Cobra vol. 2 issue 5
|First published||September 21, 2011|
|Cover date||September 2011|
|Written by||Mike Costa|
|Line-art by||Werther Dell'edera|
|Colors by||Arianna Florean|
|Letters by||Shawn Lee|
Black-Out has been freed from suspicion over Breaker's death, but will Chameleon's investigation change that?
Relaxing in her bath, Chameleon knows something: she'll never be G.I. Joe, a fact illustrated when a soldier enters her bathroom with no warning to bring orders from the general. Refused the opportunity to get dressed on the basis that she isn't cleared to speak to Hawk with any items or clothing that could used as a weapon, she's forced to see the general in her bathrobe... something unnecessary, as Hawk is only speaking to her through a video call anyway. Chameleon is informed of the information leak caused by Breaker, and while she believes that the situation dealt with itself, Hawk is suspicious of how neatly everything has been resolved. On the chance that there might be another Cobra agent in the Joes' Washington, DC facility, he assigns Chameleon charge of counter-espionage within the installation; not because of her Cobra background, but because -- despite her standoffishness -- she's the best intelligence analyst that G.I. Joe has. Chameleon leaves the meeting surprised that, for once, she's being trusted with something.
The private jet with the designation G-235 is contacted by air traffic control, having deviated from its flight plan. Cobra agent Blacklight, having shot the pilot and copilot and taken control of the jet, ignores the messages; he parachutes out of the plane, allowing it to crash into a mountainside. Collecting his belongings, he poses as a hitchhiker, and is soon given a ride by a man in a pickup truck.
As part of their investigation into the security breaches, Chameleon and Firewall interview Steeler about the events of Breaker's "suicide", starting with how Breaker, a non-combatant, managed to take his weapon from him. Steeler argues that he was injured, and that Breaker was a frontline Joe for several years; Chameleon responds by running down his history, and how he'd been recruited after single-handedly taking down a milita group that had captured him in Syria. Chameleon continues to question him on the exact set of events, but Steeler's answers make sense to Firewall; Chameleon is suspicious of his hostility, but Firewall sees it as normal for an active Joe, and when when she talks back, Firewall reminds her to be grateful that she's on the side of the angels.
At a private airfield, Major Bludd and the Headman are met by Tomax Paoli in a flashy sportscar; the two candidates bicker over their methods of operation, and the Headman quietly offers to have Tomax killed in a way that can't be traced back to Bludd, which he declines. Error 404 notifies Bludd of a call from Steeler, AKA Black-Out, who lets him know that he's cleared of suspicion; Bludd is pleased, and orders him to accelerate his operations and decrease caution, despite the increased risk of detection. The Headman questions his superior, pointing out that the Joes discovering Black-Out would rob him of an agent inside, but Bludd sees no value in playing espionage games once he's Cobra Commander; in fact, when in charge, he'd probably have Black-Out killed anyway as unnecessary.
Black-Out/Steeler is found in one of the maintainence rooms by Breaker's former colleague, who offers his sympathies about Breaker's death; when Steeler expresses confusion over his talk of a "new base", the Fobbit tells him to report to the situation room, because the Joes have a plan that Cobra will never expect...
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"I'm not stupid. I know I was living in a fishbowl in Cobra, too. But at least the people there had the courtesy to insinuate and be vaguely threatening about it."
"You telling me you think I haven't learned enough about hostility?"
"Yes, yes, we get it. You're working for the Joes now, and it's just as bad as working for Cobra. What a delicious irony. We're all already sick of hearing about it."
- -Chameleon's backtalk doesn't impress Firewall.
- Erika Le Tene joined G.I. Joe as "Chameleon" back in Cobra Special #2.
- The difference between Antonio Fuso's art and Howard Chaykin's didn't make it clear before, but Black-Out is indeed Thomas Stall from Interrogator's story in G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds. While that story ended with the implication that he'd commit suicide, it seems he joined up with Cobra instead.
- During Chameleon's meeting with Hawk, the video image of Hawk is shown multiple times at an angle, as if it were a 3D object rather than an image on a screen.
- On page 13, "soldier" is misspelled "solider".
- The logo on the back of Tomax's sports car is a horizontally-flipped version of the Ferrari insignia.
G.I. Joe references
- The media referred to Stall as "a real American hero", which you shouldn't need to be told is the classic tagline of G.I. Joe.
- Much as the previous arc of Cobra all shared the opening line of narration "I'm never going to be Cobra Commander", this issue has "I'm never going to be G.I. Joe", which recurs in the following two issues.
- Black-Out is referred to as "Thomas C. Stall", like the Spy Troops character, rather than "Thomas J. Stall", which was used in Hearts & Minds. Presumably the version used in this issue is a "correction", though it doesn't come up again.
- Cover A: The Baroness with Major Bludd in the background, by David Williams and Kelsey Shannon.
- Cover B: Chameleon, by Antonio Fuso and Arianna Florean.
- Cover RI: Baroness and Major Bludd in a homage to the cover of The Uncanny X-Men #141, by Danny Cruz and Esther Sanz; part of a month of RI covers homaging the iconic cover, along with G.I. Joe #5 and Snake Eyes #5.