Homefront, Part 3 of 5

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G.I. Joe vol. 3 #3
GIJoev3-3 cvrB.jpg
"Homefront, Part 3 of 5"
Publisher IDW Publishing
First published April 24, 2013
Cover date April 2013
Written by Fred Van Lente
Line-art by Steve Kurth
Inks by Allen Martinez
Colors by Joana Lafuente
Letters by Tom B. Long
Editor John Barber
Editorial consultant Carlos Guzman

Duke takes a nap.


With a cry of "Yo, Joe!", the G.I. Joe field team storms the Warrenton mall where their commander Duke is being held. While the other Joes provide suppressing fire that forces Cobra back, Shipwreck retrieves Duke from the table he was strapped down to, and urges his leader to tell him the "all-clear" passcode to have Joe Colton extract them. Duke is confused by the request, and as Roadblock is shot through the head and chest, things dissolve into a nightmarish haze as the rest of the team urges Duke to give them the passcode...

In the waking world, Duke twitches and moans in his sleep, strapped into a Cobra scanner under the remote observation of Dr. Mindbender. The doctor is fascinated by Duke's high levels of Neuropeptide Y, which suppress stress hormones and moderate his heartrate, effectively rendering him immune to torture and incapable of yielding — much to the displeasure of the Baroness, who is bored by the scene and would much rather use more traditional methods of information extraction. Regardless, if Mindbender's device does not successfully retrieve the all-clear within the hour, General Colton will know the mission has been compromised, and the Baroness will get to kill Duke either way.

In Ozark Mobile Home Park in Arnold, Missouri, a young Conrad Hauser plays with his Adventure Team toys. Conrad is having a whale of a time pushing his ATV around and responding to Colonel Colton's pre-programmed talk of "priority code Topaz", but is unnerved when the toy begins speaking of its own accord and asking for a "counter-sign" to save the Adventure Team...

As a young man, Hauser is furious: he isn't getting recommended to West Point or earning an officer's commission, his senator instead offering the scholarship to some townie orphan. His girlfriend is delighted by the news, seeing it as an opportunity for them to go to Forest Park Community College together before getting married; but Conrad has other plans, and is soon taking part in the qualification course for the Army Special Forces, insisting that he totally doesn't want to be an officer. As part of "Q Course", Conrad meets the beautiful Arabic language instructor Aisha Ismat, and is instantly smitten, impressing her with his grasp of the language. When his instructors waterboard him during S.E.R.E. training, Hauser resists their demands to hand over the all-clear password, cheerfully taunting them in song.

By the time of his graduation, Conrad has begun a relationship with Aisha, and at his graduation ceremony he and the rest of his class are saluted by General Joe Colton and his Adventure Team teammates. The happy romance doesn't last, however; when Aisha applies to transfer to her family's home country of Trucial as a translator, Conrad — worried about what might happen — goes to General Flagg to block her, even as he is set to be deployed to the country himself, infuriating her. In Trucial, Hauser serves as a drill sergeant for Trucial National Army forces; but after some time there, he is introduced to their newest translator... Aisha, who explains that General Flagg was overruled due to the dire need for more translators in the region. Despite his worries, Conrad can't hide the fact that he's pleased to see her.

While driving at the head of a vehicle column, Conrad confesses to Aisha the real reason he tried to keep her in America: he was worried for his safety, not hers, as being around her distracts him from his laser-sharp focus. He is tragically proven right moments later when an insurgent platoon he failed to spot destroys his jeep with an IED, badly wounding him and leaving Aisha catatonic on the ground. One of the insurgents, a former member of the Trucial National Army whom Hauser had himself trained, taunts him; but this merely motivates Duke to grab his rifle and single-handedly drive back the ambushers, frustrating Major Bludd, who had been planning to offer them employment with Cobra. Some time later, Hauser sits in a dark room with a man called "Hawk", who congratulates him and offers him the position of First Sergeant within an elite, off-the-books unit he's putting together...

In an Oyster Bay care home, a doctor explains Aisha's situation to the newly-christened "Duke"; she sustained severe brain trauma from the I.E.D. attack, and requires expensive 24-hour care. However, there is an alternative — a procedure that would unlock unused portions of her brain to replace the damaged ones, which could allow her to lead a normal life again, though she would have no memory of any of her previous life, including Duke. Eager to do whatever he can to help her, Duke asks what he needs to do — but all the doctor, who looks much like Cobra's Dr. Mindbender, needs is for Duke to give him the counter-sign...

As soon as the sleeping Duke mutters the word "Topaz", Mindbender is certain that it's the all-clear that they're looking for. Though the Baroness is eager to kill Duke now that his usefulness is done, Mindbender insists that she not shoot him, wanting to dissect the Joe for Cobra Commander's Crimson Guardsmen project, forcing the Baroness to go and find her knife in order to bleed him out.

On Governors Island, G.I. Joe command recieves the codephrase from Warrenton. The representative from the Pentagon is pleased by the news, but as General Colton is already aware, "Topaz" isn't on the list of approved passwords; instead, it comes from the Adventure Team toys, for which Colton recorded his own dialogue all those years ago. "Topaz" doesn't mean "all-clear"... it means "ambush"!

Featured characters[edit]

Characters in italics appear only in Duke's dream. (Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

G.I. Joe Cobra Others


"You know, "Baroness", for an alleged aristocrat... you are quite the savage. "
"Why, my dear Doctor Mindbender. That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me."

Dr. Mindbender and the Baroness

"We need that counter-sign right away!"
"The, uh... the what? I didn't press the button, or..."
"The all-clear, Conrad! It's the only thing that will save the Adventure Team! Look into my Eagle Eyes. And tell it to me! "
"This is weird."

—The G.I. Joe toy and Conrad Hauser

"They tell me that an officer's job is to impel others to take risks. If that's what an officer does, I don't want any part of it—"

Conrad Hauser, lying his ass off


Continuity notes[edit]

  • While the other dream-Joes are badgering Duke for the counter-sign, Cover Girl instead promises to never ask about their relationship again — a call back to issue 1 of this series, in which she and Duke had evidently had a one-night-stand that the latter was uninterested in talking about.
  • Duke's heroics in Trucial were first recounted in one of the very first IDW continuity G.I. Joe stories, "In or Out?", from G.I. Joe #0; in fact, this issue actually flashes back to an unseen snippet of Duke's conversation with Hawk from that story. The country's name in that story was probably meant to be a reference to the Marvel Comics G.I. Joe country of Trucial Abysmia that got cut off halfway through, but this story takes the line at face value.
  • Duke mentions the "townie orphan" who got recommended to West Point being named "Monkey or Monk or something". We're sure that won't come up later...
  • Mindbender mentions the Baroness wanting to get back in the Commander's good graces; she was on the outs with Cobra last we saw her before this arc, and is seemingly on somewhat thin ice.

G.I. Joe references[edit]

  • Kid Conrad is playing with a set of Adventure Team toys. Specifically, he has a "Talking Adventure Team Commander" (generally assumed to be the G.I. Joe/Joe Colton character, though contemporary media actually portrayed them as separate); an Adventure Team Vehicle for Joe to ride around in; the black "Adventurer"; what seems to be a miscolored version of the "Sea Adventurer" with brown hair and a tan shirt rather than the correct red and light blue; and an Intruder, the "strongman from another world". The Adventurer and Sea Adventurer would later be revealed in IDW continuity to be younger versions of Stalker and Miles Mayhem, respectively, while the Intruder would be introduced in the pages of Scarlett's Strike Force.
  • The "priority code Topaz" doesn't come from actual Adventure Team toys, but the "contact headquarters" bit is similar to one of the Talking Commander's lines, "Contact Adventure Team Headquarters right away!". Conrad's G.I. Joe also tells him to "look into my eagle eyes"; moveable Eagle Eyes were one of the gimmicks introduced later in the Adventure Team line's run to boost sales.
  • Duke's line about the job of an officer being to impel others to take risks is paraphrased from the quote on the filecard of his original toy. In an interesting twist, while the original was said to be delivered after turning down a commission, the IDW Duke's bitterness seems to stem from being rejected for one.
  • "Super Adventure Team" members Bulletman and Mike Power, the Atomic Man are shown standing next to Colton at Duke's graduation. However, see "Errors", below.
  • General Flagg was the original commander of the G.I. Joe team in the Marvel Comics series, and the namesake of the USS Flagg — though he can't be the Flagg for whom the IDW version of the aircraft carrier was named, thanks to the IDW Flagg being built in 1943.
  • The Crimson Guard are a group of combination businessmen and elite soldiers from classic G.I. Joe media, traditionally under the command of Tomax and Xamot, the "Crimson Twins". Though they've appeared in IDW continuity before, most notably in G.I. Joe: Cobra under the Paoli twins, Mindbender's mention here seems to imply that the "Crimson Guardsmen project" is something more — maybe some form of "super-soldier", given the medical focus of his research? We'll never know, though, as this plot thread never comes up again after this issue.

Real life references[edit]

  • The young adult Conrad Hauser has a couple of John Wayne movie posters in his room (The Green Berets and Sands of Iwo Jima... though, oddly, the former's poster is for the French translation Les Berets Verts). John Wayne's nickname was "Duke", which may have inspired the name of the G.I. Joe character.
  • Conrad sings some lyrics from The Beatles' "Octopus's Garden".
  • Hawk refers to the insurgent attack on Duke's convoy as a "green-on-blue attack".


  • It can't be fairly called an error, since it's more that it got retconned out, but Atomic Man's cameo here doesn't work with his history as later given in Revolutionaries #7, which depicts him as being believed dead after 1994 thanks to the machinations of Garrison Kreiger. You could no-prize it as being an "unreliable narrator" thanks to it being a dream that's clearly been tampered with in places, but that brings us to...
  • ...why do we get to see Major Bludd watching Duke rallying insurgents from afar, when the rest of the issue is presented as a dream Duke is having? Duke couldn't have known that Bludd was there.

Covers (3)[edit]