Cobra vol. 2 issue 4
|First published||August 31, 2011|
|Cover date||August 2011|
|Written by||Mike Costa|
|Line-art by||Antonio Fuso and Chee|
|Colors by||Esther Sanz|
|Letters by||Shawn Lee|
|Assistant editor||Carlos Guzman|
Steeler confronts Breaker, while Major Bludd does business.
As Major Bludd bites into a burger, he knows something: he's never going to be Cobra Commander. The rest of Cobra don't respect him, seeing him as weak; Tomax sneers at his offer to work together, and Serpentor tries to offer him a "proposition" he doesn't need, wanting to just be left to do his job. Bludd contacts one of his lieutenants, instructing him to get word to anyone on the inside of prisons the Paolis have an interest in that Tomax is going to "pull something"; in return, he is informed that the Baroness has dealt with their competitors in Ecuador — something that Bludd engineered, having faked evidence that Melendez had funneled money to the colonial-Spanish aristocracy to provoke the Baroness into going after him. Getting ready to meet his lieutenant in Myanmar, Bludd requisitions a plane; specifically, "whichever one is the Baroness's favorite".
At El Dorado International Airport, Blacklight breaks into a maintainence hangar. Killing a man and stealing his parachute, the Cobra agent threatens a mechanic working on a plane, and hijacks the jet from the owner despite the pilot's insistence that he'd be detained upon landing and that deviation from the flight plan would be noticed immediately.
In Myanmar, Major Bludd confronts a group of native owners of profitable opium fields, to whom he gives an ultimatum: Give Bludd and his men control of their operations in exchange for 20% of the profits, and they will be allowed to live. The Myanmarians laugh at Bludd, to which he admits that he didn't really give them a deal they could agree to... before the leading native is shot in the head and their Jeep is destroyed by a missile from Bludd's truck. As the Cobra troopers round up the field's owners, Bludd introduces them to his lieutenant, the Headman, who — with his huge, vicious knife — shows them how he got his name. As the Cobra troops load up the cargo of drugs, Bludd thinks about how he doesn't need to be there; everything would go perfectly smoothly if the Headman was in charge. It's that fact, that he likes to be personally involved, that the rest of High Command look down on him for; they understand how to build anything, don't see the value in what they have. Profit, enterprise, business — THAT is what Cobra is.
The Headman informs him that their business is done, but questions whether he needs to be there. Bludd assumes his lieutenant is telling him what he's allowed to do, but the man clarifies that he just doesn't want Bludd to fall behind in the contest on his account... fears that Bludd dismisses, as businessmen "always have insurance".
Breaker explains to Steeler how he fell in with the Coil: after being taken off duty and spending six months in psyche evaluation after events in Laos, he was made miserable by the other Joes tip-toeing around him and going out of the way to be nice to him; but when he was given a copy of Steven Menasian's "Shedding Your Skin", he was able to properly begin healing. He starts to expound on the virtues of the Coil, but is interrupted by an incredulous Steeler, who points out that the Coil is connected to Cobra and that his clandestine communication with them is a total breach of security protocol. Breaker mournfully realises what he's done, and agrees to turn himself in... only for Steeler to shoot him through the head and fake his suicide for when security comes running in. Over the radio, he explains how Serpentor had a man inside, but they didn't realise; but that, with Breaker dead, any suspicion that G.I. Joe might have of an inside man would end there. With his superior Major Bludd updated, Steeler — aka Cobra operative Black-Out — signs off.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Bludd, I'm hurt. I thought you, of all people, would understand. We're both in the business of dispensing opiates, are we not? We're similar in so many ways."
"No, Menasian. You're a delusional, poetic-minded jackass. I'm a working man, and I have a job to do."
- - Serpentor's offer fails to find track with Major Bludd.
- As with the previous three issues, this one is structured around a narration from one of the contestants — here, Major Bludd — starting with why he believes he'll never be Cobra Commander and concluding with his summation of what he believes Cobra to be.
G.I. Joe references
- The Headman is named after a 1992 Cobra character, though the similarity pretty much ends there — the original character was a stereotypical gangster, drug kingpin and smuggler rather than a knife-wielding bodyguard with an affinity for decapitation.
- "Black Out" is a Cobra character from G.I. Joe: Spy Troops; in the Devil's Due Press G.I. Joe continuity, he was, appropriately enough, a Joe who betrayed them to Cobra. His file name was "Thomas Stall", something that'll become relevant next issue.
- Cover A: Serpentor, by David Williams and Kelsey Shannon.
- Cover B: Major Bludd, by Antonio Fuso and Arianna Florean.