Homefront, Part 4 of 5
|"Homefront, Part 4 of 5"|
|First published||May 29, 2013|
|Cover date||May 2013|
|Written by||Fred Van Lente|
|Line-art by||Steve Kurth|
|Inks by||Allen Martinez and Phyllis Novin|
|Colors by||Joana Lafuente|
|Letters by||Neil Uyetake|
|Editorial consultant||Carlos Guzman|
With Quick Kick held back to help save Shipwreck's life, the other Joes must rescue Duke from Cobra with nothing but small arms and charisma.
On a Warrenton rooftop, Doc is awakened by the sound of her name, coming from the flying drone Polly — currently manned by Tunnel Rat, who fills her in on Shipwreck's injuries and that he and the other G.I. Joe members are hiding out in a nearby scrapyard. Doc doesn't know where the two Joes who had been with her went, but her question is answered when Hashtag stumbles onto the rooftop with an injured Cover Girl, still torn up over being forced to shoot a man — though Cover Girl is grateful that the journalist saved her life. As the Joes jump to the next rooftop over, Hashtag glances down at the civilians below, determined to get the story of how they betrayed their own people for Cobra promises out to the world. In the building below, the civilians find the mayor's dead body, and the deputy mayor grabs the map of the town to pore it over for somewhere they might have missed.
In the scrapyard, acting field leader Roadblock hashes out their plan, but there's a snag: Doc has broken her dominant arm, and is unable to operate on Shipwreck to remove the shrapnel in his body. Quick Kick volunteers to be talked through the procedure, based on his expertise with knives, but as the Joes' silent weapons expert, trying to infiltrate the mall where Duke is being held could prove suicidal without him. Roadblock is torn, but eventually decides: no Joe gets left behind. Leaving his machine gun with Quick Kick and Doc for self-defense, Roadblock and the others set off for the mall, with Hashtag operating Polly from the rear.
In the mall, a lone Viper patrolling "C-Quadrant" (i.e. the food court) investigates a strange noise, but when he bends down to pick up an anomalous food can on the floor, Roadblock silently snaps his neck and gives the man's rifle to Cover Girl. Proceeding into the mall, the Joes find a viper-guarded mass of civilians in the center, and take positions under Roadblock's direction; with Cover Girl eliminating targets via precision sniper fire, Tunnel Rat and Roadblock engage with the guards on the ground.
Using instruments taken from a nearby pharmacy, Quick Kick operates on Shipwreck under Doc's direction. With the medic's help, Quick Kick manages to extract a lump of Skystorm digging towards Shipwreck's heart, but while he begins stitching up the wound (and clumsily asking whether Doc has a boyfriend), a squad of Vipers have moved in on their position and have them at gunpoint! Despite Shipwreck's critical condition that means he could die without treatment, the Vipers force the Joes onto their knees in a corner while they call in to their superiors, and recieve the order to execute the prisoners — but before they can do so, they are cut down from behind by Shipwreck, armed with Roadblock's machine gun, in a display that the other Joes can't help but deem "badass"!
As the irritated Baroness leaves Duke's side to find her combat knife, Destro calls her with some bad news — Cobra's ruse has been found out, with the Ohio National Guard mobilized on Warrenton, the Youngstown Air Force base on high alert, and a fleet of Dragonflies departing Governors Island! The Baroness moves to make preparations for the remainder of Cobra Commander's plan, but doesn't understand why Destro is warning her rather than letting her take the fall and removing competition for Cobra's coveted New York post; Destro, however, reveals that he has no interest in the position, and instead has his eye on her! The Baroness is flattered, but has no chance to discuss it further, as Hashtag has snuck up behind her and nervously holds the Cobra agent at gunpoint...
From her vantage point, Cover Girl spots where Duke lies strapped into Dr. Mindbender's device, and rushes to free him; but still in the throes of his nightmare, Duke grabs Cover Girl by the throat and starts choking her, yelling about "Aisha". Cover Girl manages to snap her commander out of it by smacking him across the face with a rifle butt, but when she explains the current plan to him, Duke has a new concern for them to deal with: Cobra has planted bombs with which they plan to destroy the entire town, making it look like G.I. Joe destroyed it in an airstrike rather than risk losing it to Cobra.
In the building's basement, Roadblock sends Tunnel Rat with a bag of satchel charges to take out the signal jammer on the building's roof, but Cobra's prisoners — locked up for opposing the terrorists' takeover of Warrenton — warn him of another, approaching threat: Cobra's monstrous, bloodthirsty crocodile tamer Croc Master! Meanwhile, on the roof, Tunnel Rat is greeted by Cobra engineer Scrap Iron, who shows the Joe his dead man's switch to force him not to shoot. Tunnel Rat demands to know where the charges are, but Scrap Iron reveals that the whole town is wired to explode — and he's up there to watch it burn.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Look at them. Scurrying like rats. Betraying their country, their own people, for what? Promises of jobs? If I get outta here, people are gonna know. I'm never gonna let this story go. Not until the whole world knows just what these people did."
"Still a big "if", girl!"
- —Hashtag and Doc
"1900. C-Quadrant clear."
"<krk> Is that the food court?"
"Yes. Food court."
"Then just say "food court."
- —A pair of Vipers bicker over the radio.
"I wouldn't make any sudden moves, Tunnel Rat. That's you isn't it? You're famous. I like your handle. Mine's Scrap Iron."
- —Scrap Iron is the most charismatic pyromaniac terrorist who ever lived.
- The first three panels of the Baroness and Dr. Mindbender in this issue are a recap of events from the previous issue.
- This isn't the first time Cobra's "New York post" has been mentioned. What on Earth could that be about?
- Quick Kick and Doc's awestruck whisper of "badass" is a callback to issue 1, where Shipwreck claimed that his nickname before the Joes had been "Badass".
G.I. Joe references
- In the mall there's a food store called "Van Lentils", a play on the name of author Fred Van Lente.
- When the fleet of Dragonfly helicopters leaves Governors Island, Wild Bill can be seen piloting the closest one; the Dragonfly is traditionally his vehicle to drive. The Dragonflies are modelled on the Rise of Cobra Dragonhawk toy, which was an update of the classic Dragonfly renamed for trademark reasons.
- Destro's flirting with the Baroness comes from their romantic relationship in classic G.I. Joe media, most notably the Marvel comic series. He's shown attraction to her before in IDW continuity, but this is the first time she's reciprocated; previously, she hated his guts.
- Scrap Iron wanting to watch the town burn is inspired by his classic characterisation; his filecard described him as wanting to "blow up the world" thanks to his hatred of imperfection.
Real life references
- Quick Kick quips about the surgery being similar to the board game Operation... which also happens to be published by Hasbro. Spend that money, kids!
- A plaque in the mall commemorates Oliver Hazard Perry's quote after the Battle of Lake Erie, "We have met the enemy and they are ours." Its use in this context is probably a subtle nod to the more famous parody of the quote, "we have met the enemy and he is us", from Walt Kelly's Pogo — a reference, here, to this story's overarching theme of civilians turning against their own people.
- Cover A: A kind of off-model Hashtag and Shipwreck, by Juan Doe.
- Cover B: Vipers and W.O.R.M.S. move in on Doc, Quick Kick and Shipwreck, by Steve Kurth, Allen Martinez, and Kito Young.
- Cover RI: A comic history of the golden age of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline, by Ryan Dunlavey; part 4 in a series of "The Real History of G.I. Joe" covers.