckles stumbles upon an abandoned car, and begins making secret trips to send coded messages back to G.I. Joe with its radio. Two nights after one such message, he is woken in the small hours by Semyon, who leads him to a cell... where Crimson Guards have Jinx prisoner! Even as the guards explain how they suspect the woman has been following Chuckles from country to country, she spins a lie that Chuckles is the man who killed her family. Chuckles quickly realizes that there is no way for the two of them to make it out alive, and as he agonizes over what to do, Jinx shouts that he should he should kill her, supposedly to prevent her enacting painful vengeance upon him. The undercover agent follows through, shooting her once through the head, and immediately retreats to his quarters in anguish, not only over what he has just done, but also the fact that his very first thought had been relief that he was not in her position...
The next morning, Chuckles approaches Erika, and announces that his doubts are finally gone. He's ready to go all in. He wants it. Because, he contemplates inwardly, he's going to take down this organization, even if it's the last thing he does.
Characters in italic text appear only in flashbacks.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
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 oil" refers to falsely-characterized products of little or no benefit.
- On page 7, "SRR" is misspelled as "SSR.
- In G.I. Joe: Cobra: The Last Laugh, this issue is strangely retitled "Bite" - stripping it of the double meaning provided by the original title, which appeared over a scene of a firefight in an oil field.
- Cover A: Chuckles and Jinx, by Howard Chaykin and Edgar Delgado.
- Cover B: Chuckles, by Antonio Fuso.
- Cover RI: Virgin version of Cover A.