Hearts & Minds issue 1
|First published||May 26, 2010|
|Cover date||May 2010|
|Written by||Max Brooks|
|Art by|| Howard Chaykin "Major Bludd"|
Antonio Fuso "Spirit"
|Color assist by|| Aburtov "Major Bludd"|
Lovern Kindzierski "Spirit"
|Letters by||Robbie Robbins|
|Assistant editor||Carlos Guzman|
Major Bludd reflects on why he does what he does; Spirit reveals the source of his abilities.
In South America, a mercenary leader destroys a bus full of travellers with an explosive device. As his men advance on the injured passengers, he muses...
He isn't going to end up like his father, who saw the factory he worked in move away, or his grandfather, whose farm was taken from him; men who became redundant, their skills unneeded, incapable of providing for their families.
Opening up the bag of coffee carried by one of the passengers, the mercenary finds a packet of cocaine. Gathering it up, he calls his clients, demanding his money in exchange for the drugs. When one of his men asks what to do with the prisoners, he dismisses them as "witnesses", callously executing them himself.
He won't end up like his father, waiting to die, or his grandfather, who killed himself, not able to take it any more. His skills will never be redundant; because men don't change, and there will always be a need for killers.
Returning home to his loving family, the man brings flowers for his wife and presents for his children in the back of a brand-new SUV, as well as a box of Cohiba cigars for his ailing father... who, despite everything, he loves. Because unlike his dad, he will always provide for his family.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Times change. Men don't. I will never be "redundant". I will always take care of my family."
- —Major Bludd
Out in the desert, a U.S. Army tracker halts his patrol, pointing out to them a barely-visible stone, driven into the ground as if someone has stepped on it. His teammates are stunned by his ability, but he just silently reflects...
Of course they made him a tracker, he thinks — he's an Indian. He finds the stereotypes of being one with nature ridiculous, as his ancestors have been living in cities for a thousand years, since Europeans were still barbarians painting themselves blue for battle. He remembers a racist officer quoting an old movie at him, assuming, because of his heritage, that he's a natural tracker... which he is, but not for that reason...
Since his childhood, he's suffered from sensory integration dysfunction; simply put, he can't filter his senses — he notices EVERYTHING. He had to grow up in the desert, away from everyone else, as crowds and cities overwhelmed him. Out there, he learned to live with his disorder... and eventually, to control it. But even if he can narrow his focus, it will never be natural for him.
Back at the barracks, his teammates ask after him in the bar; but he's sitting outside, with headphones on to block out the noise.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Of course they made me a tracker. I'm an Indian. At one with nature and all that crap... and it is crap."
G.I. Joe references
- The eagle on the first page of this story is a reference to Freedom, Spirit's eagle companion in "classic" Joe media.
- Spirit's cynical musing that they made him a tracker because he's an Indian is probably a nod to the classic Real American Hero version of Spirit, who, if we're honest, was a bit of an insensitive stereotype.
- Flashbacks to Spirit's Native American ancestors show them living in a pueblo; specifically, it's likely to be the Taos Pueblo, birthplace of the classic Spirit according to his file card.
Real life references
- On page 10, "conducive to developmental moter plannig" should be "conductive to developmental motor planning".
- Cover A: Major Bludd, by Howard Chaykin.
- Cover B: Spirit, by Antonio Fuso.
- Cover RI: A textless version of the Major Bludd cover A.
- Signed Edition: A version of the Major Bludd cover A emphasising Max Brooks' name at the top, presumably signed by Brooks.
- Barnes and Noble exclusive cover: Major Bludd's cover A art on a red background, with Max Brooks' name highlighted at the top.