Homefront, Part 5 of 5
|"Homefront, Part 5 of 5"|
|First published||June 19, 2013|
|Cover date||June 2013|
|Written by||Fred Van Lente|
|Line-art by||Steve Kurth|
|Inks by||Allen Martinez, Marc Deering and Juan Castro|
|Colors by||Joana Lafuente|
|Letters by||Chris Mowry|
|Editorial consultant||Carlos Guzman|
Faced with the destruction of the town of Warrenton, can the G.I. Joe team do anything to stop it — or even get out alive?
Hashtag has the Baroness at gunpoint, and her only question is "how?" — how did Cobra turn the people of Warrenton against their own country? The Baroness is amused by her question, pointing out the wealth of conspiracy theories the average American believes in and the "fog of ignorance and terror" through which they stumble through life; humanity, she insists, is driven purely by their "reptile brains", and subconsciously want Cobra to direct it for them. Hashtag tries her best to be unintimidated by the Baroness's posturing, until the Cobra agent claims that the journalist's gun is out of ammo — and though Hashtag only hesitates for a moment, it is enough for the Baroness to knock Hashtag to the floor and take the gun for herself... and to use it to shoot Hashtag!
Roadblock is having difficulty fending off Croc Master and his pets, until the Joe spots the coolant system for the mall's ice rink and shoots it, spraying the crocodiles with freezing liquid and driving Croc Master into a murderous frenzy, forcing Roadblock to fight him in fisticuffs. Meanwhile, Tunnel Rat lays his weapon down in surrender to Scrap Iron, who is threatening to destroy the town with his dead man's switch. However, realising that Scrap Iron will detonate the explosives no matter what, Tunnel Rat deftly throws an EMP grenade at the engineer, frying the switch's circuits and disabling the detonator... to which Scrap Iron responds only with amusement — he didn't have the only detonator! Indeed, as Hashtag — who the Baroness had only shot in the knee — is rescued by Duke and Cover Girl, the fleeing Baroness activates her own detonator; and as Wild Bill and his Dragonfly fleet arrive in the skies over Warrenton, they watch in horror as the entire town is consumed in flames.
Roadblock takes advantage of his opponent's distraction from the shockwave to knock him out, while Tunnel Rat uses the escaping Scrap Iron's missile launcher to destroy the broadcast jammer on the mall's roof, allowing Doc to make contact with Duke. She, Shipwreck and Quick Kick are taking cover by a Maggot, but they — and the rest of the town — are trapped by the flames, and the oxygen is burning out. Roadblock and Tunnel Rat are with the prisoners from the ice rink, equally trapped, but have found a potential way out — one of Cobra's H.I.S.S. tanks! With Cover Girl manning the tank and Shipwreck the cannon of the Maggot, Tunnel Rat outlines his plan — using Polly's motion sensors to target unoccupied buildings, the Joes can destroy them to prevent the fires from spreading further. In a blaze of heavy artillery, the Joes destroy the buildings and manage to contain the fire.
As the Baroness escapes from Warrenton on a motorcycle, she is contacted by Cobra Commander, who is unimpressed with her performance. Though her partial success means that he will not punish her, her partial failure means she will not be rewarded with the Manhattan position that she had been craving, with the Commander instead going in a "different direction".
With dawn breaking, the G.I. Joe team has the freed dissidents identify the ringleaders of Cobra's supporters to take in as enemy combatants; the remainder will be turned over to the courts. One Warrenton civilian objects, claiming that America had turned its back on them and that they were trying to save their town... but as Duke observes from the ruins of the town, that didn't work out too well for them.
At the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Hashtag explains how Cobra bribed Warrenton into turning on their own people, and how easily they rolled over before them. The journalist makes an impassioned plea to be allowed to let the public know how easily their fellow Americans were turned so that they can be forewarned, but she is met with stone-faced silence from the generals she is addressing — and even her own father — as General Hawk looks on from another room.
Outside, Cover Girl and Duke find that, despite their efforts to save lives and prevent the destruction of Warrenton, 38% of Americans believe that the government bombed the town, not Cobra. While Doc and Quick Kick depart on leave to see The Book of Mormon together — which totally isn't a date — Duke is approached by his newest subordinate... Aruna Singh, the former Hashtag. After the government prevented her from taking her story public, Aruna dropped out of university and enlisted in the Army; her first posting being with G.I. Joe was considered a small price to pay for shutting her up. Cover Girl is skeptical, remembering how Hashtag's professed pacifism almost jeopardized the Warrenton mission, but Aruna sees the bigger picture: despite everything, she believes in the need to show people that "heroes are an option" — in other words, she believes in G.I. Joe. Duke is moved by her words, and — noting her secondary M.O.S. in telecommunications — has her report to Dee-Jay in Joe central command, Hashtag once more. As Hashtag leaves, Cover Girl asks Duke about "Aisha", but he insists he doesn't know what she's talking about.
And at the top of a New York tower, in a vast, empty room, the new head of Cobra's Manhattan Bureau — Mad Monk — receives his orders from Cobra Commander...
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Do you know how many people believe the President of the U.S. is secretly a foreigner? Twenty-four percent. That the JFK assassination was an inside job? Seventy-six percent. 9-11? Fifty-seven percent. Who believe the entire universe was created in 144 hours? Forty-six percent. You stagger through your lives in a mythological fog of ignorance and terror. It is your serpent brain — the medulla — that drives your passions and impulses. You need Cobra to direct this part of you. You desperately want us to, even though you cannot admit it aloud."
- —The Baroness elevator-pitches Cobra to Hashtag.
"Firemen tried to put out the Great Fire of 1835 by demolishing the structures around it with gunpowder, containing the blaze. It's actually kind of a big deal in demolitions circles. This is the closest we're gonna get to that, using our Polly drone's motion sensors to target unoccupied buildings."
"And you're sure this isn't just because you really like to blow things up?"
"It can be both things!"
- —Tunnel Rat and Duke
"You believe in guns now, huh?"
"I believe... everyone has a dark side. Which they succumb to more often than they give credit for. That's why... we have to fight Cobra in the open. Not in the shadows, but in the light. We don't always have to be heroes. I don't think that's possible. But we need to show people heroes are an option. I believe in G.I. Joe."
- —Cover Girl and Hashtag
- Cover Girl alludes to driving Wolverine missile tanks. Though it really hasn't come up in IDW, to the extent that the first issue of this series gave her speciality as "infiltration" instead, Cover Girl's traditional specialisation in armor was mentioned during her introduction in G.I. Joe vol. 1 #7.
- Hashtag's well-connected father was mentioned in issue #1 of G.I. Joe vol. 3.
- Mad Monk returns! Despite his story being significantly tied up in Krake's in his first appearance, Monk made no appearances in G.I. Joe vol. 2 or either of its sister series, even with Krake's ascent to the position of Cobra Commander. His return was foreshadowed by a young Duke's mention of someone called "Monkey or Monk or something" in a flashback in issue #3.
G.I. Joe references
- Scrap Iron's missile launcher is based on the one that came with his original toy.
- The motorcycle the Baroness rides appears to be modelled on Firefly's bike from G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which was loosely reinterpreted as the Wheel Blaster Bike for the toyline.
Real life references
- The Baroness mentions birtherism, JFK assassination conspiracy theories, 9/11 conspiracy theories, and Young Earth creationism as evidence for her belief that
Americanshumans are basically stupid.
- Seen being destroyed during the Joes' firefighting efforts is Heroes & Fantasies, a real-life comic store from San Antonio, Texas.
- Shipwreck compares the Maggot's cannon to the sixteen-inchers on the U.S.S. Flagg, but the IDW version of the Flagg was mothballed long before the Joes got it—Ship never would've had a chance to use any of its guns!
- The former General Hawk shows up in uniform to look grim, despite the last issue of G.I. Joe vol. 2 claiming that he was retired. What makes this odder is that Hawk's presence doesn't get followed up on in subsequent issues!
- Cover A: The Baroness with two guns, by Juan Doe.
- Cover B: The Baroness being all sexy in front of a burning town, by Steve Kurth, Allen Martinez, and Kito Young.
- Cover RI: An... optimistic view of the post-'80s G.I. Joe franchise, by Ryan Dunlavey; part 5 in a series of "The Real History of G.I. Joe" covers.