Cobra Part 4: Eyes
|"Cobra Part 4: Eyes"|
|First published||June 17, 2009|
|Cover date||June 2009|
|Written by||Mike Costa & Christos Gage|
|Line-art by||Antonio Fuso|
|Colors by||Lovern Kindzierski|
|Letters by||Neil Uyetake|
End of the line!
As "head of special projects", Chuckles is now working in the laboratories with Max, a graduate engineering wiz-kid, leaving Semyon to feel the undercover Joe has become a distant bigshot. In the staff canteen, Chuckles overhears several of his old colleagues discussing his execution of Jinx, and Max subsequently finds him throwing up in a trash can...
As he makes his way back to the lab, Chuckles reflects on what he has learned of Cobra's M.O.: mercenaries like himself and Semyon carry out missions to destabilize developing countries, and then when those nations have lost faith in their own militaries, Cobra comes in under shell corporations and hires out the Crimson Guard to them, securing both profit and power. The undercover agent's "special project" is an extension of that private military: Battalion Automation Tactics, which has resulted in robotic soldiers nicknamed "BATs". Unfortunately, the automatons are far from perfect, unable to distinguish friend from foe and liable to self-destruct without warning. Chuckles' two predecessors as project lead both, in fact, fell victim to the robots. Whilst Max is confident about upcoming improvements to the AI, the Joe warns against counting their mechanical chicken soldiers before they hatch.
Meanwhile, Chuckles and Erika's love life has descended into a hollow routine. That night, as she goes to leave, Chuckles suspects it will be the last time her will see her, but is unable to bring himself to say goodbye...
The next morning, Chuckles strides into the main building, where he knows, thanks to Erika, that Mr. X is visiting. Semyon is on guard duty, and the undercover agent attempts to convince him to let him to see X, but Chuckles' old colleague stands resolute. The Joe takes a moment to compose himself, for the moment that everything has been leading up to, and then throws Semyon through the window into X's office. Drawing a pistol, Chuckles takes X at gunpoint to the office of the mysterious "commander". Mr. X warns of dire consequences should they enter, and offers a clean death instead, but Chuckles stands firm, and demands X open the code lock.
Inside they find Erika, and a man with his back to the door. Chuckles demands the "commander" turn to face him before dying, and turn he does... revealing the face of Mr. X. The man in the chair is Tomax, whilst the one who Chuckles brought to the room is Xamot, his twin brother! As Chuckles stands confused, the brothers gloat over how the undercover agent unknowingly met with both of them, whilst Cobra's real commander never stepped foot near the Dubai headquarters.
Momentarily, Chuckles regains his composure, and triggers a detonator, setting off explosions in the distance which tear apart Cobra's refinery plant and the Crimson Guard's base. Chuckles declares that Cobra is gone, but Tomax enlightens him: what he has seen is but a mere fraction of Cobra, and his true identity as a G.I. Joe agent has been known to them for months, ever since Erika noticed the SRR's vibrations the first time they slept together. Jinx's execution was a twisted game on Cobra's part, and they long ago cracked G.I. Joe's codes and know everything Chuckles reported to them. Tomax goes on to taunt that they even knew about the explosives, and also that there are none in the building in which they stand.
But Chuckles has one last trick up his sleeve: Cobra was right, there are no explosives in the building... but there is an army of BATs, which he has programmed to kill all personnel and then self-destruct in five minutes time! As the robots begin causing chaos, Chuckles takes Xamot hostage again and fires on Tomax, but Erika had loaded his gun with blanks that morning. Nevertheless, the Joe gives Xamot a nasty burn to the face with another blank before being tackled by Semyon. The twins flee to a helicopter with Erika whilst the two former colleagues grapple, a fight that is cut short when Chuckles kills Semyon with a loaded pistol abandoned by Le Tene.
Amid the chaos, Chuckles simply walks out of the building. Amid the crowds, he sees Jinx's face for an instant, before being distracted by a fleeing Max. Minutes later, the exploding BATs tear the building apart, and Chuckles finds a rooftop from which to watch it burn into the night. Believing that he cannot go back to G.I. Joe after what he has done undercover, he instead resolves to honor Jinx's memory by finding and ending Cobra, even at the cost of his own life...
Characters in italic text appear only in flashbacks.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"I can't go back to the Joes. Not after what I've done. I have nothing. Only what Jinx died for. Only the mission. I will find them. If it's the last thing I do. And it will be."
- —Chuckles makes a fatalistic resolution
- Page 5 sees, without fanfare, Cobra referred to by name for the first time in this series, leaving it unclear at what point Chuckles discovered the true identity of the organization he was working for. Hawk's dialogue in Cobra II #1 will imply that Chuckles reports helped prove Cobra's existence, suggesting he learned the name before losing his SRR. This also places the timeframe of these events after issue #12 of the main series, in which Hawk accepts the existence of Cobra.
- All the appearances of Mr. X in previous issues are revealed to have been either Tomax or Xamot. Future issues will go on to firmly establish that Tomax always wears a white suit and Xamot a black one, allowing one to identify who was serving as X each time he appeared.
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". On top of the G.I. Joe-specific meaning of "Snake Eyes", it also refers to a roll of a double 1 on a pair of dice: significant bad luck.
- Cover A: Chuckles, by Howard Chaykin and Edgar Delgado.
- Cover B: Chuckles, by Antonio Fuso.
- Cover RI: Virgin version of Cover A.