G.I. Joe vol. 2 issue 12
|First published||April 4, 2012|
|Cover date||April 2012|
|Written by||Chuck Dixon|
|Art by||Will Rosado|
|Colors by||Romulo Fajardo, Jr.|
|Letters by||Neil Uyetake|
|Editor||John Barber and Carlos Guzman|
In the aftermath of the Nanzhao invasion, G.I. Joe lick their wounds and count their losses... but will there still be a team when all is said and done?
In the front yard of Fort Baxter, General Hawk lists off the members of G.I. Joe that died in Nanzhao, including the elite ninja-commando and Scarlett's one-time love, Snake Eyes. The General is unable to avoid the fact that the Joes were soundly beaten in Nanzhao, but pledges that the next time they meet Cobra, the results will be different; after he dismisses the team, Duke is unimpressed with the speech, but Hawk is frank with him, admitting that there might not even be a G.I. Joe program by the time he returns from his meeting in Washington, D.C.. Meanwhile, Scarlett speaks to Agent Helix, who was with Snake Eyes when he "died"... though only Helix is aware that the ninja still lives, and has joined back up with his old clan, the Arashikage. Helix skirts around the issue, saying that "the Snake Eyes we knew" is dead, but Scarlett is angered by the specialist's "cold" attitude, and leaves Helix on her own.
In Khamiristan, a former Soviet state, Zartan boxes with a sparring partner, but the other man's punches are ineffectual in the face of Zartan's malleable flesh, prompting the shapeshifter to pound his opponent into a bloody pulp bare-handed. Their match is interrupted by Cobra Commander, who has a task for Zartan: with Cobra out of the shadows, they have diplomatic considerations to deal with, and Cobra's leader has selected Zartan to be their public face, something he is more than happy to do.
G.I. Joe, conversely, are having more difficulties: Hawk's superiors are furious about the disasters of Cobra's "civil war" and invasion of Nanzhao and the Joes' failure to prevent it, and are responding with multiple changes to the Joes' operations; first and foremost, a "re-evaluation" of the unit's operating budget.... and, as the General reveals to Duke on returning to Baxter, his dismissal from the service. In his place, Duke will be promoted to Colonel and placed in command of G.I. Joe, and will have to deal with their reduced manpower, severely slashed budget and a civilian board that will review any new procurements they try to make. Hawk calls for a meeting of G.I. Joe command to discuss the transition, and asks for Scarlett, who is presently engaging in a training exercise with Tripwire and Beachhead, but Scarlett's time spent in intel rather than in the field has left her out of practice, and she ends up "shot" and "killed" by a simulated Major Bludd. Hawk invites Scarlett in to meet with him in private, and as well as ensuring her understanding of the transition to Duke's command, he comforts her in the face of her grief over the death of Snake Eyes.
The Joes' failure to stop the disaster of Nanzhao is not the only thing behind their slashed resources, however: one of the members of the committee that made the decision is in the pocket of Cobra, and spent all of his political capital on ruining the Joes in exchange for their funding his run for a Congressional seat, something promised to him by the Baroness. Indeed, Cobra's influence continues to spread, as the destruction of the Golden Triangle has launched the value of their narcotics holdings in central Asia and South America to incredible levels; though the Headman is having difficulty in eliminating the South American drug-field owners due to his orders to keep the coca fields intact, he promises Cobra Commander that the "negotiations" will be favorable to them.
Under Duke's orders, Spreadsheet reviews their new budget, and the numbers don't look good; the cuts are so severe that Duke has no idea how they're supposed to operate as a fast response unit. Hawk may still be able to help with that, with a man he can bring in to help: Billdocker, professional Army scrounger and barterer, who can get anything for anyone with his connections throughout the armed forces. With the team's scrounger secured, Hawk takes his leave for the last time, and is saluted as he goes by every Joe on the base, all of whom he's proud to have served with.
And elsewhere, Zartan prepares to give his first statement on Cobra's behalf at a press conference. He sings the praises of Cobra, pointing to their deposing of a totalitarian junta in Nanzhao to the distribution of pharmaceuticals in Africa; but today, he's there for a different reason: exposing a secretive, dangerous an illegal military unit... a unit known as G.I. Joe!
Characters in italics are shown only in flashbacks. (Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Those are the names. You know the faces. They were your brothers and sisters. They died once to join you. They died again to defend you. The world won't know. But we will know. And the way we'll remember them, and honor them, is to keep up the fight."
- —Hawk memorializes the fallen Joes
"At ease, Joes. And godspeed."
- —Hawk's last words to his team
- Two of the names listed off as having died are Hotwire and Wratchet, characters seen crewing the Mean Dog back in Cobra Command, Part 4. Their crewmate Wild Card, the only one of the three to be based on a preexisting G.I. Joe character, isn't mentioned; seems like he got lucky!
- Though he isn't wearing his trademark balaclava, Beachhead is one of the Joes at the "funeral service", wearing a nametag with his surname of "Sneeden"; taken from his classic depiction, "Wayne R. Sneeden" was established to be Beachhead's real name in IDW back in G.I. Joe: Origins #11. Similarly, Mainframe is wearing a "Parker" nametag, showing him to share his name with the classic "Blaine L. Parker" Mainframe. (However, see "Errors", below.)
- Duke, Mainframe and Beachhead are wearing nametags with their real surnames, but G.I. Joe #0 and Cobra II #1 established that the Joes give up their real names on entering the team, with their codenames being their only ones. Adding to the confusion, Rock 'n Roll is also shown with a nametag... but his just reads "Rock 'n Roll"!
- Other Joes listed as having died are Muzzlebreak, Crackshot, Musketoon, Gun Daddy and Brasstack.
- Billdocker's name is here spelled with two "L"s, but from issue 14 onwards it will be spelled with only one ("Bildocker").
- Cover A: Hawk packs up and hits the road, by Will Rosado and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
- Cover B: Scarlett takes aim in front of Snake Eyes' face, by Steve Ellis.
- Cover RI: Uncolored version of cover A, by Will Rosado.