Homefront, Part 1 of 5
|"Homefront, Part 1 of 5"|
|First published||February 20, 2013|
|Cover date||February 2013|
|Written by||Fred Van Lente|
|Line-art by||Steve Kurth|
|Inks by||Allen Martinez|
|Colors by||Joana Lafuente|
|Letters by||Neil Uyetake|
|Editorial consultant||Carlos Guzman|
G.I. Joe come out of the shadows to battle evil in the public eye... but Cobra's grip on America is tighter than any of them expected!
Roadblock, Quick Kick, and Tunnel Rat are pinned down by Cobra W.O.R.M.S., twenty-six meters from an injured Shipwreck. The Joes urgently need to get their teammate to safety, but they're outnumbered three to one — and once Cobra bring their Maggot around, it'll all be over...
Eight hours earlier, a press conference on Governors Island announces the island's rededication as the headquarters for the Joint Services Special Counterterrorist Group — also known as G.I. Joe, after the man addressing the reporters: General "G.I. Joe" Colton. Though the press are more interested in Colton's role as the team's commanding officer, he insists that the real focus is the team itself; and, as such, he introduces the team's field leader, Duke, to say a few words.
Some time later, Colton — glad to be done with the press — briefs Duke on his first field mission as commander of the G.I. Joes' "celebrity soldier" field team: Cobra W.O.R.M.S. have been sighted occupying an empty factory in Warrenton, Ohio, and are believed to be using it to manufacture or stockpile chemical weapons. To take them on, Duke has assembled a field team — heavy weapons specialist Roadblock, silent weapons expert Quick Kick, combat engineer Tunnel Rat, infiltrator Cover Girl, Navy SEAL Shipwreck, and medic Doc... with the help of the Pentagon to select members for maximum marketability. Regardless, Duke is uneasy with the concept of taking their mission public, but Colton reassures him that they can turn circumstances to their advantage, using the press and public support as weapons against Cobra; Duke is pacified when Colton assures him that he wants to build on the work of his old C.O. Hawk, not destroy it — though he's taken aback by the suggestion that they're going to make G.I. Joe toys...
As the Joes prepare in the Governors Island motor pool, things aren't going entirely smoothly — Shipwreck objects to being dressed up in a cartoonish sailor suit (and not getting to be called "Badass", his old nickname from Norfolk); Doc is badgered with well-intentioned advice from her father, whose codename she has taken; and Cover Girl tries to confront Duke about their one-night stand from the previous night. Duke avoids her question by introducing her to the team's eigth member, foisted upon them by General Colton's superiors: the embedded
blogger journalist Hashtag, intended to chronicle the team's missions for the public's consumption. Cover Girl is as unimpressed with the proposition as Duke was, especially when Hashtag's fangirlish excitement illustrates exactly how long it's been since she was on Project: Runway.
The G.I. Joe field team mounts up in their Skystorm X-Wing, and take off for Warrenton as the public watches; on the way, the other Joes get acquainted with Hashtag, but aren't impressed with her attitude and inexperience. Windmill switches the Skystorm to VTOL mode as they close in on the town, band is shocked to see the decripit state that the town is in; but before the jet can land, a tarpaulin is swept away to reveal a Maggot tank that blows the Joes out of the sky, their communications with Fort Jay cut off! When the jet crashes to the ground, Roadblock, Quick Kick, and Tunnel Rat find themselves pinned down in the wreckage by W.O.R.M.S., twenty-six meters from Shipwreck...
While the Joes search for a way out, salvation comes in the form of "Polly", Shipwreck's personal recon drone. Using the data it's collected, Tunnel Rat spots a sewer access hatch behind the Cobra forces; with Roadblock and Quick Kick acting as a distraction, the tunnel specialist sneaks through the sewers and takes out the operators of the Maggot, allowing Roadblock to reach Shipwreck and stop the bleeding. Still needing to find Doc to remove the shrapnel from his body, the Joes look for their teammates... and find Windmill, his body hanging from a streetlight by a parachute. Roadblock is enraged by the sight, and as the stone-faced people of Warrenton close in on them, the Joes realise that their intel was wrong — Cobra haven't taken one building, but the whole town!
While Cover Girl, Hashtag, and an injured Doc take cover in an empty basement, Duke has been captured by Cobra, who have the full and willing cooperation of the town's mayor and citizens. As the bag is removed from his head, the leader of the Cobra forces remarks that Joe Colton may have made him famous, but the Baroness will make him infamous...
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Glorified gangsters like Cobra have to hide in the shadows. We can embrace the light. Become the exemplar of honor and pride the United States has always wanted — needed — its military to be. D-O-D's tripled Joe's budget so the Pentagon can use you to boost public perception, increase recruitment. They're merchandising your team's unique identities across the board — apparel, even toys."
"There's going to be G.I. Joe toys? Now I've heard everything."
- —Joe Colton and Duke. Ah-heh.
"Do I have to wear this? I'm a Navy SEAL, not a cartoon duck."
- —Shipwreck has thoughts on his outfit
"What's your blog?"
"My site is mil-brat.dot-com?"
"Never heard of it."
"Oh, well, they just did a whole feature on me on Boing-Boing —"
"Never heard of that, either. What branch you in?"
"R.O.T.C. — I'm studying journalism at Fordham — but I was born at Fort Lewis, in Tacoma. My dad was a ranger, and he's pretty well connected in D-O-D. I grew up post to post —"
""Grew" up? Past tense? Really?"
- —Doc doesn't think much of Hashtag
- Colton mentions Cobra "Wikileaking" the Joes' existence to the press, which happened back in G.I. Joe vol. 2 #12. Issue #16 of that series seemed to imply that their existence had been successfully covered up, but this one walks that back; maybe the idea is that they realised they couldn't keep operating in secret forever?
- The Baroness was last seen on the outs with Cobra, its Commander having ordered her death after one failure too many. The story of how she returned to the organization would be told in the first arc of G.I. Joe: Special Missions, which debuted one month after this issue.
G.I. Joe references
- W.O.R.M.S. ("Weapons Ordnance Rugged Machine Specialists") are Cobra artillery specialists from the 1987 Joe toy line-up; the Maggot is the artillery tank that they came packaged with.
- Duke is shocked at the idea that there are going to be G.I. Joe toys. Ha. Ha. Ha.
- Vehicles glimpsed in the background of Governors Island include:
- A Steel Marauder mech, from the 2010 "Pursuit of Cobra" toyline. The mechs' Cobra counterparts have appeared before in IDW continuity.
- A more somber-colored version of the 2012 Wheel Blaster Bike; the original was a Cobra vehicle, but this one's all Joe.
- A Ghost Hawk, a 2010 variant of the classic Sky Hawk.
- A R.H.I.N.O., making an unexpected reappearance from back in G.I. Joe vol. 2 #5.
- The Mobile Command Center — the original 1987 design (albeit in greys and blacks), rather than the R.O.C.C. that's appeared previously in IDW.
- "Polly", Shipwreck's "bird", is a loose homage to the classic Shipwreck's pet parrot of the same name. (And it predates the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Redwing by two years!)
- Doc Jr. is Carla Greer, an alternate version of the original Doc originating in Devil's Due's G.I. Joe: Reloaded continuity. She got a toy in 2007 from a GIJoeCon-exclusive set, based on an unreleased black female figure from the '80s toyline; however, the toy's filecard cast her as the niece of the original, while the IDW version is his daughter.
- Other than Doc and Hashtag, most of the field team has appeared in IDW before, with one notable exception — Quick Kick. Though he debuted as an action figure in 1985, and had a prominent role in the G.I. Joe cartoon, Quick Kick's been rather overlooked in G.I. Joe history; his specialty as a martial artist always felt somewhat redundant next to the unbeatable ninja-man Snake-Eyes. But with IDW's Snake Eyes assumed dead, looks like Kick's had to pick up the slack!
- The original Skystorm toy, which came packaged with Windmill, was a jet with an inexplicable helicopter rotor on top; here, it's recast with the ability to transform from a jet into a VTOL helicopter mode, not unlike M.A.S.K.'s Switchblade.
- With Colton's debut, America's model fighting man arrives into IDW canon! There's a bit to unpack here:
- Joe Colton is based on the original 12" G.I. Joe action figures from the 1960s, centered on an all-purpose heroic military figure rather than the diverse cast of specialists of the Real American Hero line from the '80s. He was first given his surname, and brought into the world of the G.I. Joe team, in issue #86 of the Marvel Comics A Real American Hero series.
- Duke compliments Colton's strong grip, a reference to the "kung-fu grip" rubberised hands of the G.I. Joe toys — a gag that was also used in Joe's Marvel appearance.
- Colton and one of the reporters mention the Adventure Team; the Adventure Team was a 1970 rebranding of the G.I. Joe toy that changed it from a military focus to a more exploratory, "adventurous" feel.
- It seems... likely that the introduction of Joe Colton into the IDW universe was done for a bit of cross-media synergy with the G.I. Joe: Retaliation movie, which came out the same year as this series debuted, and starred Bruce Willis as Colton.
Real life references
- Governors Island is a real island in New York Harbor, and Fort Jay is an actual fort on the island (albeit an unused one in real life).
- In real life, the island's name is generally spelled without a possessive apostrophe. IDW continuity will variably give the name with an apostrophe or without.
- Shipwreck's supposed nickname, "Badass", is a reference to Jack Nicholson's character Billy "Badass" Buddusky from The Last Detail, who served as the inspiration for Shipwreck's original toy. Ship's getup here is based on that original toy, though he compares it to a cartoon duck; cover B, conversely, shows him in an outfit more inspired by his 2002 toy, a design used in the Devil's Due G.I. Joe comics.
- A "hashtag" is an element of social media posts, particularly on Twitter, that allows users to easily find related content. Appropriate for a blogger, less so for a journalist...
- Hashtag's real name is Aruna Singh; she's named after then-Marvel Comics marketing employee and friend of Van Lente Arune Singh.
- Project Runway is a real show!
- Boing Boing is a real news site!
- When Tunnel Rat remarks on the President of Al-Alawi's hidden bunker, "Drakkar" is misspelled "Drakar".
- Hashtag gives her blog's name as "mil-brat.dot-com". Surely that should be "mil-brat.com" or "mil-brat-dot-com"?
- Colton really believes in the value of propaganda and theatre, huh? While innocuous at the time, this'll take a new meaning a few years down the line...
- Cover A: Roadblock and Duke, by Juan Doe.
- Cover B: The G.I. Joe field team rushes into battle, by Steve Kurth, Allen Martinez, and Joana Lafuente.
- Subscription cover: The Baroness, by Arthur Adams.
- Cover RIA: A comic history of the original G.I. Joe toy, by Ryan Dunlavey; part 1 in a series of "The Real History of G.I. Joe" covers.
- Cover RIB: Wrap-around of the G.I. Joe field team, by Jamal Igle.